The third trimester may seem like the longest part of pregnancy to some women...I can definitely say that it has crawled, mostly because we are anticipating our little one SO much. There are some uncomfortable changes happening in your body as you prepare, make space and shift for delivery. You're also extremely tired and irritable as hormones shift. You might also be grimacing as you hear about terms and items such as "mucus plug", "padsicles", "sits bath", "stool softeners" etc...it's actually quite horrifying to think about. Some women are also experiencing lots of water retention...leakage (fluids in general), difficulty sleeping, and a constant pain under your ribs as your babe shoves his or her feet under there! I have also developed carpel tunnel in my right hand/wrist from swelling and pressure...causing numbness and pain throughout the day in those locations. I can see how women get restless and irritable during this phase of pregnancy, so I wanted to share 6 of my favourite outlets to keep a positive, patient mind and body during the final stretch!!
1. Stay Active!
I am not going to pretend that I have been on top of working out in this last trimester, but I do make sure that I incorporate physical activity. Staying active helps to keep my body strong and my mind positive, so I try to move every day depending on my energy levels and how I feel.
I focus on three options: Workout, Stretching and Walking. Again, based on how I feel that day, I will choose one of these options. It's important to be compassionate with yourself, and know what your limits are that day. If I have lots of energy and I am restless I will do a workout. My workout of choice is Tracy Anderson's Pregnancy Project. If you aren't sure who Tracy Anderson is, just look at Gwyneth Paltrow's body, and know that Tracy is responsible for that! Tracy has been training Gwyneth for years, and her technique is developed to form long lean muscles (yes please). I have been working out using Tracy's videos and workout programs for years, and when I discovered I was pregnant I was eager to dive in to her Pregnancy Project, which is a series of Free workout videos for each month of pregnancy! You can find the entire series broken into months on Youtube. The videos are about an hour long, and they include a warm up, workout and stretch. As you get further along in the pregnancy her workouts become modified for your current physical changes and limitations. Bottom line: Check out these videos! All you need is a set of 3-5 lb weights, a mat and a chair! These videos have kept me feeling strong, and have prevented muscle loss.
I also try to walk as much as possible. Up until recently (I am now 38 weeks), I took my dog for an hour walk each day, choosing a route that will challenge me when I need that extra output. Our pup is quite big and her sudden movements and pulls have become too much, so now I try to get out on my own or with my husband when I can. One helpful tool that has allowed me to walk for longer periods of time is my belly harness, which is essentially a support belt that wraps around my waist and holds my belly/the baby up to prevent lots of weight pulling on my body. I got this band from my local pharmacy for $60, and although it is a bit pricey, I wear it multiple times throughout the week, and it has prevented a lot of back pain.
Finally....Stretch!! Our Relaxin hormone increases dramatically in the final trimester, which loosens up your ligaments and muscles, so be gentle when you stretch! I like to bounce on a medicine ball and bend from side to side loosening up and slowly moving my muscles to get a slight stretch. On days where walking and working out seems like a daunting task, it feels good to find a quiet spot in the house and just move slowly and gently to prevent stiff and sore muscles.
One of the hardest parts for me during this pregnancy is learning how to slow down. I am, by nature, a goer...I like to move, and I feel uncomfortable when I have been sitting in one place for too long. However, as I moved towards the third trimester, I started to feel the effects of overdoing it. Between working in the classroom, restless nights and a lot on my plate, I reached a point where my body just started to hurt, and it screamed for rest.
Now that I am off of work, I have tried to really focus on slowing down, compartmentalizing "Must" tasks and tasks that could be spread out over the week to lighten the daily load. I suggest taking your agenda for the week, and...if possible, spread it as thin as you can over the course of multiple days. Use the time you have created to do what your body needs, and try to sneak in rest! One thing I have forced myself to consider (when it comes to rest) is that I can't get caught up on strict hours...to sleep when I Can. For example, on nights that I got Zero sleep due to Braxton Hicks, Numbness from Carpel Tunnel, Restless legs etc, I felt the need to get up to start my day that morning. When you are off work (I realize that many women will have to adjust this if they work until the very end), try not to get too caught up with regular hours. I felt guilty about sleeping throughout the day if I didn't sleep at night..but really, Now is the time!! Get your rest if you CAN!
