This pregnancy went by so fast! I have to say that I have enjoyed it tremendously, and savored each moment it offered me. I am grateful that I had a pleasant pregnancy – without any symptoms, aches and pains and that my energy was stable throughout with the normal variations in various stages.
The third trimester presents itself with extensive growth – as baby starts to put layers of fat, mamas’ belly gets bigger and more often in the way of daily chores. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bumped my big belly against other people and objects as I have walked past them. It made for some pretty funny moments and created lots of laughter.
Besides the fact that my belly was growing at a fast rate, as I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, I also noticed that I started to feel more tired and I needed to add an afternoon nap in my ninth month. Other than that, here are a few things I did in my third trimester and how I prepared for labor – this was my major focus in the last two months of my pregnancy. You might find some of the suggestions useful for you as well, if you are approaching or are currently in your third trimester.
It was important to me to stay active throughout my pregnancy and I have been incorporating walks, yoga and some weight lifting throughout the entire period.
Yoga, walks, weights
I changed my yoga and workout routine in my third trimester and as soon as baby turned head down, I have been avoiding inversions altogether and focused more on standing sequences, and strengthening my pelvic floor and legs. I did some of Ali Kamenova’s yoga classes that were specifically designed for the third trimester and loved it. All in all, I did lots of squats, plié or Goddess pose variations and I absolutely loved them! I ended up spending a lot of time in this pose during labor so having worked on that definitely helped!
Pelvic floor awareness
My other focus was on pelvic floor strengthening and relaxation. I know many focus on the pelvic floor after the birth but we need to strengthen it during pregnancy as well as this can help with labor and recovery after. I personally noticed a huge difference in my recovery and I am glad I spent all this time on these exercises. They are not the most fun to do (at least not for me), but I recognize how important they truly are.
It is easy to incorporate some Kegel exercises daily. I put a reminder on my bathroom mirror and did some while I was brushing my teeth for example. However, after week 33 I stopped doing Kegels and focus on conscious relaxing the pelvic area. This is important as you want to be able to relax the pelvic muscles during labor, just as you want to strengthen them prior to that.
Towards the end of my pregnancy however I was more tired and in the last two weeks before giving birth I focused more on gathering my strength and did more light exercises and stretches only and spend lots of time on a Swiss ball as I found it so comfortable and a great way to open the hips while resting.
Diet and nutrition
In the third trimester my focus was on providing the nutrients that baby needs during this last growth phase. I was paying more attention to the amount of protein I was consuming, as during the last trimester we need more protein than before. Honestly, I did struggle to get the amounts I needed even with my awareness and added protein sources, but paying close attention to my protein intake did help to increase my consumption. Another important nutrient that I was keeping track of was calcium – baby is growing and needs calcium for her growing bones, and if mama is not getting enough calcium from her diet, her bones will leach to support baby. This can lead to depletion and even predispose the mother for osteoporosis.
I was also focusing on my gut health. During pregnancy our gut health gets a beating, and it is so important that we keep feeding our gut bacteria so they keep us healthy. This means that we should focus more on fiber, probiotics (think sauerkraut, lacto-fermented veggies, yogurt etc.) as well as prebiotics.
Did you know that when you give birth, your baby will be colonized by the bacteria that are in your birth canal? Taking care of your gut health during pregnancy is thus not just important for your health, but can affect your baby too.
Mental & Spiritual preparation
As mentioned previously in the last months of my pregnancy I focused on preparing for birth. I used hypnobirthing for both births and I can only recommend it. Doing daily meditations and breath work in the weeks prior to giving birth makes it much easier to drop in this awareness as things get real. We also spent a lot of time as a family talking about how we will make space for one more baby, and how our daily life will shift and change. Though I have to say that transitioning from one baby to two is way easier than from zero to one (at least in our case), being prepared for the changes ahead of time is always helpful.
Preparing my first daughter for her sister’s arrival
This was another aspect that was new to me but that I felt so important to address properly. My first daughter was four and a half at the time her sister was born, so she was old enough for us to have proper conversations about how life will change. She knew I was pregnant from very early on. In fact, she told me I have a baby in my belly when I was just 8 weeks along and I didn’t try to hide it from her, as she stroke me with her awareness of what was going on. She’s been very excited to have a baby sister all throughout my pregnancy and she was very positive about all the changes that were about to take place. We really made a big effort to explain to her how our routine will change, how a baby needs caring and attention and how our love grows with each added family member. I think it really has helped as she had a very smooth transition.
Of course, once baby was born things change and reality hits and she has been eager to hold and care for her little sister. If anything, it is her big affection that we needed to look out for in the beginning until she developed a concept of how fragile babies are. 😊 We did have some episodes where she asked who our favorite is but I think we tackled it well by focusing on their uniqueness rather than comparing them to one another. In the early weeks she would seek more attention especially while I was breastfeeding her sister, which wasn’t always easy to deal with but it faded away after three to four weeks. Right now, we have a well-established dynamic and our life as a family of four is smooth and joyful. She copies everything and is a mommy to two dolls. 😊 She feeds them, dresses them, wears them in a baby doll carrier and cooks for them. It is so sweet to see her incorporating the things she sees at home in her play.