Third Trimester | Fit Pregnancy

Third Trimester



While your aunt undoubtedly is thinking only of your best interests, swimming daily is a real gift to you and your unborn baby that poses no danger even as you approach your due date. If your water breaks while you are in the pool--or the bathtub, for that matter--you will feel the fluid leaking and should contact your doctor immediately. My real concern is that you take every precaution to steady yourself getting into and out of the pool or tub.

Bedrest Exercises


Yes, you can work with your doctor and a physical therapist to develop an exercise plan. Keep in mind, however, that this is not the time for aerobic workouts or muscle strengthening. The goal of exercise while on bed rest is to minimize the risk of developing blood clots in your extremities.

Preventing Constipation


Two factors contribute to constipation in pregnancy. The first is the body's increased production of progesterone, which relaxes not only the smooth muscle of the uterine wall but also of the intestinal wall and stomach, thereby making digestion sluggish. The second is the body's tendency to become underhydrated as it adjusts to an increasing blood volume. To help prevent constipation, drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Also exercise daily and eat more vegetables and dried fruits.

Exercising On Back


The weight of your uterus increases throughout pregnancy, so if you were to spend time lying flat on your back, that extra weight might compress the vena cava, the large blood vessel that runs along your spine and carries blood to the heart. Compression of this vein may cause you to become dizzy, lightheaded, nauseated or sweaty, and it may briefly reduce blood flow to your baby.

Ready for Sex?


No. "It takes at least three to six months for your genitals to get back to normal," says Laura Berman, Ph.D., director of the Berman Center in Chicago and co-author of For Women Only (Henry Holt & Co.). A perineal tear or episiotomy can cause a tight feeling in the vagina, which can persist even after the site has healed (usually four to six weeks after a vaginal birth). To help combat the tightness, you or your partner can gently stretch the area using fingers that have been well lubricated with K-Y Ultragel or Astroglide (available at drugstores).

Itching Belly


Although you should check with your OB to rule out an allergic reaction or other problem, the itching you describe may be a symptom of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP). This condition occurs when liver function becomes impaired, resulting in increased levels of bile salts in the bloodstream. As the blood circulates, these salts are deposited in the skin, causing intense itching, particularly at night. ICP typically occurs in the third trimester and will resolve on its own once the baby is delivered.

Swimming Harmful?


Rest assured that excessive fetal activity is not associated with any complications that could affect your baby's health. If, on the other hand, you were to perceive a decrease in fetal activity, you should immediately alert your doctor.

Registry Checklist

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Pregnancy Checklist - What to Do When Pregnant

First Trimester 

Week 1: If you haven't started already, you should be taking a prenatal multivitamin with folic acid daily (bump it up to 600 micrograms folic acid once you know for sure you're pregnant).

Week 2: You should be eating the healthiest diet possible for the next nine months. For some simple guidelines, check out "Tell Me What to Eat"

What to Pack for the Hospital

You've got the camera, toiletries and a nursing nightie. You also need:

Your birth plan/wish list
Prepaid calling card or cell phone and a list of phone numbers of family and friends
Your favorite pillow
A headband or hair tie