What to expect: The third trimester

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Time is getting shorter, and you are ready to meet your baby soon. The third trimester stretches roughly from week 28 until delivery. Knowing what to expect both physically and emotionally should go a long way in easing your journey towards a brand new life, with a brand new life in your arms!  

28 – 40 WEEKS
Your body
This is it: the countdown to delivery. This is the busy trimester, when your body is readying itself for labour, and you’re getting ready for your baby’s arrival. You may feel very heavy and ungainly, and make frequent trips to the loo, with back pain, increased Braxton Hicks contractions, heartburn, shortness of breath, varicose veins, tiredness and sleep problems adding to your general sense of discomfort. Don’t be surprised if you reach the point when you feel that you’ve had enough, that you’re sick and tired of having been pregnant ‘forever’. The good news is that the end is in sight, something which you’ll be very aware of when you feel your baby start to ‘drop’ as it descends fully into your pelvis at about 37 weeks.

Your emotions
Excitement and anxiety go hand in hand at this stage as your whole life revolves around baby, baby, baby. Worries about the birth and what kind of mother you’ll make are quite normal at this stage.

As you get closer to your due date, expect huge mood swings once again- extreme nervousness and  restlessness coupled with an almost desperate longing to finally to hold your child in your arms. But this is also the time when you have the most fun as you start decorating the nursery, do some newborn baby shopping and take centre stage at your baby showers.  

Taking control

  • Antenatal classes offer great peace of mind to both you and your partner, as they cover everything you need to know about labour and the birth. You’ll meet a lot of other moms-to-be who feel exactly the same as you do and you’ll get answers to all the questions that are bothering you. Don’t be afraid to voice whatever’s on your mind, even if you think your concerns are ‘stupid’. As with every stage of pregnancy, being sussed is of prime importance.
  • This will be the last time you’ll be free to indulge yourself, to be able to go solo, so try fit in as much ‘me time’ as you can. Put your feet up whenever possible and indulge in whatever pampering you enjoy. Have a manicure, a pedicure, a haircut or massage, and also spend some quality time alone with your partner, because pretty soon this is going to become a luxury and/or a very definite thing of the past!
  • Cook – and shop- up a storm. This is the time to call on mom’s cooking skills. Spend some quality time with her in the kitchen pre-cooking and freezing meals-for-two. Rope in family and friends to help with a dinner roster for the first two weeks after the birth --  you can easily reciprocate when they’re the new moms. Do a bulk shop of all the non-perishables and the baby essentials you need, and tick off your last-minute to-do list: packing your hospital bag and confirming your bed in the ward.

“Even if you’re planning on having a natural birth, make sure you know everything there is to know about having a Caesar. When I was told I needed an emergency Caesar because of a complication in labour, I was devastated. I felt like a ‘failure’ as a woman and it took me quite a while to come to terms with it emotionally and physically. Second time round I was fully prepared and the experience was far more positive.” Shelley, 30

What's this period like for you? Do you have the energy?

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