The third trimester. Often described as what feels like the longest. Well over halfway and due date is approaching.
Our guest blogger, Louise has kindly shared her experiences with us as she counts down to her due date. At the time of writing, she is 37 weeks and 3 days, month number 9.
How have you been feeling?
A lot has changed since the second trimester and sometimes I feel good and sometimes, less good. During the third trimester, you experience and feel a lot more when it comes to symptoms and hormones.
Today I am feeling pretty good as finally, James was able to join me at midwife appointments. Every day is different, it depends on how I’ve slept and what the weather is like. Like everyone else, if I sleep well I’m in a better mood. The last few weeks, however, my sleep is disturbed. This is due to tossing and turning with sore hips as well as the need to pee. I’m having weird dreams and generally being awake. Luckily, with disturbed night sleep, I usually get to lie in till 9 am, feeling more refreshed. When the weather is better, I enjoy sitting outside and making the most of the reading. Often, I just listen to the baby playlist which makes me feel relaxed and happy.
What has changed since the second trimester?
Since starting the third trimester, things have definitely kicked up a notch. I feel bigger and rounder which makes moving harder. Whether I am just turning over in bed, walking, going up and down the stairs it seems like a challenge. Even sitting on the sofa or at the kitchen table is becoming uncomfortable. On the sofa, I usually go through 3 or 4 positions during a movie. One of these positions includes bouncing on the pregnancy ball which is the most comfortable position at the moment. When sitting at the kitchen table, I can only sit as close as my bump will allow me to. Sometimes I wear a napkin tucked into my top to avoid getting food down me!
Some of the symptoms I am experiencing include; Heartburn, constipation and diarrhoea, heavy feet, sore finger joints and wind. Also, leg cramps, muscle pains in my back, sweating – honestly the list goes on and on. On the plus side, my hair is getting nice and long, my nails are strong and always look great. James has had to trim my toenails and paint them for me as there’s no way I can reach them.
What’s the best part about the third trimester?
That’s easy, feeling the baby move is just the most amazing experience. I first felt movement from week 19 and then James from week 24. I was more emotional when James felt movement. Baby’s movements in the third trimester are completely different and I’m feeling them daily. There are feeling a variety of movements, I’m noticing a routine and starting to realise what makes them move more. At my current 37 weeks, the baby is running out of space to move. The movements we feel are sometimes a Toblerone shaped elbow or knee out the left side. Also ripples of movement across the top. Baby likes to move after mealtimes especially but more so in the evenings.
James and I sit curled up on the sofa. His hand can then rest on my belly and he/she responds to his voice. They like to show off and do some gymnastics. I have luckily been able to record a few movements. However, the best thing was when James felt him/her move for the first time.
The baby playlist that I have is being enjoyed every other day. They like to ‘dance’ to familiar music and are a big fan of Capital FM. I have stopped playing the playlist daily because the music is getting on my nerves.
What’s the hardest part about the third trimester?
Hmmm, does this take into account lockdown etc?!
Regardless of the lockdown, the hardest part has just been the general symptoms you get with pregnancy. I have been really lucky with this pregnancy as I haven’t struggled with severe symptoms of any kind and really can’t complain much. I just hope that because things have been relatively easy-going during pregnancy, things continue to go smoothly after birth.
Lockdown sucks, It hasn’t been fun at all staying at home, staying in, not seeing friends and family. Also not being able to attend antenatal classes in person. I miss the gym and swimming too! I need to make the most of the quiet at home, before the storm of what’s to come. Luckily, since measures have been lifted , I have managed to be out more. I have attended the weekly food shop, walked into town and seen family members and friends but we have always been outside.
Getting out and about
Knebworth House was recommended to visit so we went with some friends and their kids had a blast walking around for hours. We enjoyed taking photographs and enjoying the fresh air. One thing I am disappointed about is not being able to see a lot of people during my first pregnancy. I always imagined seeing family and visiting friends and sharing the excitement of what James and I are going through. It’s sad that the last time I saw a lot of people, I wasn’t even pregnant and the next time I get to see them I’ll have a baby.
We decided to go out for dinner for a mini anniversary meal at a nearby restaurant. We may go out once more in the next month but we shall see.
I have been anxious about going out as being in the third trimester as I understand I am high-risk. James and I have made a joint decision to not go shopping together anymore. I do enjoy writing a very detailed shopping list with all my requests and he gets on with it. Sometimes surprising me with the posh apples and ice cream. He’s a keeper!
Exercise and keeping fit
I wanted to share with you my current exercise plan. Every day I do a prenatal workout via youtube. Bodyfit by Amy is a fantastic channel where there are plenty of videos for every trimester. Also for before pregnancy and after the baby has arrived. What I enjoy is that the workouts are short and she is pregnant during the videos. It’s nice to relate when you can’t reach as far or when body parts start to hurt. She is fantastic and would definitely recommend her videos. I don’t enjoy going for daily walks anymore. Instead, I make sure I do at least one workout a day and a few walks a week.
I can’t manage walking for as long without breaks and I always take snacks and water out with me. Continuing to eat healthily is important. I have officially put on more than 2 stone since the beginning of the pregnancy and I still have a few weeks to go. Having the odd nap during the week is helping too with my energy levels. I recently bought a pregnancy ball from Amazon which I am really enjoying bouncing on. It’s great for your hips amongst other things. Would definitely recommend getting one.
What have you been reading about in your third trimester?
