All About the Third Trimester
Our guide to the exciting last third of pregnancy
With your due date finally just around the corner, you’re eager to hold that baby in your arms—and maybe nervous about giving birth, too. You enter the third trimester filled with energy, but as your body continues to grow and change, you may start to feel tired and experience new aches and pains. How much bigger can I get? you wonder. Let’s face it: You get a tad tired of being pregnant. But there are plenty of things to do to keep your mind off of your expanding figure and the annoyances that come with it. Just follow our guide to the exciting last third of pregnancy, weeks 29–40.
As you head into the final stretch, remember to keep eating right and exercising so that your baby gains the proper amount of weight and you’re in the best possible shape for labor and delivery.
You should gain one pound a week. To do this, get 300 extra calories a day from one serving each of protein and carbohydrate foods, advises Kelly Kullick, R.D., a personal trainer and the Atlanta-based owner of HealthyMoms, LLC. You may feel full halfway through meals because your uterus is pressing on your stomach. Kullick’s solution: “I recommend six to eight smaller meals a day rather than three big ones.” Keep in mind that you still need prenatal vitamins, at least eight glasses of water a day and 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily.
As long as you’re not at risk for delivering a preterm baby, exercise is safe in the third trimester. But if you’re used to doing moderate- or high-impact exercise, discuss with your doctor or midwife whether you should continue your routine, says Lisa Stone, a certified pre- and postnatal fitness specialist and president of Fit For 2 Inc., a fitness program for pregnant women and new moms in Atlanta. Avoid lifting heavy weights, as they can put too much stress on tendons and ligaments, which become more relaxed late in pregnancy. Whatever your exercise level, scale back if you feel dizzy or lightheaded and try prenatal yoga classes or brisk walking instead. “Pay attention to your body’s signals,” Stone says. “They’ll let you know when you’re overdoing it. “Keeping up abdominal and back exercises is important to help with postural changes and stability,” she adds, “and to keep your body strong after the baby’s born, when you’ll have a lot of lifting to do.” Since doing crunches on your back is not safe, switch to standing pelvic tilts or lying on your side or on your hands and knees; concentrate on bringing your navel toward your spine.
Feeling uncomfortable and going to the bathroom a lot at night can leave you tired. Use a body pillow when sleeping and limit your liquid and food intake after 6 p.m. To combat fatigue during the day, take a five-minute break every hour. Sit back, relax, do deep-breathing exercises or take a walk to rejuvenate yourself.
Sex and orgasms are generally safe unless you’re at risk for preterm labor, but intercourse may begin to be uncomfortable. Now’s a good time for you and your partner to experiment with alternate positions, such as lying on your sides.