Pregnancy is wonderful. For most women, even with the sickness and nausea, it’s an amazing experience. Although every experience is individual I find that the first trimester is exciting but nerve wrecking, the second, my favourite, I’m full of energy and really enjoy the changes to my body. It’s also when most mums start to feel the baby and of course if you want to find out the gender you can do so. The bump becomes prominent but not obstructive and your body experiences positive changes i.e. stronger hair and nails and radiant skin (at least that’s been my experience). The third trimester starts off with a mix of both previous trimesters, it’s exciting as your getting closer to meeting your baby, anxious about labour and delivery, your body is still working with you and the bump probably isn’t too obstructive – that is until about week 35!
I think I put on more weight than most women, or at least that’s the feedback I’ve received from people on Instagram (thanks!). Also as I’m only 5’3 any amount of weightgain automatically makes me looks shorter and larger! My bump is huge and has been in both pregnancies but fortunately this time I’ve not put on so much weight everywhere else and I didn’t start putting on the weight until later in the third trimester. I’ve also found that having a toddler (Aasiya is 17 months) to look after and entertain has helped keep me active but also sapped my energy levels, so while in my first pregnancy my husband and I did lots of activities in the evenings this time around when he’s back from work I literally pass her over for some Daddy and baby times so I can put my feet up!
Below are just a few of the things I’ve experienced in the third trimester and remedies that have worked for me. I know every woman experiences pregnancy differently but just in case it’s helpful I’ve listed a few things that might alleviate certain discomforts.
• Drink plenty of water. Hopefully you’ve been doing this throughout your pregnancy but really step up up your water game in the third trimester. It will help you fight any infections and hopefully help with reflux and heartburn. It’s not recommended to drink with meals so do your best to drink around meals, I usually wait half an hour either side of eating. Also, don’t gulp down large amounts of water, take smaller sips more frequently. Unfortunately you’ll find in the third trimester that your baby and bladder have become good friends so you’ll be making frequent visits to the loo (sometimes just to sit there as nothing will come out!!!)
• Eat smaller meals and try to avoid spicy foods. Again this is really to avoid the discomfort of heartburn. I found that eating dinner earlier and only having a small meal really helped me. I’d try to eat by 7pm so when I took Aasiya to bed around 8pm I wouldn’t be uncomfortable laying down with her. I also drink a cup of camomile / mint tea these days and wait about half an hour before going to sleep myself.
• Sleeping is a bit*h! Most nights I don’t sleep until 1am even though I might be in bed by 9.30/10pm. Thankfully my daughter doesn’t wake up until 8.30am so I do manage to get a decent sleep on most nights. And by decent I just mean I get a few hours of sleep before I have to a) go to the loo b) turn around c) babies movements wake me! In total I’ll get 5 or 6 hours a night of very interrupted sleep but that’s better than the alternative. Some people swear by having a pillow between their legs, but that’s never been helpful for me as I toss and turn quite a bit and when your in the final stages of pregnancy (weeks 35+) you can’t turn in bed without waking up and adjusting the bump! If you can, try and nap during the day. I leave Aasiya with my dad, or nap with her, sometimes for 40 minutes or sometimes for 2 hours!
• Listen to your body. As women we find the strength and energy to just get on with things. If we have a spare 10 minutes or so many of us will get up and clean the sink, or start a wash, or tidy something, but really all these things can wait. Sometimes you just need to stop and put your feet up. Don’t feel guilty about this or feel like it’s a luxury, it isn’t. Your growing a human life inside you. That demands that you sometimes take a moment (or 10) and focus on you. Laundry, washing, cooking, cleaning will unfortunately all still be there and in the grand scheme of things are not important in comparison to your health and well being! Pregnancy is draining and your body (and you) deserve to be looked after.
• Exercise. It’s best that you do this throughout your pregnancy if your able and I’m preaching here as I haven’t actually practised this in my current pregnancy but I did with Aasiya. Not only will it help you with labour but I found a little bit of daily yoga really helped with my back pains and my mental health! I used to play some third trimester yoga videos on YouTube and just do what I could for about 15 minutes a day. I also went for long walks in the evenings with my husband, friends and family. Interestingly I didn’t have any heartburn or reflux when I was pregnant with Aasiya, so I wonder if the exercise helped?
• Moisturise. The stretch marks start to come hard and fast in the final trimester so while you should have been moisturising throughout your pregnancy it’s really worthwhile investing time in massaging oil on your bump, thighs and bottom as the rapid growth sets in. I was really careful with my first pregnancy and moisturised all the time and thankfully didn’t get many permanent stretch marks. This time I was a bit complacent in the earlier months (or busier as I had Aasiya!) but have noticed marks on my belly which weren’t there before. My expanding skin was also really itchy and my midwife advised against itching as it damages the skin and causes the marks to become permanent. I’m not sure what the exact science is but I’ll do anything to avoid permanent stretch marks! I use a generous amount of coconut oil on my skin every night now including on my feet as water retention and swelling can make them quite itchy.
This was only supposed to be a short post but it’s become quite long so I think I’ll leave it there. Do let me know what you’ve experienced and how you’ve remedied the joys of the third trimester.