In the third trimester, baby is taking up so much space that your stomach feels like it is about the size of an apple...and the feeling of being overly full can be quite uncomfortable. I have really adjusted my diet patterns in order to ensure I am fueling enough throughout the day. I found myself going hours without eating if I was out and about getting errands done..which would leave me feeling drained and guilty! So small meals throughout the day, and packing light snacks when you're going out is key! My breakfasts are pretty carb heavy to get my body going and ready for the day, and usually consists of either toast and eggs, oatmeal and berries, or a bowl of gluten free cereal with lots of healthy grains and seeds. For snacks I like to pack fruit, granola bars, nuts or a protein smoothie. Lunch and Dinner haven't been big meals, and I basically try to get in a carb, some greens and some form of protein...However I haven't been able to eat any meat during the pregnancy so I do what I can!! One of my favourite quick meals is a baked sweet potato with loads of sauteed peppers on top, and a dollop of mashed avocado! Bottom line, make sure you are keeping your energy levels up and feed that little growing bean with lots of nutritious options!
Making your baby's nursery a warm, comforting nest is crucial. I wanted to create a cozy feel for our little girl so that every time she wakes up and looks around, she is surrounded by warmth.
It was also important for us to stay fairly gender neutral. Although we know we are having a girl, I did not want to impose stereotypical "girl" colours on her.
As I mentioned, the idea behind the design of the nursery was a comfortable nest, but it was also meant to be practical and cost efficient. I created a layout of the nursery on the "paint" program on my computer and started adding in items and ideas that I loved within the dimensions of the room. From this image I was able to budget. I thought about some of the bigger items, decor and necessities, and from this list I started looking on Kijiji, at Value Village, the Salvation Army and in mommy groups to save some of our budget!! Stay tuned for a full post about our nursery and how we put it together on a small budget.
Bottom line, spend time nesting, creating your baby's space, doing his or her laundry and organizing...it has been so nice to prepare for our little one, and just fills me with joy.
I won't spend a lot of time discussing decluttering, but it just feels so good to clear space in your home before the baby comes. Once the baby arrives, life (I would imagine) becomes a tad overwhelming, and having messy closets, drawers, cabinets and other spaces will just add to the chaos. There are all sorts of "30 days of decluttering" programs that you can find on Pinterest, but what I find to be easiest is this:
-Start on one side of the house and move room by room until you have covered every space!
-Separate items into bags or boxes according to where they will be going...Trash? Sell? Giveaway? Donate? Pack Away?
Purging just brings space into your life, and makes room for organizing baby items (double bonus)
The final outlet for maintaining a positive mind and spirit during the third trimester is Nurturing Yourself!
As much as there is to do, there is nothing more important than taking care of yourself and the little one growing bigger and stronger in your belly.
A few suggestions for nurturing your body:
-Take epsom salts baths! Relax your body, unwind, and absorb the benefits of magnesium (also helps with the muscle spasms that occur frequently during the third trimester)
-Read! I love filling my brain with information about pregnancy, birth and raising a happy, healthy baby. Whatever fills you with inspiration and happiness...read that! It's nice to sit quietly and tune out with a good book...It will be a while before your hours are stable enough to sit and read once the babe comes, so use this quiet time to drift into some literature
-Throughout my pregnancy I have also been doing prenatal massages and chiropractic treatments. Taking care of my body's aches and pains is a top priority for me...and I highly suggest that you look into your alignment, pressure points and tight muscles. Don't live with pain and discomfort, give it a try if you haven't already.
The main point here is that you need to take care of yourself...Listen to your body, it will tell you what you need most!
To wrap things up...it's Such an exciting time! Try out these tips if you are feeling like you are struggling or losing your positive frame of mind. Be compassionate with yourself, and understand that it is OKAY to feel fed up or discouraged! Your body is working very hard. You are almost there...I Am almost there, and before you know it your little one will be in your arms! In the meantime, honour your body's needs...Rest when you need to, Move when you need to, Fill up on Nutrient dense foods, Create your dream nursery, Declutter and last but Certainly not least...Nurture yourself!! I send you lots of love as you wrap up this journey and prepare for a whole new adventure!!
Hi! My name is Amber, I am a wife and mother to Piper June. Welcome to my blog. You will find my path towards natural health and wellness as well as my honest discoveries as a new mother. In all aspects of life, I strive to cultivate Balance through a mindful existence. I share my experiences as a mother, helpful product reviews and companies that I am passionate about for our family. I am so grateful for your visit xo