Third Trimester | Fit Pregnancy

Third Trimester

Kick Counts


Movement is an excellent indicator of a fetus's well-being, and doing a kick count not only helps you feel confident that your baby is healthy, it also yields helpful information for your doctor. It's easy to do:Simply choose the time of day when your baby is most active and count his kicks (or pokes or roll-arounds). You should be able to detect about 10 movements within an hour; they may all happen within a few minutes, or they may go on throughout the hour. Note that the intensity of movement may change with time due to the fetus's constricted space.

Group B Strep


Your doctor is referring to a test that is routinely given to all women between weeks 35 and 37 of pregnancy. The procedure involves swabbing your vagina and rectum and examining the secretions for the presence of Group B streptococcus (GBS).

Dog Meets Baby


First, help your dog become accustomed to seeing--and smelling--your son's clothes and toys by leaving these items around the house before you bring the baby home from the hospital. When you do come home, bring a cloth diaper with the baby's scent on it and let Babe sniff it before you bring the baby into the house. Then one parent should hold your son while the other greets and hugs your dog. After that, gently introduce Babe to the baby.

Prenatal Exercises


If you're not having any complications, you can and should exercise every day for about 30 minutes, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. You can exercise at a similar intensity to your prepregnancy level as long as you stay well-hydrated and avoid overheating. A good rule of thumb is to not increase intensity or duration beyond what you are used to doing so you don't overexert yourself. Stop immediately if you feel lightheaded or have contractions or bleeding. Using the "talk test" is an easy way to monitor your intensity while exercising.

Why Exercise Abs?


While doing abdominal exercises now won't give you abs of steel, they will strengthen your core (and back) and make you aware of all the muscles you will use during the pushing phase of labor. Strengthening your core muscles also can help relieve pregnancy-related back pain.

No Lying on Back?


After your first trimester, lying supine (on your back) can cause your enlarged uterus and baby to compress your vena cava, the major vessel that returns blood to your heart. This reduces the amount of blood your heart has to pump back out, which can lower your blood pressure and reduce blood flow to the placenta, Shashoua explains. It also can cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded or nauseated.

Staying Hydrated


"There's a big link between dehydration and uterine contractions," Shashoua says. "The hormone released during dehydration is very similar to one that causes contractions." He says experiencing contractions is the most common reason pregnant women stop exercising, so drink well before, during and after your workouts.

Home Births


There are a few issues I'd like to address here. First off, any doctor who laughs at you should be fired. Period. Now for the next issue: Yes, home birth can be a safe experience as long as you meet certain criteria: You must be in good health and carrying only one baby, with that baby in the vertex (head-down) position; you must have had no previous uterine surgery, such as a Cesarean section; and you must be ready to be an active partner in your labor experience.

Flu Shots


Pregnant women are at higher risk of suffering from pneumonia and other complications of the flu, so you are specifically encouraged to get the influenza vaccine (so are the elderly, health-care workers and people with compromised immune systems). Getting immunized also may help protect your baby: The antibodies generated by the vaccine cross the placenta, so it's likely that the baby will have some degree of protection following birth. Ask your doctor about thimerosal-free vaccines.

Cold Weather


Yes, you can safely enjoy being outdoors, watching your child's first venture on the slopes. In fact, because most pregnant women's bodies run a bit hotter than before pregnancy, you may even be more comfortable than usual. Just be sure to drink plenty of water to head off dehydration and altitude sickness. And be extra careful while walking in the snow; your shifting center of balance makes it easier to take a tumble. You're also more susceptible to sunburn during pregnancy, so use plenty of sunscreen and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. This goes for your child, too.