The third trimester of pregnancy can bring mixed emotions to any woman. Finally, having reached the home stretch makes you feel excited to meet your little one, yet the remaining few weeks of carrying your baby inside can also feel particularly overwhelming and challenging—especially when you don’t know what to do!
During such time, your body will undergo a lot of changes, as if it hasn’t changed enough already! Aside from having to experience backaches, contractions, breast enlargement, heartburn, swelling, and fatigue, you still have to deal with keeping your pregnancy as healthy as possible to prepare you and your baby for the big day.
It’s normal to feel a roller coaster of emotions at this stage, but knowing what to expect can put your mind at ease and get you on the right track.
Record fetal kick counts
Starting at week 28 of your pregnancy, your doctor or midwife may advise you to start doing fetal kick counts. In addition to regular antenatal checkups, this is an easy way to keep tabs on your baby’s well-being and how much he or she is moving. Even the simple act of sparing time each day to count your baby’s kicks, rolls, or jabs can help prevent stillbirth and identify other existing problems.
There are various ways on how to count your baby’s movements, but the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends recording the amount of time it takes for you to count 10 kicks, rolls, swishes, or flutters. Feeling 10 movements within 2 hours is the least you should be noticing. In case you have not felt as much after trying for the second time, it’s time to call your midwife.
Be on a lookout for your health
At this stage of pregnancy, it is important that you start packing yourself up with plenty of iron-rich food to help in producing red blood cells. Since your baby is going to take iron reserves from your body, it is important that you don’t run short by the time you have your delivery. Get your iron sources from leafy greens, fortified cereal, lean meat, and other healthy food. Having a glass of orange juice right after your meals can also help your body to effectively absorb iron. If you still feel you need a top up Spatone is a great supplement that can be added to orange juice for maximum impact.
During the third trimester, your body will need all the energy that it can get to support your baby’s growth at this stage, so it is essential to start eating well and taking plenty of rest.
Stretch your muscles
Loosen up your body in preparation for birth by stretching some muscles. Not only does exercising throughout pregnancy help you control your weight gain and keep your cardiovascular fitness in tiptop condition, it also helps ease pregnancy aches and pains and ultimately prepare you for labor and delivery. The key is to do things in moderation and in a safe manner.
There are various exercises and routines that can safely be done by pregnant women in their third trimester. Walking is one of the best ways to exercise when you’re pregnant. Swimming can also be therapeutic for pregnant women who are experiencing body pains during their pregnancy. Other possible exercises to try are yoga, pilates, and even body weight workouts. Just make sure to get a go-signal from your doctor or midwife before doing any of these routines.
Pack your hospital bag
Some women make the mistake of not packing their hospital bag until late in their pregnancy, but the truth is, your delivery may not exactly fall on your due date. Don’t wait until your water breaks before dashing to collect your things.
Some of the items that you can pack for labour and delivery are a dressing gown, slippers, socks, some lotion or massage oil, lip balm, pillows, a going-home outfit, and any particular item that will help you relax, like a book or some music. Of course, don’t forget to bring your birth plan and other important paperwork too! Meanwhile, pack your baby’s essentials, such as sleepsuits, blankets, nappies, hat, jacket, and an outfit for the trip home.
Have more frequent checkups
As you get nearer your due date, you will be advised to visit your doctor or midwife more frequently. You may be asked to undergo certain tests, to ensure your baby’s health.
One test carried out in the US is called the nonstress test , a noninvasive procedure that measures your baby’s heart rate in response to his or her movements. For this test, a Doppler device is strapped across your abdomen to record your baby’s heart rate. Meanwhile, another device, known as the toco transducer, is attached to measure your uterine contractions. Ideally, your baby’s heart rate should increase with activity. If this isn’t the case for you, you may be asked to repeat the test or advised to undergo an additional procedure for confirmation. This is basically the same as what we have in the UK but it isn’t routine in the same way.
The third trimester might be the most exciting stage in your pregnancy. Aside from completing this checklist and making sure that your baby is healthy, remember to relish each moment and make the most out of it before your little one arrives!