You’re now three-quarters through your pregnancy and there isn’t too much time left before you get to meet your baby. They are now spending their time growing which may well be worsening some of your symptoms. Here at NearlyBorn, we have gathered all of the information you will need as you head into the last quarter of your pregnancy.
Your baby weighs approximately 3 pounds this week and is almost 16 inches long. Your baby is now almost fully developed, they are beginning to breathe and swallow now that their digestive system and lungs are fully functioning. But don’t worry, the amniotic fluid which has been nurturing them so far is safe for them to practice these essential bodily functions on.
This is the time that your baby begins to grow in earnest, they will be gaining at least half a pound per week for the next 10 weeks to prepare them for the wide world, and their lungs are developing and practicing breathing to help them process oxygen when they are finally born.
Have you kept up the kick counts we recommended at week 27? This is the best way to track your baby’s wellbeing, especially in these final weeks when ultrasound scans are less likely to occur. We recommend that you do the kick counts at the same time every day and keep watching out for those patters we advised you would find. If the pattern changes or you do not feel any movements within a 2 hour period seek medical advice immediately. The best time to complete kick counts is when you are relaxed and in a quiet environment so you can really pay attention to your baby and your body.
You’re now comfortably within the third trimester, but conversely, you may find that symptoms from your first trimester are re-appearing, take heart though, they won’t there for long as there isn’t much time left of your pregnancy. You may find your hunger levels are increasing considerably, and as always we recommend clean and healthy snacks in line with any dietary advice your doctor has given you.
- You may well have noticed that heartburn has returned, packing more of a punch than during your first trimester, and you are suffering more than a little discomfort. The reason for this is that your growing uterus has moved your stomach upwards and this movement causes heartburn. We recommend small meals more often than you would normally eat, and avoid foods that are greasy or contain a high-fat content, this will minimize the severity of the symptoms.
- Those mood swings will by now be ever-present, your hormones will still be higher than your usual pre-pregnancy hormone levels which will impact on your mood. Also, stress may be starting to creep in as you approach your due, a lot is going to change in the near future. But there is still time to do things for you; we recommend relaxing as much as it is possible to lower your stress levels, keep your blood pressure under control and improve your general wellbeing and mood.
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep, this isn’t always easy at this stage in your pregnancy; your energy levels will be decreasing following the spike during your second trimester, and getting comfortable on an evening isn’t always easy. We’ve found that one of the best things to help you to sleep is a pregnancy pillow, they are accessible and relatively cheap to buy if you shop around, you can also get a variety of shapes to suit the position you prefer to sleep in and the level of support you want. Other ways to soothe yourself and reduce sleeping problems are ensuring you are relaxed before bed, having dimly lit rooms prior to settling into bed, not having too much screen-time on an evening and going to bed at a similar time each night so your body comes to expect it.
You’re at the stage in your pregnancy where you need to have firm plans in place for what is happening following the birth of your baby. What are you doing about maternity leave? Are you entitled to paid family leave? How long can you reasonably afford to take off? How much time is your employer willing to allow you to be off? What needs to be done in your workplace while you are off?
All of these questions can be overwhelming, so break them down. Take some time to read through your company’s maternity policy, check what you do and do not need to do and then approach your boss or HR department to talk things through. Prepare for this meeting by making lists of any questions you want to ask and any information you are obliged to provide; this will help you to keep things straight in the meeting and ensure you don’t forget anything when you’re in the room.
There will be a lot of forms to fill in and information to keep straight following these discussions so ensure that you keep a copy of all of the documents you receive and sign so that you can refer back to them when you need to. Also, keep a diary or calendar record of any deadlines for pre and post-birth; you will be amazed at how many things will slip your mind in the haze of having a newborn in your home so a reminder system will be invaluable for anything important.
We recommend you do anything you can to stock up on sleep, in the third trimester your energy levels will naturally dip, and there’s a chance, depending on how well your new baby sleeps, that it will be a while before you get uninterrupted sleep again. There are several ways to improve your sleep, like the pregnancy pillows we mentioned above, but another great one is white noise. White noise machines have long been used for both adults and babies and have become more popular over recent years, most new parents have one in their nursery.
We’ve found that there is no harm for you to purchase this near essential item a little early and test how well it works before your little one arrives. White noise can be very calming and can aid a good night’s sleep at any age and if you purchase one which will fit into your baby’s nursery theme, you can move it into the nursery when the baby moves in there. Until that point, it can be used in your room pre-birth to improve your sleeping patterns, and also there post-birth if you have an infancy crib to go in your room both you and your baby can make use of this.
Relaxing is key at all points during your pregnancy to improve your wellbeing and lower stress levels for you and your growing baby. Another activity researchers have found to be beneficial during pregnancy is laughter, which in addition to relaxation has been linked with increased immune system health. So when relaxing why not pop on your favorite comedy movie, to guarantee you a laugh. Or if you’re feeling up to it, grab your friends and head to see a live comedy show, mocktails are a refreshing way of joining in with a night out or in.
Weight gain will be increasing right now as your baby settles into a regular average growth pattern, you will be gaining on average one pound per week. This is normal and your medical practitioner will keep a record of this at any appointments you are having, so don’t be alarmed if they continue to measure your fundal height each time. Some women find weight gain during pregnancy to be difficult, try to keep in mind that if you are eating a healthy diet a large portion of the weight gained will be the baby and after-birth. Continue eating a healthy diet to help your baby grow and remember the weight gained will naturally reduce post-birth.
Now is the time to get everything in order at work, speak to your HR department and make sure you are aware of all of your obligations while on maternity leave so that nothing is missed. Request a copy of your company’s maternity policy so you can refer to it during your leave, you’ll be amazed at the things you will forget, or which will become muddled post-birth.
Begin making preparations for how you are going to keep relaxed post-birth. The old saying ‘sleep when they sleep’ is definitely something you should practice, you aren’t going to always be able to sleep when you have the opportunity to relax. Take for example the time when your baby is feeding, whether you are planning to breastfeed or bottle-feed, so something you can do one-handed is definitely a plus. We recommend an e-reader or tablet if you feel up to reading, most libraries now have an e-book service so there isn’t any need to spend money to benefit. Alternatively, make use of some relaxing music or an audiobook, just be aware of wires around your baby as they grow and try to pull on them – wireless headphones may be the way forward.