Third trimester ladies…Wooo Hooo almost there!! Even though you’re closer now to meeting your little, the third trimester can seem to stretch longer than the other two. You are too excited (or nervous) to finally meet your baby, your body is sore (& HUGE) from growing a human and you’re just plain tired…all of this makes the final trimester seem to lag on and on. BUT you will get there and the wait is worth it!
If you gained energy back in the second trimester, look out for the exhaustion to creep back with the third trimester. Now every pregnancy is different, but most women typically become more tired even with the excitement for the pending birth. Totally expected when carrying around an extra 30 pounds of weight, you have a human inside your body kicking your ribs and keeping you up at night with frequent bathroom visits!
Now just like my other posts on the first & second trimesters, the following lists some ideas, thoughts and products to help you survive the third trimester. Remember there are plenty of symptoms that you can experience that may not be listed in this post. Check back to the other posts for other symptoms, do a simple internet search to find out more and be sure to speak with your OB if you have any questions or concerns about something you are experiencing (I’m no expert)!
Pamper yourself! I know I listed this as a survival tip in the second trimester post, but it is so important to treat yourself during the homestretch! In the third trimester you body grows even bigger causing you to experience swelling and ache all over your body. Take sometime to pamper yourself with a pre-natal massage or a little extra foot rub while getting a pedicure…you deserve it!
3D and 4D Ultrasounds. Now most OB offices offer 3d/4d ultrasounds to get a clearer image of your baby; however, your insurance may not cover it. A regular ultrasound gives you a side profile shot of your baby, where a 3 or 4 D ultrasound gives you a realistic image of your baby’s face and body. You can watch as your baby may smile, suck it’s thumb, give a pouty face or even yawn. You can see if you baby has your chubby cheeks or your husband’s nose. If your OB does not offer this do a quick internet search for local business that offer this or ask your OB as they might have a location that offer’s their patients a discount! Getting these awesome pictures is a great way to survive the homestretch as a reminder that the horrible back pain your experiencing is totally worth it!
Finalizing the nursery. Getting the nursery finally set up is a great way to kill time during the final weeks! Remember to look at the registry checklist to make sure you have everything you need! Find my free printable checklist HERE.
Insurance Prep. Prior to giving birth make sure you contact the insurance company that your baby will be covered by and find out what they need sent to them after the baby’s birth to make sure they are covered. Make sure to ask when they need the birth certificate and/or other paperwork as some insurance companies have deadlines post birth for these to be turned in to assure coverage.
Hospital Prep. Now I was a week late with Lily and with only two weeks lift with baby number two, who knows when I will go into labor. So being prepped and ready to head to the hospital at any moment towards the end of the third trimester is important! I have a free printable checklist of items needed to make your labor and post delivery stay comfortable! For that list click HERE.
Something to help kill time is finding out what hospital you would like to use when you go into labor. Some cities (like Tampa) have several hospitals as options and in some towns you may only have one hospital. Whatever your city/town has call them and see if they offer tours of their facility for prospective parents. These tours can help narrow your decision and/or help with any nerves some parents may have regarding labor and delivery. Plus the nurses and/or staff members who give these tours are a wealth of knowledge for any and all questions you may have! Plus the tours are free!!
Another way to prep for the hospital is pre-registering at the hospital prior to going into labor. Some hospitals make it super easy and offer online registration, but some you might have to stop in and physically fill out the paper work. Pre-registration just helps speed up the process of admittance when you are experiencing painful contractions! When you pre-register make sure you have your insurance information, your baby’s insurance information (under your policy or your partner’s), your OB’s name and number and the pediatrician’s name and number. One last thing to prep yourself for the hospital is getting that car seat installed in the backseat! At the hospital where I gave birth a staff member actually checked to make sure there was a car seat and it was installed properly before they allowed us to leave with Lily!
Hospital Playlist. An important item (for me) on my hospital checklist is my ipod. Music has always been important to me and having my ipod with relaxing music to listen to while I was experiencing contractions with Lily was a HUGE comfort to me. I made a playlist of relaxing music and another playlist of regular tunes that were upbeat, made me smile and helped kill time during the long labor process. Lily took 11 hours to arrive! So prep that ipod or ipad with music playlists that will help comfort you and make you smile while you wait to meet your baby. I also made a playlist full of sweet lullabies that I played Lily post delivery in the hospital and even at home during late night feedings to help soothe her to sleep!
