The end is in sight, you’re over halfway and you can now begin the countdown as you’ve reached the third trimester of your pregnancy. Towards the end of your pregnancy, your baby is gaining weight and maturing ready to be born, therefore your bump with noticeably grow week by week to accommodate little one. Your boobs continue to grow and it’s common to get swollen fingers and ankles/feet due to the increased volumes of blood and water in your system. So let’s take a look at what to focus on in the third trimester and how to get through the final weeks of pregnancy.
Start gathering your bits together as you begin the third trimester with the aim to have everything packed by 34-35 weeks.
If you haven’t already got classes booked, now is the time to get things sorted, antenatal classes may only take place once a month and often get booked up in advance, so do some research and get in touch with your chosen provider sooner rather than later. You can attend antenatal classes from anytime after 28 weeks, and HypnoBirthing classes like you to start around 30-32 weeks; this allows you to practice before labour to help you understand how it works and get the benefits of relaxation in late pregnancy. Options to consider are:
- your local NHS Trust classes.
- private classes run by local Midwives.
- HypnoBirthing classes.
- Ask your Midwife, other mums or search the internet to find out more. FEDANT is a Federation of Antenatal Educators so this is a good place to start too.
Your baby will move more and more up until 32 weeks and then the movements should stay roughly the same until you give birth. However, it is important to realise that during both day and night, your baby has numerous sleep periods where they don’t move; these can last between 20 and 40 minutes and are rarely longer than 90 minutes.
Don’t let people tell you that babies move less towards the end of pregnancy as they are getting ready to be born – this is a myth!
Reduced movements are the only way your baby can tell you that something is wrong so it’s important not to ignore it. Contact your maternity unit (you will have the phone numbers on your pregnancy notes) – they are open 24/7 so please don’t put off calling – they will see you at any time of day or night.
Kicks Count has an App to help you log and remember baby’s movements each day.
Antenatal Expressing Colostrum
Towards the end of pregnancy your body will start to produce colostrum ready for baby’s arrival, in fact some women find their breasts start to leak at some point in the weeks before baby’s birth (not everyone so panic not if you don’t have leaking breasts!) There is an option that some women like to explore and that is antenatal hand expressing of the colostrum; which should only be considered from 37 weeks. If you are planning to breastfeed the idea of a small stash of colostrum can be helpful if for some reason baby is not able to feed on your breast in the early days. Many women see this as a reassuring backup plan rather than having to give baby formula supplementation if things don’t quite go to plan. It’s also a great way to gain confidence in handling your breasts and the technique of hand expressing without any pressure of a hungry baby! Here’s a great article on antenatal expressing by the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers.
Relax and enjoy your pregnancy
Pregnancy can often be a time of great change with many couples deciding to do big DIY projects or even move house whilst their bumps are growing. Then there are all the preparations for the arrival with the nursery to decorate and all the equipment to buy; it’s a whirlwind of activity & expense!!
When it comes to maternity leave, it’s worth considering that babies can arrive anywhere from 37 weeks onwards without being classed as premature, so don’t leave it too late to finish work as it’s nice to have at least a week or so to focus on preparing yourself both mentally and physically for birth and life as a mum. As your due date is drawing close now is the time to relax and enjoy your pregnancy and the final weeks of just being a couple before baby arrives. Focus on what you enjoy doing together, because like it or not you won’t have the time or inclination to do these activities for a while after baby arrives. Get some dates booked in so the last few weeks are planned out to give you something to focus on rather than just the due date. Very few babies arrive on the due date so don’t pin all of your hopes on this date, in fact, book a pregnancy massage instead and go out for lunch with someone special to give you a gorgeous day of treats rather than being sat at home wondering when labour will start!
Prepare for the first week of Mama Hood
The first week of being a new Mama can fly by in the blur of sleepless nights so it’s worth using your final weeks of pregnancy to prepare in order to make life easier when the little one arrives. It’s a good idea to batch cook easy meals like pasta bakes, shepherd’s pie, casserole or lasagne and freeze so you can look forward to healthy home cooked food when you need it most; a good diet will help your body to heal and support your lactation.
Also, bulk buy staples like toilet roll and washing powder and keep some bread in the freezer and long life milk in the fridge. Yes, we have 24/7 shops available to us but when it’s hard to even get dressed in the early days, the last thing you need is running our something important!
Finally, think about what you will need to comfort and soothe you to aid your recovery from birth and support you into Mama Hood. We have a few options available for you such as “Pure Bliss” soothing compress solution or “Bottoms Up” soothing bottom spray, both have been developed to soothe soreness and ease the discomfort of your lady bits or C-section wound following birth. We also have “Bosom Buddies” breastfeeding oils which are perfect for the early days when you may encounter some issues. Visit our website to find out more information.
Thanks for reading
Jane – The Midwife x
For more blogs on pregnancy, birth and life as a new mum please visit www.naturalbirthingcompany.com/blogs/news
If you are unsure about anything or have any concerns whilst pregnant please speak to your Midwife.