Common thoughts and feelings
The nine months of your pregnancy are quickly drawing to a close. The moment when you get to hold and see your bundle of joy for the first time is just a few weeks away now that you have moved past the second trimester and into the last trimester of your pregnancy. The third trimester is the most expected trimester of all, and yet it is the most difficult one for many women. No matter how keen you are to have the pregnancy reach its end so as to hold your baby and start your new life as a mother, there is always that nagging feeling of reluctance when you think of the moment you go into labour.
If this is the first time you are going through it you are going to be even more scared because you may have heard some experiences which depicted this experience as rather difficult and possibly painful. However there is no need to look upon this moment dully at all – you need to bear in mind that this might be a once in a lifetime experience, and afterwards you are going to receive the best gift ever – your child! It is normal to feel a bit frightened, but you obviously need to prepare yourself mentally, emotionally and physically for this moment.
The third trimester is the time when you need to come to terms with this. It is also the period when you start to experience various symptoms, which may make your life a bit more difficult. We will be discussing some of the key elements of this important trimester in the hope of making it easier and less challenging for you. We shall be outlining ways how you can be better prepared, and how you can cope.
But before we move on to the details, we would like to make one thing clear – please bear in mind that this is actually a memorable experience that might not be happening again anytime soon, or ever again! Regardless of the symptoms, pain or discomfort you may be experiencing, this is definitely a beautiful moment when you consider it in its entirety. After all great things are hard to get right? And your baby boy or girl is definitely going to be one of the greatest experiences and treasures you ever get to have in your life. So let us move on to make the third trimester a positive rather than a negative experience!
Your body is changing – symptoms, aches, pains to expect during the third trimester
First off, you have to expect that your body will go through some significant changes during this trimester. Your body needs to change so as to prepare itself for labour, and to make room for the growing baby in your womb. So you will naturally gain more weight as your belly grows bigger.
Consequently you are going to experience the following:
- Backaches due to the additional pressure on your back.
- Your breasts will grow bigger as they are getting ready for breastfeeding.
- Swelling is a normal symptom in the third trimester and this generally results from excess fluid retention.
- You will feel more fatigued and much less energetic. You will most probably also experience some shortness of breath
- You will need to urinate more frequently due to the fact that your baby’s head is now pressing onto your bladder.
- Heartburn and constipation are sometimes experienced during the third trimester due to the increase in the production of the hormone progesterone.
- Spider and varicose veins may emerge due to the higher pressure on the legs.
The changes in your body are to be expected, and rather than focusing on the symptoms, aches and pains, you should try to remember that these are only for a few weeks. Your child needs enough room in your belly and you are providing this for him/her by undergoing some backache and other discomforts. There is no doubt that if you think of it this way you are going to be more willing to accept these temporary discomforts right?
Besides there are ways of coping with these symptoms, as we shall be discussing hereunder.
Coping with the third trimester’s symptoms
There are some things that you can do in order to relieve some of the pains and aches, and to make your life a bit easier during this trimester. Here are some tips for you:
- Good posture is critical if you would like to feel less achy and sore, particularly for your backache. Sit on chairs that offer good back support and sit up straight.
- Wear comfortable shoes with low heels.
- Getting enough sleep is imperative. It is also recommended that you take naps. It is best to sleep on your side and place a pillow between your legs.
- Make sure to wear bras that are supportive enough.
- Eat healthy food and keep exercising a bit if possible. A short daily walk could be really beneficial, as would prenatal yoga.
- In case you experience heartburn make sure to eat smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day. Avoid spicy, greasy and acidic foods. If you are suffering from constipation drink more and increase your intake of fiber.
- Since you will feel the urge to urinate more frequently it is best to make sure that there is a bathroom available when you go somewhere. It is also a good idea to wear panty liners in case you leak some urine when you sneeze, cough or exercise. Make sure to avoid drinking before going to sleep to avoid having to wake up to go to the bathroom several times during the night.
- Many women feel better when they prop up their legs. This may also reduce swelling.
Contractions are normal during the third trimester, and they are the symptom most pregnant women fear. The Braxton Hicks contractions are basically mild ones which occur as the uterus starts to prepare itself for labour. However mild contractions do not demonstrate that you are going into labour. Even though later on they may not feel that mild, try to be realistic. Real contractions that show that you are going into labour are going to be more intense and close to one another.
More problematic symptoms and what to do
The symptoms mentioned till now were normal ones and they are to be expected during the third trimester. Unfortunately there are some other symptoms which are more serious and should any of these occur you should consult a doctor immediately.
- Bleeding – some discharge is normal during the third trimester, but bleeding heavily is not. Thick and clear discharge which is not soaking your panty is normal. Some spotting is not to be worrying, but should the bleeding be severe you need to seek medical advice.
- Pain or burning sensation while urinating
- Severe cramps, nausea, vomiting or abdominal cramps.
Preparing for the birth of your child
The big day is fast approaching! So you need to be well prepared for this awesome event!
- During the third trimester you will need to go to more regular checkups so as to make sure that everything is okay.
- You may also wish to consider attending classes to learn more on topics such as newborn baby care and breastfeeding. You should be aware of the stages of labour and how to cope with labour pain. There are also some exercise you can do during this time.
- Choose a pediatrician for your child as regular visits are to be expected once the baby is born.
- Make sure you have your hospital bag ready with all the necessary supplies. You should have a list of these things provided to you to make things easier when it comes to packing these items and avoiding leaving anything out.
- You should have bought all the baby stuff you need at home. This includes the baby’s clothes, the crib, bassinet, stroller, nappy changer, bath, bottles, nappies, and so on. It is also a good idea to stock up household and other personal supplies so that you will not have to worry about such things afterwards.
- The car seat should be at the ready in your car as you will be needing it to drive home with your baby!
Besides these practical tips, you also need to be prepared mentally and emotionally. Here are some things you can do:
- Make use of relaxation techniques to calm down.
- Talk with other mums and mums-to-be.
- Share your thoughts and feelings with someone you can trust and confide in.
- Visualize your baby and try to imagine how awesome motherhood can be.
And now, just wait for the big day to arrive and you can embark on a wonderful journey, which is indeed going to be amazing regardless of the difficulties you are expecting or worrying about. You are about to start a fulfilling and wondrous journey as a mother. And nothing can compare to that!
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Also published on Medium.