Finally, you are at the beginning of your third trimester: everything comes to life and the unborn baby seems to occupy as much space in your belly as in your mind… A wind of sweet excitement blows on your daily life and on your couple, despite the small inconveniences that may appear at this stage of pregnancy. Here are some tips to calmly enjoy the final stretch.
Small, low, stretched, pointed? Everyone has their own diagnosis on the shape or placement of your belly when you proudly announce that you are entering your 7th month of pregnancy (29 weeks of amenorrhea). For you, the finale is approaching, and you swing between excitement and apprehension—especially if it’s your first. Your maternal instinct awakens and watches with amazement the babbling and hiccups of the baby that shake the curve of your belly, while you begin to wonder if you should fear the pains of childbirth. You also alternate between heavy fatigue and Olympic form, and your concentration on the professional level begins to suffer: patience, maternity leave is close, and you will soon live at your own pace.
Advice from a midwife: How to manage the last weeks before maternity leave?
Your baby is now well formed—he will now grow and grow. During this last trimester, he will therefore draw more energy from you. Make the most of your work days, take naps or reduce your work hours if you feel the need. If you have a lot of transportation to get there and are exhausted, talk to the person advising you on your pregnancy. Opt for short trips or take regular breaks and wear compression stockings; the vibrations of the car or the train can give you contractions… Rest before and after the journey may be necessary. Having a dozen contractions a day—often in the evening when you are finally lying on the couch—is normal. If your belly gets harder and you find it unusual, talk to your doctor or go to your maternity ward.
You obviously feel heavier and less “mobile” than usual. Your approach and your difficulties to change position are apparent, and you find yourself asking for help to get up from the couch… The third ultrasound will soon confirm the weight of your baby, between 1.8 and 2.2 kilograms if all goes well—no wonder you have trouble finding comfortable positions day and night. Insomnia at this time is common, as are the late afternoon acidic surges that affect many mothers-to-be and are no easier to deal with than the nausea of the first trimester… To avoid them, it is generally recommended to ban acidic foods at least in the evening. If that is not enough, do not hesitate to ask your gynecologist to prescribe medication. Some are very effective and safe for pregnant women.
Advice from a midwife: Why is there insomnia at the end of pregnancy?
Insomnia can occur towards the end of your pregnancy for a variety of reasons. In the last trimester, the baby’s movements are more intense, more frequent; some women have back aches or cramps; comfortable positions are harder to find with your belly getting bigger every day. And then, it is true that the delivery is approaching and that soon you will have this beautiful baby in your arms… Make time to reflect and meditate a little… A little relaxation before bedtime can help you reduce your heart rate, in order to be calmer and thus to help you fall asleep. Find and stick to an activity adapted to your condition during the day because inactivity can promote insomnia. Opt for the slow, complete sugars in the evening, avoid stimulants and prepare an infusion of chamomile, verbena or lemon balm tea.
- If you work a salaried job, your maternity leave is a formality managed by your employer, who takes care of the steps for you. If you are a freelancer or entrepreneur, check with your health insurance fund or other organization to make sure that you have done what you need to in order to be paid on time during this period.
- It is high time to equip yourself—finish the layout and decoration of the baby’s room, and complete his wardrobe. Start by making lists: things that you already have or will obtain from your sisters or girlfriends, the things you still need to purchase, things for the maternity bag and for back home, and what you want, in creating your birth list. You will complete these lists as you go, and you will have suggestions to give to your loved ones who are already thinking about your birth gift…
- For a practical birth list with products from different brands: mesenvies.fr.
To think about:
- The room is ready, but do you know where the baby is going to sleep for the first nights at home? You will probably want it to be in your room: cradle, cushion, co-sleeping, etc. Here are some tips for choosing your first bed.
- Are you starting to ask questions about the delivery process, dad’s role in the delivery room or the epidural? Do not hesitate to write and ask all your questions to your obstetrician or to the midwife who prepares you, and to the anesthesiologist during your appointment.
Our suggested reading (in French) to understand and prepare for your delivery:
Accoucher sans stress avec la méthode Bonapace, by Julie Bonapace, published by l’Homme.
J’accouche bientôt, que faire de la douleur ?, by Marie Trélaün, published by Le souffle d’or.
Translation: Ashley Griffin
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