9 Months Pregnant: The Home Stretch

Youre Almost There
You're Almost There

The 9th Month!

There are a few ways to look at the ninth month of pregnancy. First, just think…you’re almost done! This is, by far, one of the most comforting thoughts of childbirth, so celebrate knowing that you have made it this far. Another way to look at the ninth month is through the eyes of a new parent. Pretty soon, you will have the most euphoric feeling of joy that may ever have in your life when you see and hold your baby for the first time. Positively magical is the best way to explain that feeling. Having gone through this with my two boys I can say it is like no other experience in life.

Finally, there is the…”Oh my gosh, what have I done, what am I going to do, and what in the world is going on with my body” feeling that you are almost sure to experience…especially if this is your first child. But, stay positive, stay focused, and stay calm. You will make it through this. Here are some things that you can expect during this third, and final, trimester.

You doctor will most likely want you to start making weekly visits for your prenatal check-ups. This is a great time to ask any questions or share any concerns that you may have. Your doctor will check your abdomen, as more attention is going to be paid to how the baby is presenting (whether head up or head down) and the baby’s position (whether facing front or back). These could be significant factors in determining whether you will be able to have a vaginal birth or whether you should consider having a Cesarean section. Either way, your doctor will be instrumental in helping you to make a decision that will work best for you and your baby. He will also check the baby’s heart rate. Of course, your urine, blood pressure, blood (for low iron/anemia), and steadily climbing weight, will be checked also. Expect for him or her to examine you for signs of vaginal infection, also. Your practitioner should be a key supporter for you. In these final days before baby, your doctor will also check for any pre-labor symptoms, such as a thinning cervix, that could require you to go on bed rest or, even, get admitted to prepare to have the baby. Do your best not to get alarmed or stressed out as you go through these final exams. Many are simply routine and will give your practitioner the information that they need to be handle your pregnancy.

You may have also been wondering what those infamous contractions would feel like. Now’s your chance to find out. You should be getting your fair share of the pre-labor kind called Braxton Hicks contractions. This is a tightening of the uterus similar to the contractions of labor. However, truth be told, these are just the “prep” contractions. The real ones will be much more intense and will last longer. They will also be instrumental in the movement of your baby. While they will most likely be painful, take some comfort in knowing your body knows what it is doing. It needs those contractions to bring forth your little darling. So, don’t fret. Despite the discomfort, they are a very good thing!

Your weight may increase a bit in these last few weeks. (I know you are probably tired of this part of your pregnancy as well. I know I was) When it is all said and done, your baby bump will typically increase your weight by twenty to thirty-five pounds. After your delivery, much of that extra weight will be gone, as the baby and amniotic sack are significant contributors to that weight gain.

As the time nears, you may experience edginess, moodiness, disturbed sleep (just your body getting your ready for what is to come), back pains, and, of course, fatigue. Try to keep moving. Prenatal exercise, even if you do just a little walking, can help your body to better handle the changes of labor and delivery. Since we are in the middle of the summer here is a link for some tips to help with summer time pregnancy.

By the end of this period, your baby will be fully developed. Things are bit cramped in your uterus at this point, so your baby may move a little less than before. Baby will have times when he or she is sleeping like a little angel, and other times when you will feel lots of thumps and bumps. I remember laying in bed at night marveling at the movement of my boys. It’s really amazing.

Most likely, your baby is starting to have his own sleep pattern now. Baby is just as ready as you are (actually it is usually the other way around when you are late!), and will slip into position in your lower abdominal area. So, you should expect to feel an additional heaviness in your pelvic area. Just think, your baby will be as happy to see you as you are to see him or her. The instant connection that will happen is absolutely magical when you first meet. If you plan to nurse your baby you may be given the opportunity to start nursing shortly after the baby is born. You will be completely amazed at how fast your baby learns to nurse.

The home stretch is here. Relax. Believe that you can do it and let your body do the rest. Whether natural or cesarean, your baby will be here before you know it. Be confident. Your child knows nothing about anyone else, but you. You will be the best mom!  You have so much to offer a baby, and now is the time to accept, celebrate, and marvel at this beautiful new life!

Prepare as best you can for your little one. Pack for the hospital visit for both of you. This will be the first of the thousands of times that you will pack for your child! Your baby will need clothing, blankets, and a car safety seat for the trip home. Also, make the finishing touches in the nursery. But, if you can’t get to everything, don’t worry. Your baby will not really notice that there are only two shelves instead of three or that the lamp is two shades darker than the paint. As long as your baby has a safe bassinet and crib, love and attention, your child will feel right at home.

You’re almost there. Before you know it you’ll be a new mom. Let me be one of the first to congratulate you on the upcoming birth of your baby.

Why Am I Having Mood Swings in my Last Trimester?

mood_swing_pregnantYour final trimester of pregnancy can bring about stressful emotions and mood swings. These occur for various reasons. The first is that you are at your heaviest weight and likely uncomfortable. This can bring even the happiest of pregnant women down, especially if it is affecting your sleeping habits.

Another reason for being emotional is the flood of hormones that are being released into your system. Estrogen and progesterone levels are at their highest in the third trimester and can easily affect your mood.

Many women report that outside stressful situations affect the final weeks of pregnancy as well. Good hearted family members that just want to be involved may be causing more irritation than help, and last minute preparations can cause anxiety as well.

Keep in mind that these are all normal things that almost every pregnant woman deals with in her final weeks of pregnancy. The most important thing you can do is to take care of yourself.

If you are feeling very heavy and uncomfortable, talk to your doctor about what types of exercises may be appropriate. Typically, short walks and light yoga can help to ease discomfort and improve your mood. This may also help to prepare your body for the strain of delivery.

