During the third trimester you must take extra precautions and care, so that you continue to maintain a healthy pregnancy till the end. At this time you will definitely find it more difficult to move about as easily as before.
You might also experience an increase in pain and swelling. Your baby will be moving a lot and is preparing to make his or her way into the world. You might even notice when your baby drops lower in the uterus.
What Can You Expect in the Third Trimester?
Some of the things that most moms experience during the third trimester are:
- Braxton-Hicks contractions- These mimic the actual contractions and are less intense and not painful when compared to the real ones. But let’s just say these are practice contractions as they are not harmful in any way.
- Heartburn - You may have noticed that you have a lot more heartburn now. This is because your baby is almost full size and the uterus puts a lot of pressure on your intestines and stomach. This may cause a reflux and the contents in your stomach may come back into the esophagus. You can try eating smaller meals but more frequently, drink liquids between meals and avoid eating two to three hours before bed time.
- Swollen ankles, face and fingers - This is a very common for many moms in the third trimester. At this time your body produces up to 50% more fluids and blood to cater for your baby’s needs. But if the swelling happens very suddenly, see your doctor soon as it may be a sign of preeclampsia.
Other than this you may have difficulty in sleeping, hemorrhoids, tender (and leaky) breasts, an urge to use the bathroom more often and lots of baby movement. Seek medical attention immediately if you do not feel any baby movements, bleeding, very painful contractions, extreme swelling and weight gain.
What Should You Do to Remain Healthy?
- Eat Healthy - In the third trimester, your baby is almost fully developed and hair grows, their eyes open and bones get stronger. Continue to take your prenatal vitamin and aim to get vitamins and minerals from natural food sources that contain vitamins A, B6, C, D and B12. You need to maintain a healthy diet and should be consuming at least 300 extra calories per day. The snacks and meals that you consume throughout the day should include fruits, vegetables, proteins, healthy oils and fats, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat pasteurized dairy.
- Exercise - If you have a healthy pregnancy, after consulting your OB/GYN, maintain an exercise regime that is safe in the third trimester. Some of the best exercises that you can do are walking, pilates or prenatal yoga, kegels or pelvic floor exercises, and water aerobics or swimming. Remember to keep exercise levels less intense and don’t start any strenuous exercise that you’re not familiar with.
- Rest and Sleep - In the third trimester, you might feel tired more easily and rest and proper sleep is very important. Poor sleep is associated with preterm birth, preeclampsia, increased anxiety, and a higher risk of gestational diabetes. Research shows that proper sleep reduces the chances of depression during and after pregnancy, and also increases the success rate for breastfeeding.
What to Avoid During the Third Trimester?
During the third trimester here is a list of things that you should completely avoid so as to be on the safe side:
- Avoid alcohol, smoking and illegal drugs
- Raw fish or seafood that is smoked
- Raw sprouts
- Try to limit caffeine up to one cup of tea or coffee per day
- Unpasteurized dairy products including milk
- Long trips in a car or airplane as far as possible
- Cat litter (as it carries a parasite which causes toxoplasmosis)
Staying relaxed and comfortable
Having adequate rest will, for many, come naturally for many expectant moms in their last stages of pregnancy. Being comfortable in the clothes you wear can help with having quality rest both now and after your baby has arrived, so perhaps consider investing in clothes that you can wear now and in coming months (as your body returns to its pre pregnancy state) is a good idea.