Nearly there! You’re on the home stretch now and it won’t be long before you finally get to meet your baby. And they’re really growing fast – right about now their skin is smoothing out as they put on some baby chub, they’re developing teeny tiny fingernails and toenails, and their brain is developing rapidly.
So although the countdown is well and truly on, your body is still going through heaps of changes – so it’s important to know how to best take care of yourself and your little nugget at this time.
1. Constipation and heartburn
Yep, we might as well lead in with constipation, no beating around the bush here! During the third trimester you’ll produce more of the naughty hormone progesterone, which relaxes the muscles in your uterus allowing gastric acids to seep back up, causing heartburn. As well as this, it makes your digestion move slower, leading to the dreaded constipation. Our top tips to relieve this are to chew your food slowly and deliberately, eat little and often, stay away from acidic foods and try chewing gum after every meal to wake up those salivary glands.
2. Braxton Hicks
Many a new mum has felt Braxton Hicks contractions and worried the baby was coming, but they are in fact just warm-ups to get your uterus ready for the real thing. How can you tell the difference? They’re generally quite mild, irregular and last about 15-30 seconds, whereas real labour contractions are stronger, closer together and last about 35-75 seconds each.
3. Sensitive skin
In the third trimester our hormones (yep, it’s all about the hormones) make our skin super sensitive to detergents, lotions and even the sun. Seriously, a cream you’ve sworn by for years can suddenly unleash itchy, flaky hell! We advise you wash your clothes in a caring, specially-formulated-for-sensitive-skin detergent like Persil Non-Bio and the kind-to-skin Comfort Pure. You want to be fresh and happy at this time, not irritated and uncomfortable.
4. Vivid dreams
As if we didn’t have enough madness in our daily life preparing for baby, as soon as we hit the pillow our dreams go a bit haywire. If you’re having vivid dreams, don’t worry, it’s totally normal. You are going through a period of immense change and your daily thoughts and worries can seep into your subconscious. Couple that with waking up frequently to pee, or a disturbed sleep with leg cramps and the like, and is it any wonder our dreams are a bit bizarre?
5. Dem bones, dem bones
At the start of the third trimester your baby’s cartilage is transforming into bone, so make sure to up that calcium intake, whether through calcium-rich foods like dairy and dark green leafy veg or a supplement. And as well as this, a lack of calcium (and hydration) can cause those dreaded leg cramps.
Well our bodies ARE expanding to bring a human being (sometimes more than one) into the world, so it makes sense our skin is going to stretch! We advise rubbing coconut oil into your belly, arms and thighs twice daily. As a 100% natural product, it’s super moisturising yet shouldn’t irritate sensitive skin.
Third trimester tiredness is a special type of tiredness – prepare to feel knackered at times. But although rest is very important at this stage, continuing to exercise – moderately – is crucial. It will actually give you more energy and will help you sleep better. But if the thoughts of it make you shudder, arrange with a friend or your partner to go for a light walk each day – the chats and company will make it so much more bearable.
Backache is synonymous with this stage of your pregnancy, for a number of reasons. Firstly your spine will curve inwards to help you carry that rapidly growing bump, while the ligament softening hormone ‘relaxin’ – which is produced to help your body expand with baby – can cause abnormal joint motion, cause inflammation and pain. Relieve this pain by treating yourself to a pregnancy massage, doing some simple pregnancy yoga moves, sleeping with a pillow between your knees to reduce lower back strain, or swimming – in the water you’re weightless and it takes pressure of the spine.
9. Sexy time
It’s perfectly safe to have sex in the third trimester, in fact, it’s encouraged. A comfortable position is key, like spooning together. And nope, before you start to worry there is no possible way the penis will go anywhere near the baby’s head!
10. Varicose veins
Your body is an amazing thing – to support the new life inside you a larger volume of blood is being produced, but it can lead to something altogether unpleasant: varicose veins – which are basically swollen blood vessels – and haemorrhoids, which are in fact swollen varicose veins, However, gross as they are, they’re highly unlikely to cause any harm to you or your baby.
11. Needing to wee, a lot
Needing to urinate frequently is part and parcel of being pregnant, but it does get particularly tiresome in the third trimester. This is caused in part by the pregnancy hormone hCG, which increases blood flow to the pelvic area, as well as the fact you have a little lodger pressing against your bladder! Despite the fact you have to wee so much, don’t cut down on your fluid intake as this can lead to dehydration and even infection, instead cut out all caffeinated drinks. Caffeine is a diuretic and will make you want to pee even more – no thanks!
12. Red flag symptoms
If you experience bleeding, severe abdominal pain, severe vomiting or nausea, pain while peeing, severe dizziness or too rapid or too little weight gain, make an appointment to see your doctor straight away.
How are you finding the third trimester? Have you any tips and tricks to make it more comfortable? We would love to hear your experiences!