For me personally the third trimester was the hardest of the three. I think this is mostly because I finally felt like I needed to slow down a bit and I am definitely not a “slow down and take it easy” kinda gal!
To be honest I really put up a good fight against slowing down, but at 30 weeks the tiredness you experience during the first trimester can really kick back in and force you to take a minute.
I used all my willpower to continue my work outs 2-3 times per week until I was 39 weeks pregnant, reducing the intensity down to doing long walks mixed with yoga classes and low impact hit training for the final two weeks. But this would often be all I could manage in a day and I would end up sitting in the sun with an iced coffee and a good book for the rest of the day. On the days I didn’t train I would tackle a little house work to get myself moving instead.
BRING ON THE Third trimester SYMPTOMS!
If you have escaped any major symptoms so far then you are one lucky lady… but brace yourself! Even though I had such an enjoyable pregnancy from start to finish and rarely complained, I did turn into a bit of a “Moaning Mertle” from 35 weeks pregnant onwards. There is no way you can grow a tiny human to full term and not really start to ‘feel it’ in the final month or two. But I genuinely really enjoyed seeing my bump get bigger, and feeling my baby’s kicks getting stronger.
Here are a few symptoms that affected me personally during my third trimester…
- Heart Burn – Now I did mention this symptom during my second trimester blog post but it can ramp up further during the final trimester and that is what happened to me. I really had to pay attention to what I was eating to avoid it flaring up.
- Rib pain – This was the only symptom that really got me down. Baby River’s feet were tucked up like a little buddha underneath my ribs, so therefore my ribs had to move out of the way and widen quite significantly as he grew. This caused a constantly strong dull ache in my ribs followed by sharp pain that could go on for quite some time when he would wake up for a wriggle. If you suffer from this my advice would be to see a pregnancy specialist chiropractor to help ease the pain. Try using a cold compress on the area to encourage baby to wriggle down away from the cold spot giving you some temporary relief. When it get’s too sore try to get yourself moving, when you move it encourages baby to move too and sometimes that little adjustment makes all the difference. I’m not going to lie, rib pain is super jarring to deal with but as soon as River was born the pain was instantly gone and it was all worth while
- Piles – For some reason I got really worried about this happening to me during pregnancy. I think because I had heard that the only way to get rid of piles is to have an operation, therefore the recovery would be out of my control. Full transparency; I have one fookin bastard pile that I noticed at around 37 weeks pregnant! No, I’m not happy about it Lol, but I can live with it, it doesn’t bother me at all and me and Tony laugh about it as I was so determined not to get them.
- Back Ache – It is no surprise that with carrying around an extra stone or two your back will begin to twinge or ache on a daily basis. Mine hurt the most when I was in the car driving or sitting in the same spot for too long. Tony treated me to an awesome electric massage machine that really helped relieve some of the tension. Perhaps you could treat yourself to a pregnancy massage to help with the problem and also to give yourself some “me time” in the run up to your little one’s arrival.
- Thrush – So this was a new one for me, pre pregnancy I had never once suffered with thrush however during my third trimester I had it twice. This is caused by hormonal changes and is easily treatable with over the counter creams. But be wary you can pass it onto your partner so no sexy time until it has gone. To be on the safe side both of you should use the treatment.
- Constipation – I mean isn’t this list just dreamy Lol … Yep so this one wasn’t ideal, when everyone tells you that pushing a baby out is like pushing out a huge poo and you start to struggle to do that you genuinely start to panic. I mean how am I going to push a baby out when I can’t even push out a damn poo Lol. For me a big bowl of fruit would do the trick, failing that prune juice is tried and tested!
These were my personal list of third trimester pains in the ass (literally). But the third trimester can come with many other symptoms such as swelling, head aches, stretch marks, urine infections, oily & spotty skin, dizzyness, trouble sleeping.
I think with this phase of pregnancy yes the symptoms start to ramp up, but the thing that made it all okay was that I was on the home stretch. I wasn’t that far from meeting my little bean. I kept reminding myself to try to enjoy the slower pace whilst I could, even if slowing down isn’t my normal vibe.
pelvic floor training
Pelvic floor training was something I took very seriously during pregnancy. At 8 weeks pregnant I went to see a women’s physiotherapist to get an assessment on the strength of my pelvic floor and a measurement for my abdominal muscles. This allowed me to know exactly where my pelvic floor strength was at as a starting point. I really upped the regularity of my exercises during my third trimester. Both my mum & my aunt suffered with post birth bladder problems and it played on my mind heavily during my pregnancy so I did my best to avoid the same fate. I started off with gently focusing on my pelvic floor more during my yoga classes. Then I started doing a daily squeeze workout, but to be honest I would often forget to do it! However, just before lockdown I went to ‘The Baby Show’ in London where I discovered a new brand called Elvie; they make breast pumps and also pelvic floor trainers. The pelvic floor trainer is genius and it worked really well for me. It a small soft egg that you insert into your vagina, it connects to an app on your phone that takes you through a 5 minute work out that gets harder over time as you built strength and control. It logs your progress on the app so that you can track how you are doing. It was great for me as I would take the time to go somewhere private and quiet to do my work outs without distraction, where as before when I was just doing my squeezes randomly throughout the day it would often end up with me being distracted or not completing my pelvic floor training goal. Instead I would end up answering that whatssap message or forgetting I was even doing it.