Once again, a bit of everything! Being at home has given me lots of time to read, especially as I am getting slower and not going for walks everyday.
- I have continued with the books mentioned in the previous blogs. For example, about what week I am up to and how the baby is developing. We have got our nursery room exactly the way we want it and reading about do’s and don’ts in terms of nursery furniture positioning has been helpful.
- Packing the hospital bags, reading up on what to pack for the baby and being prepared
- Braxton hicks are something I experience very often during the day. Reading up about it has helped me understand what is happening, why it is happening. Also, what I can do to help how it makes me feel.
- My diet in the third trimester, if there are any foods more vital during these countdown weeks. My midwife did suggest eating dates in the last month of pregnancy. Apparently it helps to reduce the time in labour and makes the entire process easier. Also, only 200-300 extra calories should be eaten daily in this trimester.
What are you asking Google?
- I am constantly googling and asking questions about my symptoms. It’s good to feel reassured about the majority you read on there.
- I recently bought a baby massage book so it’s been eye-opening to read up on why certain areas of the body being massaged benefit the baby. There are several different techniques that you can use if they aren’t happy and it’s such a great bonding time.
- Since the last antenatal class which covered feeding, I feel very passionately about breastfeeding and giving it my best shot. I have read up on everything that comes under breastfeeding such as CHIN (Close, Head, Line, Nose) and ways you can help baby to latch and so on.
- Lastly, I’ve been reading up on how beneficial it is to introduce nuts into the system during pregnancy. As a result so have been reading/researching and baking recipes that include peanut butter. I’ve made banana, chocolate and peanut butter muffins as well as chocolate and peanut butter cookies and an M&M peanut rocky road.
How helpful are the antenatal classes?
We had originally booked our antenatal classes through Bump and Baby club who were in constant contact during lockdown. Unfortunately, it isn’t the same having a class via zoom with other couples and talking about breast vs bottle and other baby topics. We had 4 classes with them as the 5th one focused on baby and infant first aid which was cancelled.
The classes covered routine births, complicated births, life after birth and feeding. I can honestly say that the second class – complicated births, was the most traumatic. James had a headache from the amount of information that we covered about everything. And I couldn’t sleep due to visualising everything that could go wrong! They emailed us a very helpful 60-page pdf of everything we covered and it’s nice to refer back to these since the classes ended. I’m sure we will read up on things again before the baby arrives and afterwards too.
James and I would recommend antenatal classes to first time parents and those who want to refresh their knowledge about everything related to pregnancy and a newborn.
Contact with other expectant parents
Whatsapp groups have been set up with the other couples. We regularly chat about what’s bothering us, doughnut cravings, nursery room ideas and so on. It’s nice to virtually meet and be in touch with other mums who are local. Hopefully we get to meet in person at some point next year.
Another class we have recently attended is for hypnobirthing. A good friend of my parents offered to zoom chat and share her knowledge and experience of hypnobirthing with us. Originally it was not something we had given a second thought to as we thought it wasn’t for us. We learnt a fair bit and even though some aspects aren’t for us. The relaxing techniques, music and their philosophy is something we will keep in mind for the birthing experience.
Is there anything you still need to prepare?
To be honest, most things are finished. James and I recently spent a day moving furniture around the house so the nursery was less packed. We moved the rocking/feeding chair downstairs into the living room, moved the Moses basket into our bedroom and so on. We are very pleased with everything but obviously things may change once the baby has arrived.
Have you packed your hospital bag – what advice would you give to others?
Yes, we have 3 hospital bags packed. I have written a list several times of what I want to take with me. I like packing and repacking it at the moment. The final thing I need to add for my bag is the birth plan notes, the maternity folder and my outfit for coming home.
Baby’s bag has also been packed and repacked. I keep thinking, ‘I hope we have enough vests…I hope we have enough muslins…Do we have enough of this?’ Their bag is pretty much finished, we want to add a very special cuddly toy to take with us.
James’s bag, some men don’t take a bag but he has just packed a fresh T-shirt, toiletries to freshen up and some entertainment as well as all my snacks!! This all depends on whether James can stay at the hospital or not.
Advice for others – a few mums recommended I take a fan for when it gets hot and stuffy. Also, don’t forget socks as hospitals are dirty and when you’re not in the mood for shoes/sandals, socks are great. Take extra snacks as you never know how long things are going to take. Gum/mints, quite a few mums have said mints are a lifesaver as they freshen your breath. Oooh and vaseline, your lips go very dry during birth.
What are you worried about?
- I wouldn’t go as far as worried, it’s more excitement and anxiety about giving birth. It doesn’t matter how much you read up and feel prepared for with classes, you have to keep an open mind and be flexible for anything that comes your way.
- Breastfeeding and worrying that isn’t going to work and I will have to use bottles straight away.
- How tired James and I are going to be. I can imagine how emotional I am going to get and I worry that I may say things I don’t mean.
- I worry about the environment and the virus and when family and friends come to visit.
On a happier note, there are lots that we are looking forward to!
- Meeting our baby,
- Seeing James hold our baby,
- First skin to skin contact,
- Discovering whether our baby is a girl or boy,
- First time they grab your finger,
- Going home after the hospital,
- Introducing closest family members to the baby,
- Choosing a name,
And many many more!
Thank you – what an action-packed Third Trimester. We are getting excited to meet Baby Slater in the coming weeks and taking your photos for you 🙂