Pregnancy- what they don’t tell you! Part 3: The third trimester
ah nearly there, the end is in sight! from 27 till 37/42 weeks it’s the final stretch. And of course this is the one where you will defiantly be pregnant!
Constant toilet trips
Hello bladder. Have you been practising your pelvic floor? No? Get on it now, the Squeezy app is great and developed by physiotherapists. Not only will they (hopefully) help you get to the toilet when baby stamps on your bladder, but they also have a role in labour as well. You really want to be practising strengthening and relaxing them at this stage. Add in with some breath work and your good to go!
Don’t touch me!
If you haven’t had this already be prepared. There seems to be an unwritten rule that makes it ok to touch a bump without asking. I hated being touched so used to get my best evil eyes on to deter people from touching me. It’s fine to tell people no, it’s also fine to show your bump off and ask if they can feel movements. Do what is best for you.
Couldn’t breath in the first trimester and now chances are your diaphragm and lungs are being squished by a baby. Brilliant. With the baby getting bigger your organs get pushed up and back. This means its harder for your diaphragm to descend, less space in your stomach, say hello to reflux and less space for food. Oh and needing the toilet more!
This means you can expect to get out of breath quick, so take your time. It also means that smaller more regular meals might be better to avoid reflux. Avoid eating too close to laying down or bed time, and getting acquainted with Gaviscon if you can take it.
If you have made it this far, well done you! You may well be starting to feel pregnant now, aches and pains are common, as are lack of energy, shortness of breath and swelling.
These can all be helped with exercise (0f course) with all of these but don’t beat yourself up if it’s no longer an hour slog in a Spin class. Certainly as you head into and past 30 weeks, there is a big change in the weight of you bump. The placenta alone weighs around 1kg! Remember that free swimming? Now is the time to take advantage, water can help to take the weight of the bump, which can be a real relief. Walking and doing other exercise in the water can also feel great because of the support the water gives. But you could also just swim!
Pilates and yoga also come into their own here too, as they are generally much more gentle and easily modifiable to your needs. Plus they keep you supple, moving and strong particularly good for supporting lower backs and pelvises. However using weights and doing some cardio is also absolutely fine here.
As for the swelling, get those feet moving and up when your resting. Pumping the ankles up and down, circles can help get the blood flowing again reduce the swelling. Being dehydrated will actually cause you to retain water, so keep that bottle of water close and take regular sips.
Ok don’t get freaked out here! There is only so much stretch your body can do to accommodate the baby bump. To allow more space the two six pack muscles will move away from each other as the linea alba (connective tissue between them) stretches. This is normal and 100% of women from 30 weeks onwards will experience some degree of this. It’s nothing normal to worry about, and not really something to be actively looking to change until post birth.
However if you notice a ‘coning’ of the tummy walls, that’s a sign there is too much pressure in those abdominals and we really want to avoid that. Getting out of the bath or from a slouched position on the sofa will usually bring this on. There is no other way of doing these tasks so just take note of what it looks and feels like and try not to recreate it in other ways. If however you notice its happening all the time or have real back pain, go and have a word with the GP or a physiotherapist who might be able to recommend a belt or other support or exercise to add more support to the tummy.
Pelvic or back pain
Oh yes I know all about these, my PGP started around 18 weeks- much earlier than usual and I hated the physio I was given, but I’m more complicated than most. If you find there is pain around the front or back of the pelvis, particularly if it suddenly comes on whilst doing something like getting out of the car, its time for a physiotherapist. Even if you 34 weeks, push for it. There is lots that can be done from massage, to exercise, to support belts but it’s important to get an assessment to know which one to try first. You don’t have to stop exercising, but be more mindful of what your body feels happiest with and work within you comfort zone.
Yep the feeling like a greasy, beached whale who can’t breath. Fantastic! By this stage I was just about walking on the treadmill, the rower and bike were too uncomfortable and stair master would have killed me, but got to keep that blood pumping! Do what your body can and just move. In classes, take regular breaks if you need it and work in a range that feels good for you. You may need to make modifications as your bump gets bigger but that’s okay.
Still doing spin class? Crack on! If your still pregnant and exercising at 41 weeks, there is nothing wrong with it! As long as you medical team are fine with it and you feel up to it that’s great. You can even exercise during contractions if you really want to. Check out this video of lady dancing during labour! Just double check the instructor or gym is ok with you having contractions first! Braxton hicks are also fine to work though. The main point to remember is too keep cool, hydrated and not over exert.
You know your body best, listen to it and move it.