I would say my pelvic floor was very strong towards the end of my pregnancy, tracking my progress allowed me to be confident I had prepared enough for delivering my baby. But, due my long pushing phase during birth, unfortunately it still caused some damage to my pelvic floor and bladder. I cant imagine what state I would be in had I not done any work at all on my pelvic floor during pregnancy.
The third trimester is definitely the time to embrace the bump! The female body is absolutely incredible… I loved the experience of watching my belly grow week by week and I was in awe of seeing my baby poke his little limbs out through my skin for a stretch every day. I was very keen to have a pregnancy photoshoot at around 37 weeks when my bump was a good size and I still felt a little sexy and hadn’t quite hit the “feeling like a whale” stage yet. I booked my first shoot with Anna Fowler as she is a photographer who’s work I have always admired seeing on Instagram. Then I was blessed enough to have two photographers ask to shoot me as well. The first was Lazara Storm from Zips & Jpegs who captured some amazing images in our home of both me and Tony. Secondly Amanda Akokhia who captured some stunning images for me in her studio. Each shoot had a different look and feel, so I ended up with three separate shoots that I can always look back on remember how special it was to be carrying my son for 9 months and how happy Tony and I were during my pregnancy.
I would definitely recommend booking a professional photoshoot if you can! But if you cant afford it then don’t fret as you can take some beautiful images on your phone these days. Take your time to do your hair and make up properly, find a room at home with great natural light or get out into your garden or a beautiful lavender field and snap away. You can play with floaty fabric with a fan on you, get some underwear pics with you caressing your bump. I promise you, you wont regret documenting this moment in your pregnancy and having pretty images for you to look back on.
The other thing we did to document my bump was a belly cast. Tony and I did it together and we both got really into it, giggled a lot and made a mess, so it was a lovely intimate thing for us to do together. You can order the kits online, they only take about an hour to do and the end result is pretty cool!
Whether you intend to breast feed or not it is said that Colostrum harvesting is a must if you want your baby to get that liquid gold goodness and the best start in life. I started harvesting when I was 37 weeks pregnant, it isn’t recommended to do it any sooner as it can induce labour.
I have to say I found this task to be a two man job… and one that Tony and I giggled about the first few times whilst we tried to master the collection technique!
In my personal opinion colostrum harvesting is a must! It contains vital properties that develop your babies immune system and helps to colonise the baby’s gut with healthy bacteria that protect against allergy and disease.
It contains the ideal balance of proteins, fats and micronutrients needed for babies as well as acting as a laxative to help the passing of the first tarry meconium poops!
How to hand express:
- To start wash your hands before expressing or you can have a hot shower, a warm bath or apply a warm flannel compress to your breast to help the flow of colostrum.
- Get comfy… I would always like to sit on the sofa with a cushion behind my back.
- Start with a gentle breast massage, stroking from the back of your breast towards the nipple to encourage the let-down reflex.
- Next you will put your thumb above the nipple and your first few fingers below the nipple. You will be cupping the breast in a ‘C’ shape.
- With your thumb and fingers, feel a few centimetres back from the nipple.
- Press back towards your chest, then compress (press your fingers together), and release.I would also get successful production from giving a gentle squeeze either side of my nipple.
- Repeat this process, building up a rhythm. Press, compress, release.
- Get your partner to collect the colostrum using a sterile syringe (Amazon).
- Next store them in the freezer ready for taking them to the hospital with you when you go into labour.
- You tube has plenty of useful videos demonstrating this technique in more detail so have a look online.
I’m not going to lie it feels super time consuming for not much reward! On some days it would take me 40 minutes just to produce 0.3 mls. However, once River was born on days one to three, I continued to hand express colostrum in between feeds and at this point I was filling the syringe to the top which was a lot more rewarding. We took five syringes from the freezer to the hospital with us when I went into labour. Tony gave them to River whilst I was getting some post birth medical attention, so they really came in handy. Overall my advice is persevere with the colostrum harvesting and anything you can collect is amazing for your baby so it is totally worth it.
The third trimester is when shit gets real and you start to think to yourself “Holy shit i’ve actually got to get this baby out of my body”. This happened to me when we had around 8 weeks to go. This can be quite an overwhelming thought and fear can take a hold of you real quick! Try not to spiral out of control, in fact I actively did the opposite. I took control of my fear and I was pro-actively and deliberately positive.
I watched positive birth videos on Instagram, read my birth plan with Tony, I practiced my hypnobirthing breathing techniques, did some yoga and meditation. But one of my biggest tips is… print off some of your favourite birth affirmations and stick them onto your fridge door so that you see them every single day. Just reading those reassuring and positive little quotes every time I popped to the fridge (which was often Lol) helped me to feel more prepared on a subconscious level. I also put a print out in my hospital bag and during labour whenever I said something a little negative such as “I cant do this” Tony would reply with the appropriate affirmation to steer me back on track. It turned out he had also been learning them from seeing them on the fridge and he was equipped to help me stay focused and positive on the day.