Photo Credit: Hartshorn Portraiture

After week 28, you have officially entered the last trimester of your pregnancy…and the upcoming birth is beginning to feel REAL.  There is no denying the large belly hanging out in front, the increased trips to the ladies room.  Challenges with getting comfortable to sleep.  Read below to feel strong and empowered heading into the home stretch of being preggers.

  1. Stay Active.  Although you are carrying around an extra 20 or so pounds at this point and it is much easier to get out of breath going up a flight of stairs, your cardiovascular system needs you to keep moving.  Muscles and joints appreciate movement as well and staying loose and flexible heading into birth is a must!  Prenatal yoga feels great in the last few weeks of pregnancy as it is gentle on joints yet challenges stamina which is required during the labor process.  Going for walks is another way to move without straining the body at this stage.  Try taking the stairs to help keep the hips open.  Sitting on a birthing ball (exercise ball) can also help gently open the hips and pelvis and support pelvic alignment as your approach the end of the pregnancy.
  2. Slow down.  Wait, doesn’t this advice contradict the first step?  No, you can stay active (probably not running any marathons at this point) and slow down simultaneously.  Keeping moving, but at a slower pace.  Take time to listen to your body’s needs and respect your new limits.  It can be mentally uncomfortable for women that are used to moving and shaking and getting sh*t done to switch into a lower gear, however, nature requires it for the optimal health of mama and baby.  Your body is working so hard to MAKE and CARRY a baby that is not logical to expect the late-term pregnant body and mind to function as it did before.  As with any life change, things are different and adaptability to what is new will serve you not only for the rest of the pregnancy but even more so as a new mama.  Adaptability is an important life skill that pregnancy and motherhood help to fine-tune at lightning quick speed.
  3. Keep on top of mama self-care.  Although you may be feeling slightly overwhelmed with the additional responsibilities that come along during the third tri, like setting up a nursery, identifying the best car seat, and picking out a stroller, it is of the utmost importance that you maintain the self-care regimen created at the beginning of your pregnancy.  Especially if you are still working and need to wrap up loose ends at your job prior to maternity leave, be sure to schedule in time for your health and well-being.  Get your weekly chiropractic adjustments, fit in your prenatal yoga class, and receive a relaxing prenatal massage.  If this is your first pregnancy, you will have the most time and resources to practice self-care for the foreseeable future, so take full advantage of it!    
  4. Childbirth education takes top priority.  Although you may have already been reading up about the impending birth, now is definitely the time to do your research and create your birth plan.  Ideally, you are already receiving support from your birth team (i.e. birth provider, doula, maternity chiropractor, etc) so you feel educated regarding important decisions impacting the type of birth you want to create.  Additionally, any book written by Ina May Gaskin, midwife extraordinaire, will enlighten you to normal birth culture and help you trust the innate intelligence within your body in its miraculous ability to birth.  Identifying a childbirth ed class that matches your personal philosophy is helpful in preparing you AND your partner.  When your partner understands his/her role in supporting your ideal birth outcome, they know how to best serve your needs. 
  5. Plan for the fourth trimester.  Although your life postpartum may feel like a thousand years from now, it is right around the corner.  Caring for a newborn is such a challenging endeavor, including the sleep deprivation, that it is difficult to make plans those first few weeks after delivery.  Although there will be inevitable changes required in the moment once your baby is in your arms and as you continue to progress down the motherhood journey, preparing for support is vital.  After giving birth, your body, mind, and spirit need time to recover and every new mama needs help.  Assigning specific tasks to your partner, mother, sister, friend, or even postpartum doula, can allow you to rest in bed with your brand-new bundle of joy and fully bond skin-to-skin.  Your job now is to feed your baby and sleep while your baby sleeps (making sure to consume enough calories to make milk to feed the baby).  Not laundry, not cooking, not cleaning, not walking the dog.  Have a plan in place for your support team so that the household jobs are delegated and your meals are ready to eat with minimal work on your part.  Nourish body, breastfeed the baby, change diapers, sleep, repeat.  That includes minimal exposure to the outside world.  Don’t worry about social media posts or returning phone calls to discuss baby’s arrival.  Just focus on you and baby.  

Those first three months are the fastest AND slowest time of your life.  Savor every single moment!