Maternity Pics. To get them or not to get them is the question! Yes your body is HUGE and you may hate the way you look, but you may regret not capturing this special moment! Plus your kid will love looking at the photos! I have a maternity picture in Lily’s room and she loves pointing to it and knowing she was in my belly. It has been a great way to talk about this pregnancy with her. Now you can spend money on a professional or just have a family member take some candid shots in the backyard. Since I have been so sick during this pregnancy I was never up to getting professional shots, so we had my mom take some pictures in her back yard and they work for me!
Finding a Pediatrician. After your baby is born a pediatrician typically likes to have you visit them a few days post birth to check weight and then start the monthly well visits. To make sure you are ready, take the time during this trimester finding a pediatrician you like. Now if you already have kids and have the doc picked then great! Just make sure you contact them and see if they have any paperwork you need to fill out prior to birth to make the first office visit easier. If you are a first time parent ask your OB or friend’s for their referrals on pediatricians in your area. Set up interview appointments to meet the prospective docs to see who you like best. I did a whole post about this and included a free printable list of questions to ask pediatricians during your interviews! Check it out HERE.
Now on to some “fun” third trimester symptoms…
Heartburn. Some women experience heartburn throughout their pregnancy, but some will only experience it towards the end. With your baby taking up so much room in your belly, you can experience painful heartburn after you eat or drink. Sometimes it can happen even before you eat or during the night while sleeping! Tums can taste like chalk, but I have found their smoothie flavored ones easier to take as the dissolve easier and taste better. I keep a bottle next to my bed with a glass of water. To help you might want to break up your breakfast, lunch and dinner into multiple smaller meals throughout the day so you’re not overfilling your stomach. Make sure you stay away from food and drinks that have higher acid levels that may trigger heartburn. When you go to sleep try propping your head with added pillows to help keep the stomach acid down. I have known women who can’t sleep laying down towards the end of their pregnancy and have slept in Lazy Boy recliners to help with the acid reflux….whatever works right!!
Sciatica. With the added weight gain and having a human being inside your body pressing on your back you can experience sciatica. I had it with Lily and with this pregnancy as well. Sciatica is a horrible pain that affects a nerve running from your back down to your leg. My pain is always on my right side in my lower back and radiating down over my butt. When experiencing this pain I take it easy and try and rest my feet. I use a body pillow at night and while hanging out on the couch with the family I always place pillows around my back & belly to help give me support. The one thing that has always helped with the pain is stretching! I stretch throughout the day and right before bed to help keep the pain away. For the best stretch do the following. Raise the leg on the side you’re experiencing pain and prop the leg on your bed, counter or couch. Bend this leg at the knee so it is perpendicular to you body (bent at a 90 degree angle). Now slowly start to lean towards this leg while also sitting back on the other standing leg. Make sure you hold on to the bed, counter or couch. Hold this for 30 seconds and back away. Repeat a few times. Warning you will feel a painful stretch, but it only means the stretch is working and will help relax the tight muscles and reduce the pain in the nerve! (Read more about sciatica here.)
Wet Undies. “Because peeing your pants is cool….well if peeing your pants is cool, then call me Miles Davis.” I have repeated that line from Billy Madison a couple of times after I have had a few “accidents” just to put a smile on my face from the humiliation of wetting my undies. Keeping it real ladies…you could possibly wet your drawers while pregnant and you can certainly run into this dilemma even after giving birth. A simple sneeze cough or small chuckle can cause you to “dribble” like a toddler or a granny wearing Depends. Kegel exercises are highly stressed during your pregnancy to help strengthen your muscles down in the lady region. To read more about them click here.
Even though I did them while pregnant with Lily I still found myself crossing my legs while out in public when I felt a sneeze coming for fear of public leaking! Now with this pregnancy I’ve felt the fear a lot earlier than the third trimester. I have literally waddled super fast to the bathroom a few times when Mike has caused me to laugh super hard at one of his corny jokes. The only advice I can offer is just roll with it. If wearing panty liners brings you peace then do it OR you can repeat Adam Sandler quotes to lighten the mood like me!
Boob Leaks. Yes you read that correctly. Not only do your boobs grow to sizes that will make your eyes big as saucers, they might start leaking as your boobs work hard to start producing milk. Don’t be freaked out…it is totally normal. Typically only a small amount will appear and after wiping it will stop. If you continue to leak pick up some nursing pads from Babies R Us or Target and place them in your bra to prevent leaking to your shirt.
Carpal Tunnel. During my first pregnancy I started having a little tingle feeling in my hands and sometimes a few numb fingers. It escalated to painful aches (especially at night) and when I asked my OB I was told that I was suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome from all my swelling. It last a few weeks after giving birth, but went away eventually. I have yet to experience it during this pregnancy since I have kept my weight in control. With all the fluids the hospital pumps into you during labor I had crazy swelling after birth, and knowing this I will be prepared just in case I experience this painful symptom. To help with the pain I purchased wrist braces that with firm compression and keeping my hands from constantly bending helped reduce the pain. To read more about this lovely pregnancy symptom read here.
