The third trimester of pregnancy comes with a mixed bag of emotions. There's the exhaustion, discomfort, and nerves, as well as excitement to meet their new baby. The last three months also come with several new safety considerations that soon-to-be moms have to keep in mind. It's nothing to be scared of, it's just important to take note. Although every pregnancy is unique, there are certain precautions to take in the last three months of pregnancy that are pretty universal.
Assuming you haven't taken up acrobat training or deep sea diving for the first time while pregnant, you will find that third trimester precautions are not really restrictive at all. That being said, they're still important. In the third trimester of my second pregnancy, I had to give up exercising because I was leaking amniotic fluid and doctors were concerned about the amount I had already lost. They thought it was exacerbated by my daily stints on the elliptical machine. I didn't have to go on bed rest, but I was advised to stay away from exercise for the remainder of my pregnancy. My new workout consisted of lifting the drumsticks of fried chicken I loved so much from the bucket to my mouth.
Joking aside, pregnancy is all about making modifications and adjustments to your lifestyle. Sometimes in really large ways and sometimes in really small ways. It really just depends on your unique situation. You don't necessarily have to drastically change anything in your third trimester, but here are nine precautions to consider in the home stretch.
1. Try To Avoid Long Car Rides Or Airplane Trips
Trying to get in one last trip before baby arrives? A getaway before the baby is born might be just what you need to relax and gear up for the changes ahead. Before you go, however, consider how far away you're traveling. According to Healthline, doctors permit pregnant women to travel by air until 32 to 34 weeks, unless you're at a high risk of premature labor. If your trip is a bit longer, consult with a doctor beforehand.
2. Be Sure To Do "Kick Counts"
Many doctors recommend that women set aside time every day to "count kicks," because decreased activity could mean that baby is in distress, as explained in the aforementioned Healthline article. A good technological tool to help you is the Count the Kicks app, which you can download for free on your smartphone. It has a place for you to record movements and it tracks the history of your baby's regular activity (so you can compare and contrast daily). Additionally, it has a feature that allows you to set up calendar or text reminders to tell you when it's time to count. Brilliant.
3. Try Not To Sleep On Your Back
It may be hard to find a comfortable position right now, but if you can try to stay off your back it's better in the third trimester. As explained in the aforementioned Healthline article, the weight of a pregnant woman's uterus can reduce blood flow to the uterus and fetus. Experts recommend that pregnant women in their third trimester sleep on their side if possible.
4. Be Mindful Of Swelling, Especially In The Hands And Face
Most pregnant women get pretty swollen, but if it feels excessive or concentrated on the hands and face you may want to call your doctor. According to the Mayo Clinic, swelling in those areas could be a sign of preeclampsia. Other symptoms of preeclampsia include high blood pressure, severe headaches, blurred vision, nausea or vomiting, or shortness of breath. If you experience any of these symptoms you're advised to call your doctor right away as preeclampsia can be life threatening.
5. Call Your Doctor If You Have Period-Like Cramps And Back Pain
If you're having period-like cramps and back pain, which may or may not be contractions before you're 37 weeks pregnant, you'll want to call your provider right away, as recommended on Parents. It could be a sign that you're experiencing pre-term labor. Even if you're a little bit confused as to whether you're feeling Braxton Hicks contractions or real ones, call and don't wait.
6. Make Sure You Can Still Work
Most women can work in their jobs up until their due dates, but some fields involve a lot of physical labor and exposure to certain toxins. Be sure to consult with your doctor about the start date for your maternity leave.
7. Skip Certain Sex Positions
For most pregnant women, sex is still allowed in the third trimester. You will just want to be mindful of the position. According to Parents, it's technically never safe for pregnant women to be on their backs including those last weeks leading up to delivery. Additionally, deep penetration might be a problem now so you may want to try positions where the woman is in control. The rule of thumb is if it doesn't feel good (or you feel pain), you need to stop. If you want to resume, try a different position. If you don't want to attempt again, that's fine too.
8. Exercise Is Great, But Certain Moves Are Not Safe
Keeping up with your fitness during pregnancy is highly encouraged. As long as your doctor approves and you feel comfortable, work it out. There are a few exercises that are not considered safe in the third trimester like jumping jacks or anything that requires the mother to be in a prone or supine position.
9. Don't Give Any F*cks About What People Will Say About Your Body
Many women throughout their pregnancies are subjected to their bodies being the source of judgement and conversation. It seems intensified in the third trimester, as if your growing belly becomes this magnet for other people's rude comments. However you plan to deal with that person is your choice, but I simply recommend that you give no f*cks about it. They're projecting their own fears and warped societal expectations on you, and quite honestly, you have better things to worry about than they're uninformed and negative B.S. You're growing eyeballs, legs, and brains so keep stepping and slaying.
The third trimester is filled with so many mixed emotions and a lot of anticipation. Your body is still changing and seemingly growing at an exponential rate. Being gentle and patient with yourself will help you have a happy and healthy pregnancy in the home stretch.