10 Things That Helped Tremendously During My Pregnancy: 3rd Trimester
We made it to the home-stretch: Third Trimester! The Third Trimester is when I felt like things got super REAL. It was setting in that in a matter of weeks I would be giving birth to and caring for a real live human! Although the Third Trimester gets a bad wrap for being uncomfortable and most people being “over it”, I think it can be a magical and exciting time in your pregnancy. Your baby is moving a ton, and you are likely making preparations like wrapping up classes and getting the nursery ready. Many of my favorite things I shared in the First and Second trimester posts helped me feel prepared and stay comfortable up to this point, so if you missed those be sure to go back and check those out. If you're all caught up on this series and ready for the Third Trimester here are the 10 things I found most helpful:
It’s a common misconception that because breastfeeding is natural it comes easily. This is not the case! There is often a learning curve for mom and baby that leaves many new mothers feeling defeated without the right support. I recommend finding an independent International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), take a class, and local support group before birth. I found a support group hosted by IBCLC’s in my area (Your hospital or birthing facility may have breastfeeding support groups, or you can find one through La Leche League.) and did some additional reading to boost my confidence. There are some great breastfeeding books out there, but I actually really enjoyed reading this guide because it’s a quick straightforward read with a lot of helpful visuals.
I probably shouldn’t have waited this long but I got a pair of Blanqi biker shorts I can wear under loose shorts and dresses. They provide belly and lower back support without being too restricting or hot.
Similar to having a contact for a lactation support it’s worth considering finding a referral for a therapist who is experienced with postpartum mood disorders. I had a relationship with a therapist already and I did a couple extra sessions to talk through expectations and concerns with my therapist and husband. Our sessions put my mind at ease and helped us navigate our expectations for parental leave and how we would work together caring for our baby.
Learning Comfort Measures
Regardless of how and where you are planning to birth I recommend having a few tricks up your sleeve for dealing with the discomfort of labor. Yes, this still applies to you if you are planning on opting for the drugs! A couple examples of comfort measures would be laboring positions, hydrotherapy, massage techniques, etc. My favorite was having my husband massage my back or do “shake the apple tree” to loosen up tension in my lower back and hips.
Around this time that 2nd trimester energy you had may start to wane. This is a great time to slow down again, revisit some of those strategies for resting from the first trimester, and be mindful of being on your feet too much. More than once I overdid it and it resulted in swelling feet and dehydration. One of my doulas other clients got so dehydrated she started having constant Braxton Hicks aka “practice contractions” to the point she had to go to the emergency room for fluids and monitoring. That story was enough to make me want to sit down and rest more often!
6. Taking Walks
I thought I would be that person who maintained my usual workout schedule throughout my whole pregnancy. Not the case! Taking walks and doing some stretching after was enough activity for me at this point. In my opinion, our culture is fitness obsessed so just because you can do certain workouts while pregnant doesn’t mean you should! My husband and I walked together when possible which helped me stay fit and allowed us to get some quality time in.
7. Essential Oils:
I used Lavender, Cedarwood, Peppermint, Cypress and Deep Blue frequently at this stage. Diffusing Lavender and Cedarwood supports relaxation and restful sleep. I used Lavender and Cypress and a tiny bit of Peppermint in the bath to ease swelling and tired legs. Deep Blue is a Doterra Blend that is my go-to for muscle aches so I used this one on my lower back and hips often. If you’re new to using essential oils I have a guide to help you get started in the resource library.
8. Magnesium Baths
Magnesium is an essential mineral necessary for multiple functions in the body, and acts as a natural muscle relaxer. It absorbs well through the skin, so taking a warm bath with magnesium flakes is a great way to soothe aching muscles while getting a healthy does of the essential mineral. I order my magnesium flakes on amazon and put a couple drops each of the oils mentioned above for a relaxing bath. (With the exception of Deep Blue which can be a little irritating in the bath because it’s so strong.)
9. Birth Ball
Around 34 weeks is when most care providers will start paying more attention to your baby’s position, but as a prenatal chiropractor I know being proactive is best! Resting on a birth ball at home is a great way to maintain good posture and keep your hips open throughout pregnancy. I like to draw circles or figure eights with my hips while sitting on the ball. When resting, I make sure my feet are planted on the ground and that my chest stays lifted while my belly hangs with my navel pointing towards the floor.
It finally hit me during the third trimester I’m going to have to do the hard work of getting this baby out! Being a doula has not made me exempt from feeling nervous leading up to the big day, so I bought some affirmation cards from Mama Natural for encouragement. If you want to make your own Pintrest has some great affirmation ideas as well.
Well that rounds out this series! I look forward to checking back in and sharing what was most helpful postpartum. What trimester are you currently in? If you have any lingering questions you can always reach out via email: firstname.lastname@example.org