Oh, my aching back
What pelvic floor?
Your physical changes this week
Feeling the heat? The third trimester is a time when many women notice a real shift in their body's temperature. You could find yourself having hot flashes, turning on the air conditioning when everyone else is almost shivering or just complaining about how hot it is. Your body is designed to cool off when it gets too hot and there is a risk of overheating. Avoid spicy foods and stress which will only make you feel worse.
Your breasts could be feeling increasingly heavy and denser. Dilated veins are becoming obvious, and your nipples will continue to darken. All these changes are necessary to prepare your breasts to produce milk for your baby. Other than not using drying soaps and avoiding general skin irritation, there is no nipple preparation recommended during pregnancy to prepare for breastfeeding.
Bending over will be getting more difficult. Now is the time to cut your toenails, shave your legs and go shopping for shoes which only need to be slipped on. As the next few weeks progress, you’ll find yourself groaning as you bend, something you probably thought you’d never do. Welcome to the third trimester!
Your emotional changes this week
Start to prioritize about what’s really important and what isn't. Think in terms of what you have to get done and what you want to get done before the baby is born. Be realistic about what will be more difficult to achieve, when there’s someone who is totally dependent on you for her care. Now is not the time to start a major renovation, plan a house move or start a new job. Try to avoid excess stress and aim for a simple life.
Try not to place too much value on your body image or how you look. You may need to change your ideas on what you perceive to be attractive and beautiful. Pregnant women's bodies are unique and have their own inherent beauty.
Mood swings are common in the third trimester. You could find yourself almost delirious with happiness one minute and in tears the next. Keep a box of tissues handy and be kind to yourself. Blame those hormones again which can depress your nervous system and cause symptoms similar to premenstrual tension.
Your baby's changes this week
Her movements will probably peak in the month from weeks 26-30. There’s still room for complete body movements and changes of position now, before quarters get too cramped inside your uterus.
Baby’s airways are further maturing, with the little tree like structures - the bronchioles and alveoli - increasing in number. It takes up to eight years for a child's respiratory system to mature fully, so these are still early days.
Baby's chances of survival, if she were born early, are increasing with every week that passes. She may not even need respiratory support if you delivered this week.
It may be difficult for your pregnancy provider to say what position your baby is lying in this week. A bony head can easily be confused with a round bottom and she may be so mobile that it makes it hard to say with certainty which way she is facing.
Hints for the week
Make a list of baby names which can be further refined if you can’t ultimately decide. Many parents leave the final decision for when they actually see their baby and what name suits them. This is not as strange as it seems. In a moment of absolute clarity, most parents can look at their little one’s face and know what they need to be named. Sometimes, it's a name which has not even occurred to them.
No matter how much you believe in weight bearing exercise, put those weights down if you have hemorrhoids. They will just enlarge further by the increase in your intra-abdominal and rectal pressure. Instead, go for low impact exercise such as yoga or swimming.
30 weeks is next!
The information of this article has been reviewed by nursing experts of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, & Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The content should not substitute medical advice from your personal healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for recommendations/diagnosis or treatment. For more advice from AWHONN nurses, visit Healthy Mom&Baby at health4mom.org.