The third trimester – also know as the longest three months of a woman’s life. While you are now in the home stretch, some days it seems like eons until your due date.
I’m currently in the third trimester with my 8th baby. It seems like whenever I get to this stage of pregnancy I am just so ready to be done – I’m miserable, I’m tired, my whole body aches, and all I want to do is sleep. But….. this should be a joyful time – a time to remember, a time to delight in, a time of peacefulness.
So I often need to remind myself that this will not last forever and I need to enjoy this short season and I will be holding my little one soon. In case you are in the same boat as me, here are some things I’ve learned and done over the years to make the third trimester more enjoyable and manageable.
Get as much rest as you can; whether that means you go to bed earlier than usual, sleep in a little later, or find a time during the day to take a nap or rest, be sure to get in a little more rest time than usual. You are going to be a lot more tired these last few months and it’s okay to take the time you need to rest. If you work outside the home, your best bet might be going to bed early. If you have little ones and you stay at home, perhaps napping when they nap would be best. Or maybe you have little ones that don’t nap anymore; if that’s the case, pop in a movie or video or audio book for some quiet time for everyone each day.
I know that I just said to rest as much as you can, but when you aren’t resting, keep yourself busy. It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous, just something to keep your mind busy. These last few months can often seem like they are dragging on; if you keep busy, time will seem to go by much quicker. Read a book, walk the mall, have friends over for a play date, do some scrap booking, color with your kids, or organize those photo albums you’ve been putting off.
Prepare for baby’s arrival
One thing you can do to keep busy is preparing for your baby’s arrival. There are quite a few things to do to get ready for a new baby, such as buying all the necessary baby gear and clothing, setting up all the gear, washing clothing and bedding, packing your hospital bag, preparing a post partum basket, and preparing meals for after the birth.
Spend quality time with your spouse and children
Adding another member to your family will most likely change the family dynamic quite a bit. Before this happens, spend some quality time with your spouse and other children (if you have any). Plan some special outings – things you don’t normally do, like playing mini golf, go to a sporting event, or head to the beach. Or you can do some low key, simple things like play board games, go to the park or the zoo, go out for ice cream, snuggle up on the couch and watch your favorite movie, or read some books to help prepare your other children for the new baby.
Ask (accept) for help
Ask for help in any area that you need; perhaps you need someone to help with housework, or yard work, running errands, or childcare. Whatever you need, don’t be afraid to ask; it could simply be asking your husband or older children to pitch in a little more, or asking a friend, neighbor, or relative to help you out during this season. And if someone offers to help you out or asks you if you need anything, take them up on their offer.
Use a maternity belt
It’s pretty amazing how our body changes and grows to accommodate a baby. Some of these changes can often be uncomfortable, especially the weight gain and our growing belly. By the third trimester, our baby belly can feel quite heavy, especially at the end of the day. A maternity belt can help with this. It can help with lower back pain, hip and pelvic pain, sciatic pain, round ligament pain, among other things.
This is important at any stage of pregnancy. Your body is changing and it’s providing for two, so it needs extra water for it to function and be healthy for both you and your baby. Complications can occur during pregnancy if you don’t stay hydrated, one of them being going into premature labor. Staying hydrated during pregnancy can help prevent headaches, nausea, indigestion, urinary tract infections, and constipation. Drinking enough water also helps ensure an adequate level of amniotic fluid and even aids fetal kidney function. The American Pregnancy Association suggests that expectant mothers should drink at least 10 glasses of water each day.
Watch what you eat
If you haven’t started doing so already, you’ll most likely have to start eating smaller, more frequent meals (snacks). Your baby is taking up more and more space which means your stomach doesn’t have as much room as it used to and it’s most likely pushed up and out of its normal position. So eating regular size meals could result in heart burn, nausea, or reflux. Eating smaller meals, more frequently, can reduce the chances of these tummy issues. Also cut back on or avoid sodium; this can cause swelling, water retention, and increased weight gain.
Lower your expectations
Yup, I said (or rather typed) that. You are most likely not going to be able to do everything you used to do. It’s harder to get around, you are more tired, and if you are on bed rest, life will really be different for you. This is a short season; it’s okay if the house isn’t as tidy as usual, or if you are taking short cuts for meals, or if the kids go a few extra days without a bath or watch a little extra television. Your priority needs to be keeping you and that baby healthy, and sometimes that simply means getting the rest you need.
Give all your cares, concerns, and discomforts to Him. You are most likely so ready to be done and meet your little one, but take comfort in knowing that He has a plan for you and your baby, and it’s perfect. Try changing your focus from wondering and waiting, to faith and peace in God’s perfect plan. Don’t let the enemy steal the joy of these lasts few months, weeks or days of pregnancy. Feeling those little (or rather big now) kicks and seeing your belly jump around is simply amazing – enjoy it and soak it in; enjoy these last few intimate moments with baby from the inside.