Voila! The baby is almost there. You have made it through many of the major obstacles of your pregnancy and now your baby is just few months or weeks far from you! All your wait & patience of several months will be bearing the much awaited fruit in this last and the final trimester.
Third-trimester counts for the last three months of your pregnancy i.e starting from week 27th to the end of the pregnancy, by this time you have experienced some of the most challenging days of your life both mentally & physically i.e. morning sickness, severe back pain, food cravings, aversions, nausea and in some cases insomnia too but the most important thing to remember here is that this is the time where you need to brush up basics of Pregnancy, just like the first few months, the last months of your pregnancy are very crucial. Your baby’s development is in full swing and you as a mother have to be extra cautious. In this blog, we are trying to highlight some of the major key points of your third trimester, that will help you be prepared for your delivery.
Unlike other trimesters, the symptoms of your third trimester are going to be a lot different, while you might think about what is happening, let us calm you down by letting you know that these symptoms are completely normal:
- Stomach Ache and Discomfort- During the last months of your pregnancy, as your baby grows rapidly, your belly size will continue to grow too causing minor cramping and discomforts, you might even find it difficult to lay in bed with that big belly of yours but the good thing is that these are absolutely healthy signs.
- Sore lower back- Why is it that every time you sit, your midwife or your partner will bring in a cushion to support your back? This is because, with the weight gain due to pregnancy, a lot of pressure comes on your lower back. Your pelvic area by now also prepares for labor which further might add to discomfort and backache. Using pillows to provide some extra support is not at all a bad idea!
- Contractions- With the 9th month approaching, you might experience contractions in your lower abdomen with some stiffness in your uterus. This happens because your uterus is preparing for the labor in days to come, such contractions are often irregular, however, if you feel severe pain, it is advised to consult the doctor immediately.
- Frequent Urination- As the baby grows, the weight and the pressure on your bladder increases, this will make it difficult for you to hold on to your urine for late. You will face frequent urination and this is a normal symptom.
- Restlessness in legs or RSL – Restless leg syndrome, this is usually witnessed in one third of pregnant women often during the 2nd to 3rd trimester but may be felt in the beginning too in certain cases. RLS is a situation where you feel an unstoppable urge to move your legs rather leading to more fatigue eventually. This is generally felt in the evening hours and makes it difficult to sleep. One may walk for a while and even elevate the feet using a pillow to feel at ease. However, if the feeling is too frequent, you need to consult with your doctor as certain researches attach it to deficiency of Folic & Folate. Your gynaecologist will usually address it by keeping weight check, adding some more folic/folate supplements or suggesting some lifestyle changes.
Amongst the many symptoms, these will be some which will be new and different to you. Swelling in other parts of the body will be your companion. However, it must be noted that any symptom that gets unbearable should be immediately addressed. So staying in constant touch with your doctor during this phase even if a minor inconvenience happens is the key to sail through.
Nutrition During this Phase:
A healthy mother will give birth to a healthy baby. Many pregnant women crib about the excess weight they have gained and the constant poking from their family members to eat. Remember this is the time when you need to have an adequate amount of nutritional intake to make up for your as well as your baby’s health. Please make sure you adhere to your prescribed nutrition religiously, here are some suggestions.
- Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, fruits & green veggies (Don’t consume papaya & pineapple) like Broccoli, Carrots, Sweet Potato, Spinach, Apple, kiwi, Strawberries are ideal.
- Have good protein like eggs, fish, chicken, pulses, tofu, and enough fibre rich foods like oats, whole wheat, broken wheat, etc.
- The third trimester observes the bone development of the child thus the need for calcium also increases. Eating some extra bananas, adding to your milk (low-fat) consumption by a cup along with calcium supplements recommended by your doctor will make for it.
- One can continue with the dietary supplements prescribed by the doctor.
- Consume enough fluids, doesn’t matter even if you have to urinate frequently.
You should strictly stay away from drinking alcohol and smoking habits. The caffeine intake should also be moderated ( preferably keep your coffee & tea at the bay for some time)
Your third trimester would demand you to have plenty of rest. With the rapidly growing baby, and the symptoms you are facing indulging in exercises is not a good option. By this time, a big belly makes it difficult to carry out routine tasks, and doing any additional workout is not advised.
Go for short walks and practice breathing exercises. Also, light yoga and meditation is a good option at this point. Do consult your doctor before indulging in any new fitness routine.
Strictly refrain from heavy weight lifting exercises and high-intensity workouts. Your lower abdomen should not feel any stretch in any of the exercises.
As an excited to-be-parent, you must be curious to know about your baby’s development. Well, this trimester will observe the final stage of your offspring’s growth. By this time the following major changes happen to your little one:
- The baby begins to open his eyes partially, eyelashes are formed. By the 29th week, the baby can widely open its eyes.
- Your little one is capable of detecting light and respond to stimuli. His/Her senses are developed and he/she can react to your voice too.
- The baby’s head is developed and bears hair too. By the 34th week, the fingernails are growing and they reach up to the fingertips.
- The baby develops soft skin.
- Though the baby’s bones are strengthening and getting stronger, the baby’s head remains soft and flexible. A baby’s neck settles after the birth completely.
- As the 36th week approaches the baby will occupy a majority of the amniotic space. As an expectant mother, you will be able to feel the baby roll.
- The baby’s head often moves towards the lower ends of the pelvis and this helps in the preparation of the labor.
While these are some of the major changes observed, it is suggested that as new parents you do not worry if any of these changes is not witnessed. Every baby has its growth speed. It is advised to continue with the ultrasound as suggested by the gynecologist.
Mental Health of the To-Be Mother
Pregnancy often interferes with a woman’s mental well being and this is due to the different hormonal changes happening inside the body. While many of you would have heard about mood swings, there can be other symptoms like irritation, anxiety, stress and at times depression. To keep yourself sane, practice meditation and breathing exercises. Enjoy small walks and watch movies that are one of your favourites. Keep yourself happy by doing things you cherish, be it talking to your partner or loved one, reading a book, listening to music, or for that matter sleep if you wish. Take a chill pill and relax!
When to visit your doctor?
During your final trimester, you have to be cautious at every step. Look out for any unfamiliar symptom or inconvenience, if any. You should immediately visit the doctor if:
- Sudden vaginal bleeding
- Heavy abdominal cramps
- You feel pain or irritation during urination
- The body temperature rises too high
Do not stress and worry too much. Pregnancy is one of a normal physiological change and adds joy to one’s life. Your midwife and doctor are there to help you!
Remember, there’s no bond like that of a child and mother which starts to develop much before your little one arrives into the world. As the life inside you grows, you will too be able to embrace this beautiful gift that’s been bestowed upon you.
Verified - Dr Shikha Gurnani (MBBS, DNB - Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Editor - Anushka Jain (Beauty Influencer / Dip. Journalism)