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If you are seven months pregnant, then you have entered your third and final trimester. Your baby bump should be pretty noticeable, and though you may feel quite large already, your baby still has quite a bit of growing to do; which means so do you! The last three months is when your baby’s bones, skin, hair, teeth and nails, digestive system, brain, and five senses become fully developed. At around eight and a half months old, your baby will begin to turn upside down in preparation for birth.
Video: Things to Do and Avoid During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy
With a lot going on inside of you, it is bound to take a toll on your body. Your bladder is going to go out of control; you will have more abdominal discomfort, fatigue, heartburns, backaches and your body will begin to warm up as a way of preparing to nurse your child, which means your breasts are probably going to leak at the most inopportune moments. But as a devoted mother, all you can do about this is dig in your heels, take your doctor’s advice and keep pushing forward to the finish line.
Third Trimester Checklist
Working mothers should be all set to start their maternity leave, but this doesn’t mean you get any time off. Though you need to rest, you also need to spend your waking moments preparing to bring your child into the world. New mothers may not know what to do in the third trimester, and as contractions and fatigue can have a toll on your memory, we have prepared the 3rd-trimester to-do list to help keep you on track:
- Eat Healthy: With so much development taking place inside you, your baby is going to be getting all of the essential nutrients required for this from you, so be strict about keeping a healthy and well-balanced diet to ensure your baby has everything he needs.
- Keep Track of Baby’s Movements: Keeping track of your baby’s movements can help you know immediately if there is anything to worry about. Contact your doctor if you notice any decrease in your baby’s movements.
- Keep Your Prenatal Doctor’s Appointments: You can expect some routine physical exams and prenatal tests to ensure that you and your baby are in good condition for the birth.
- Consider More Classes: Everyone knows about Childbirth classes, and it is good to get involved in one. However, breastfeeding and infant CPR classes would also be highly beneficial to you, especially if you are a new mom.
- Read Up on Baby Care: If you have not yet started, now is the perfect time to make the change from reading up on pregnancy to baby care. You will not have the time for much research in the first few weeks after your baby is born.
- Think about Big Decisions: No mother wants to leave her child, but there is only so long maternity leave lasts. At this point, you and your partner need to sit down and discuss if the best option for your family is if you stayed at home with your child. Part-time options are also available. Other decisions involving your religious background will also need to be made. For boys, circumcision needs to be discussed.
- Assemble Your Baby Gear: Cribs, strollers, car seats are all things that need to be set up. You may also want to think about baby-proofing your house and stock up on baby monitors, mobiles and batteries.
- Talk to Your Baby: Your baby can hear you now. Talking to your baby helps in developing language skills, and not to mention, your baby will love hearing your voice. If you don’t know what to say, just read a book out loud to your baby.
- Learn about Coping with Labour Pain: For women who are having their first child, labour could take an average of 15 hours, though it can go on for longer. For those who have had previous vaginal births, the time is less; around eight hours. Although there are pain medications available to you, some women opt for natural births and choose not to use them. Think about your situation and explore the options available to you.
- Prepare for Labour: It is also important to discuss a labour plan with your doctor or midwife. You should know when you need to contact them and when to head to the hospital. Spend some time reading up on the stages of labour so you will not be left confused in the middle of it.
- Create A Birth Plan: While labour is something that can easily throw your plan off track, it is always best to make one, so there is a general idea of how you want things to flow. Whom do you want to accompany you to the hospital? Pain medication or natural birth? Private room or sharing? Homebirth or hospital?
- Wash Your Baby’s Clothing and Bedding: Use very gentle detergents and wash your baby’s clothes and bedding as there is a chance that these could have substances on them that could be irritating to your baby’s skin.
- Start Lining Up Helpers: New mothers are bound to feel overwhelmed and it is not going to be easy to direct help around the house. It would help a lot if you made a list of things you will need help with and who can help you. For example, list down the people who have offered to help and then schedule it so that each person has a specific task and a date to do it. This could include buying groceries to looking after the needs of your other children or pets.
- Pick A Hospital or Birth Centre: Rather than waiting for the last minute and checking into the nearest hospital, go out and check all your options. Find the place that you feel you will be most comfortable in and who will provide you with the best care. Find out if they accept insurance if you are planning on using your insurance to pay for your medical costs. Once you find somewhere you like, try preregistering to avoid having to deal with paperwork when the big day arrives.
