Congratulations! You’ve made it to the third trimester of your pregnancy, which means you’re getting closer and closer to meeting your little one. This is an exciting time, but it can also be a little overwhelming. You may be wondering what to expect during the third trimester and how to prepare for childbirth and postpartum recovery. In this article, we’ll explore some key things to keep in mind as you prepare for this next phase of your pregnancy.
When does the third trimester start?
The third trimester is the final stage of pregnancy, which typically starts around week 28 and lasts until the baby is born. This stage is marked by significant changes in a woman’s body as the baby continues to grow and develop. During this time, the baby’s organs mature and prepare for life outside the womb. It’s important to note that every pregnancy is different, so some women may experience symptoms earlier or later than others.
Preparing for labor and delivery
Preparing for labor and delivery is an important part of your third trimester. Here are some things you can do to get ready:
Participate in a birth preparation class: A birth preparation class can help you feel more confident and equipped for labor and delivery. You can learn breathing techniques, relaxation exercises, pain-management strategies, and more. It is recommended to attend a class early in your third trimester, so you have ample time to practice what you learn.
Consider birth plan options: A birth plan is a document outlining your preferences for labor and delivery, such as pain-management choices, who will be present, and what interventions you are comfortable with. It is a good idea to discuss your birth plan with your healthcare provider and consider all options to help you make informed decisions.
Preparing for the possibility of vaginal tears
Preparing for the possibility of vaginal tears (vaginal delivery) can help you feel more confident and less anxious about delivery. Here are some things you can do:
Practice perineal massage: Perineal massage is part of your perineal preparation. It involves gently massaging the area between your vaginal opening and anus to help stretch and prepare the tissue for delivery. This can reduce the risk of tearing and the need for an episiotomy. Perineal massage is shown to reduce postpartum pain too.
Discuss tearing and episiotomy: When you learn about the possibility of tearing and episiotomy with your healthcare provider you’ll get guidance on how to minimize the risk of tearing, and information about when an episiotomy might be necessary.
Taking care of yourself
Taking care of yourself is important during your third trimester. Here are some things you can do to stay healthy and comfortable:
Practice prenatal yoga: Prenatal yoga can help you stay active and relaxed during your third trimester. It can also help prepare your body for labor and delivery by strengthening your pelvic floor muscles, improving flexibility, and reducing stress.
Consider hypnobirthing: Hypnobirthing is a childbirth method that emphasizes relaxation, visualization, and self-hypnosis techniques to reduce pain and promote a calm and peaceful birth experience. Many women find hypnobirthing helpful for coping with labor pain and anxiety.
Take care of your mental health: Pregnancy and childbirth can be emotionally challenging, and it’s important to reduce any stress during pregnancy. Consider talking to a therapist or counselor, joining a support group for expectant mothers, and practicing self-care techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or taking a warm bath.
Keep a balanced diet: A healthy and balanced diet for the third trimester includes a variety of foods from all food groups and plenty of water. Adequate nutrition during this stage helps ensure the baby’s growth and development and can also help prevent complications such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. It’s also essential to keep track of weight gain during the third trimester, as excessive weight gain can increase the risk of complications during delivery.
Pack your birth bag: It is a good idea to pack your hospital birth bag by following a maternity checklist a few weeks before your due date, so you are prepared for a sudden trip to the hospital. Be sure to include essentials such as comfortable clothing, toiletries, snacks, and your birth plan.
Learn what happens after the baby is born (the fourth trimester): It’s important to learn about what the physical and emotional changes you may experience after giving birth. This includes information on postpartum recovery, breastfeeding, and how to care for the newborn. Understanding what to expect can help ease any anxiety or uncertainty and can also help you better prepare for the challenges ahead. Learning about postpartum care and newborn care has mental-health benefits, too. Why not help you feel more empowered and confident in your ability to care for yourself and your baby after birth?
Prepare for labor and take care of you in the third trimester
The third trimester is a time to focus on preparing for labor and delivery, as well as taking care of yourself. By attending a birth preparation class, practicing perineal massage with the right oil, and considering your birth plan options, you can feel more confident and equipped for the birth of your baby. Remember to also take care of your physical and mental health by practicing prenatal yoga, considering hypnobirthing, and packing your birth bag.