Hemorrhoids. Yep these third trimester symptoms keep getting better and better don’t they!!! Yes its embarrassing letting the world know that I’ve had hemorrhoids, but listen I’m keeping it real by disclosing some of the unglamorous predicaments you might find yourself in during pregnancy and post partum. With Lily I only experienced these after giving birth from pushing for two hours! I was given some witch hazel pads and prescription ointment from a doctor to help calm them. My mother affectionately calls hemorrhoids the pregnancy gift that keeps on giving because once you get them they can reappear later on in life.
With this pregnancy they’ve appeared a few times. Once after a day standing and walking the zoo with Lily the pressure made them appear for a few days. During one of my nesting phases I felt the need to power wash the backyard and only after an hour of standing I started to feel them. I have been constipated a few times during this pregnancy and the pressure of this caused the nasty buggers to appear as well. To help you can make sure to eat plenty of fiber and drink plenty of water to stay regular. Don’t sit on the toilet and push too hard…If you can’t go don’t strain yourself. Use flushable wet wipes to clean your bottom because regular t.p. can irritate the sensitive area. Don’t stand for long periods of time and make sure to rest by propping up your feet (and lie on your side to keep pressure off your sore bottom). You can purchase Tuck Pads and hemorrhoid creams like Peparation H to help soothe the area and make the swelling go down. Fill up your tub with warm water to soothe your bum that way too. If they are super bad, especially after birth use a doughnut pillow (can be purchased at your drugstore or hospital supply stores) to help sitting on your bum less painful.
Braxton Hicks/Contractions. Believe it or not your body starts contractions early on in your pregnancy and a majority of women won’t even feel them at all! Braxton Hicks are unpredictable, not rhythmic and typically more uncomfortable than painful. Towards the end of your third trimester you start to experience the Braxton Hicks more often and if they intensify its considered “false labor”…something I experienced this past Wednesday. I started to have horrible contractions and when I started to time them they where becoming more rhythmic and were lasting a lot longer then the average 30 second ones I had been previously experiencing. After an hour and a half of these contractions where they were lasting a minute long and happening every 9-10 minutes I called my OB. I was given directions to drink two full glasses of water, lay down and time them for another hour. If they stayed the same I was to call back…but if they started to space back out I was to continue to rest and drink more water. Sure enough mine slowly started to space out and become less painful. I was just dehydrated and needed the rest. Needless to say after being sick for 9 months straight and having those painful false labor contractions I broke down in tears that I wasn’t really in labor. So I have more waiting to do! To help with contractions make sure you stay hydrated. Take it easy and rest! If your contractions are happening frequently make sure you time them! Go back and check out the pregnancy apps I talked about in the post about surviving the first trimester. Most of the pregnancy apps come with a contraction timer. I used the timer on the Pregnancy + app and found it super easy to use. (again head back to the previous post for a link to this app)
I pretty much live in black maternity leggings. I buy mine from Motherhood because they are always on sale. They are super soft and come in different colors. In store and online there is always a great sale on there leggings (usually buy one get one 50%).
I have turned to reading A LOT during this pregnancy. I have found that concentrating on reading my Kindle keeps my mind off complaining/concentrating on the nausea that I have yet escaped! I have the Kindle Paperwhite and love it! It’s simple to use and I can read in any degree of light there’s no squinting like reading an iPad. Since I’m an Amazon Prime member I have access to tons of books that I can rent for FREE or purchase at a greater discount! Kindle might not take my nausea away, but it helps take my mind off it! Plus it kills time while waiting for all my OB appointments!
As you read above flushable wet wipes bring extreme comfort for those dealing with hemorrhoids! I buy Target’s brand for the cheap price.
My free printable checklist to prep you for the hospital has helped me pack my bags, even if this is my second time! Read above for a link to the free printable!
If you are planning on nursing then you might want to purchase a few nursing bras prior to birth just to be prepared. I have started wearing my nursing bras because they are so much more comfortable than my regular bras with underwires! When I’m sitting the bra’s underwire cuts into my huge belly and it’s just uncomfortable. Target has some great options that won’t break the bank! I’m obsessed with my Bravado Body Silk Seamless bra I found on Amazon. It is super comfy, comes in other colors and the low front and back works great with different style shirts. I still wear sports bras all the time (check my comfort items from the first trimester to see my two favorite sports bras!).