- Pack Your Bags: You are going to need to prepare yourself for a stay at your birth centre or hospital. Keep a packed bag ready as you are not going to have time to do it once you go into labour. The important things for you to pack are your insurance cards, comfortable clothing, and toiletries, a going home outfit for your baby, and your phone and charger.
- Have Your House Cleaned: After a hospital stay, it always feels good to come home to a clean house. It would benefit you to have your house cleaned as you will not have the energy to do so while your baby is a new-born.
- Stock Up on Supplies: Getting anything done with a new-born is not easy, and it is best to stock up on the essential household items to avoid having to go out with your baby. Stock up on pantry items, medicine, toilet paper and other things you will need on a daily basis. Also, make sure you have all the necessities that your little one will need.
- Stock Up on Light Entertainment: Pick your choice of entertainment, whether it is picking up a few basic art supplies or buying a few new books, make sure you have something to keep you entertained for the times you get a break from caring for your child.
- Exercise Daily: If you can manage it, do some basic exercises that are pregnancy-friendly or just do some stretching. This is really good for you as it keeps your body in good shape for delivery.
- Arrange for Child or Pet Care: If you have children already, then you are going to want to arrange for someone to look after them while you and your partner are at the hospital. Your pets daily need such as food and walks will need to be provided for, and it is best to plan ahead for these as well.
- Prepare Pets for Baby’s Arrival: Most animal people treat their pets like children. But now that you are having a baby, your pet may not get the same attention he was used to and is bound to be confused about the changes and curious about the newest addition. Learn how to ease your pets into their new lifestyle and the best way to introduce your pet to your baby.
- Celebrate Your Baby Bump: Now is one of the most intimate times you will spend with your child, so do not forget to celebrate that baby bump! Try taking professional pictures of yourself as you are now so you can always remember this memorable time in your life.
Things to Avoid During the Third Trimester
With so many things to prepare for and so much energy being drained, your third trimester can be one of the hardest yet. Even daily activities such as tying your own shoelaces can become nearly impossible. Here is a list of what not to do in your third trimester of pregnancy:
- Heavy Lifting: Avoid lifting anything that feels even a little too heavy for you. Even If you have a young toddler to look after, leave the carrying to someone else. You can either make your husband or a close relative be in charge of carrying them around. This may break your heart at first, but it will definitely put a strain on your lower back if you give in, and you should not take any unnecessary risks at this crucial time.
- Travelling or Sitting for An Extended Period: Travelling on buses and cars for long periods of time can get pretty uncomfortable for you. If you can, it is best to avoid these things. However, if you do need to sit for long, make sure to get up every couple of hours to stretch as this will help the blood circulation to the baby.
- Heavy Meals: At this point, the baby is pretty low in your belly and digestion may be a bit difficult if you eat a lot at once. A heavy meal may end up causing issues like acidity as the foetus would be pushing up against the stomach. It is better for you to eat more frequently, but do reduce the quantity you eat at one time.
- High Heels: High heels are great for parties but terrible for posture. Your back is not going to be very happy if you wear high heels as it puts quite a bit of pressure on it. In order to avoid the needless strain and pain, opt for more comfortable flat shoes.
- High Altitudes: Breathing in high altitudes is difficult as the level of oxygen in the air decreases. Avoid flying or travelling to places that have high altitudes as it could cause your baby to become deprived of oxygen.
- Heavy Exercise: Although pregnant women are advised to exercise daily, always consult with the doctor about your routine, especially if you are already suffering from an existing medical condition. You do not want to do anything that could cause you to become overly exhausted nor harm the baby.
- Heavy Household Chores: Get help for your household chores as you should not be handling so much work that involves dust and dirt flying around. Avoid any chemical detergents and go for the natural ones instead.
- Cleaning Out Cat Litter or Handling Raw Meat: Cat litter and raw meat carry a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis so avoid handling these as it can be very dangerous for your unborn child.
- Love Making: While sex during pregnancy is encouraged, if you find that it is exhausting you or if you are someone who is already in danger of going into preterm labour, it is best to stop until your doctor says you are ready.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. For some women the dreaded morning sickness rears its ugly head again, making it difficult to keep anything down or to get much done during the third trimester. Fight through the fatigue and the discomfort and get some help. Your partner, friends and family will all be willing to help you if they know you need it. It won’t be long now before you get to hold the child you have been nurturing with love inside your womb and kiss the little face you have been longing to see. Try to take it easy and keep moving forward. You are almost there!