Difficulty in sleeping may not be an easy fix, however if you feel tired you should rest even if you can’t sleep. Short naps or even putting your feet up and watching a favorite movie can do wonders for mood and relaxation.

Remember that the hormones that may be wreaking havoc on your mood are simply doing their job in preparing your body for delivery. Doing some research on what’s happening to your body can help women to understand and feel more in control. However, if you feel that your emotions are out of control, you may wan to speak with your doctor.

Your family and friends should be supporting you in any mood you experience. If family members begin to get your irritated or anxious, you have every right to ask them to give you space. If they really want to help, ask them to make meals ahead for you, run errands or help you do housework.

The emotional roller coaster of the last trimester can be difficult, so remember to take care of yourself, eat right, exercise if approved by your doctor and practice relaxation techniques. Above all, do what you need to do to feel healthy, happy and enjoy your last weeks of pregnancy.

Why Do I Have So Much Discomfort in My Last Trimester?

Discomfort During Pregnancy

The third trimester of pregnancy can be the most exciting as your baby rapidly develops and your body continues to change in preparation for delivery. Your baby’s movements will likely become more and more obvious as you experience kicking, shifting and other sensations.

As exciting as this is, it can also mean additional and increasing discomfort on your body. Here are some common symptoms of late pregnancy and how to deal with them to help you understand what to expect and hopefully decrease your discomfort.

Why Do I have Backaches?

Backaches are a very typical symptom that will affect most women in the third trimester. Back pain is caused by the changes in your body. Strain coming from weight gain is the most obvious cause. Also, pregnancy hormones will begin to relax the joints between the bones in your pelvic area, which can cause aches in the back and hips.

Backache Relief Idea:

Try to avoid prolonged standing as this may cause strain, and when you sit choose a chair with proper back support. Putting your feet up on an ottoman or stool may also help to relieve discomfort. Massages can also be helpful, either from a professional or from your partner.

Why Do I have Swelling?

Swelling is an almost unavoidable issue during the third trimester. Your expanding uterus puts pressure on the veins that return blood from your lower extremities, causing swelling in your feet and ankles. Also, fluid retention and dilated blood vessels may cause some puffiness in your face.

Swelling Relief Idea:

To reduce the symptoms of swelling, use a cold compress on the areas that are affected. Lying down to rest and elevating your feet can help with foot and ankle swelling. Some women experience relief by a light swim or simply relaxing in a pool – as long as it’s approved by your doctor.

Why Do I have Heartburn?

Heartburn during late pregnancy is caused by your uterus pushing your stomach and shifting it out of its normal position.

Heartburn Relief Idea:

Eating smaller, more frequent meals instead of three regular meals may help to ease heartburn. Drinking plenty of fluids may help as well. Talk to your doctor if symptoms persist or are severe.

Stretch marks and Frequency urination

Stretch marks are common in the third trimester as your abdomen and other areas continue to expand. Pink, red or purple streaks can also appear along your breasts, buttocks and thighs. Though stretch marks can’t be prevented, moisturizers can help and they will eventually fade.

Frequent urination is a late pregnancy symptom caused by pressure on your bladder as your baby moves deeper into your pelvis. This pressure may also cause you to leak urine during a laugh, cough or sneeze. This is totally normal, however you should watch for signs of a urinary track infection which include burning during urination, fever, and abdominal or back pain.

With so many changes happening to your baby and your body, it’s no wonder that the third trimester can be exciting as well as uncomfortable. Remember to eat healthy, stay positive and if you have symptoms that seem severe, persistent or unusual, ask your doctor.

Third Trimester Tips: Weight Gain and Exercise

Pregnant Exercise

During a normal pregnancy, you should expect to gain around 25-35 pounds. This will account for the weight of the baby as well as the placenta, extra fat stores, fluid and other necessary elements of a pregnancy.

Extra calories are needed to support the nutritional needs of the baby as well as energy to fuel your body’s pregnancy. Some doctors recommend eating small meals throughout the day instead of three normal ones. This is because your uterus is pressing on the stomach, which can make you feel fuller faster.

Remember to talk to your doctor about prenatal vitamins, calcium, fiber, water and other nutritional elements for a healthy pregnancy.

The extra weight gain in the last trimester can cause discomfort, and many women may wonder if exercise is an option. Most doctors can recommend some type of exercise to keep you healthy, prepare you for delivery and help to relieve some symptoms of discomfort.

There are good exercises that are safe to practice while pregnant, but you should talk to your doctor about any routine before you start to ensure that it’s appropriate for late pregnancy. Heavy weights should be avoided, as well as anything that is too strenuous or causes strain on the spine.

Also, avoid exercising in very hot or humid conditions as this can cause dehydration. Always stay hydrated when exercising, and avoid getting overheating. Loose fitting, comfortable clothing including supportive shoes and a good fitting sports bra will help you stay comfortable as well.

Prenatal yoga classes may be a good option for pregnant women. These classes can help to strengthen your body as well as relieve tension and stress. And because they are specifically designed for pregnant women, they are a safer alternative to traditional workouts.

Walking can also be a good exercise to boost energy and improve your mood. Any approved activity that can maintain good posture should also be encouraged as your extra weight may cause back, shoulder and leg pain.

Other benefits of exercise are promoting better sleep and maintaining muscle tone and strength. These benefits can help to ease discomfort, but additionally can help to prepare the body for labor.

Maintaining an exercise regimen during pregnancy may also make it easier on you to get back into a workout routine after the baby comes. There are typically many classes available to help women lose the baby weight and get in shape so you can keep up with your little one as they grow.

Unless you have a high-risk pregnancy or other condition that prevents you from doing exercise, it should be perfectly safe to include healthy activities into your daily routine. Talk to your doctor about what they recommend and what you should avoid.