It is hard being a pregnant woman, especially when one has made it all the way to the third trimester and one just has to sit and wait for the baby to finally make their entrance. The last phase of pregnancy holds a slew of unfortunate symptoms from giant, swollen feet to Braxton Hicks contractions.
At this point many women feel like they have a handle on pregnancy because it feels as if they have been doing it for decades. But there are some things to remember—some things that pregnant women need to be aware of—that can still hurt the baby in the third trimester.
This list is not supposed to scare women into a hole but instead it should serve as a reminder that although the birth of the baby is close, caution should still be used. It is good to be confident about the baby growing inside and to trust maternal instincts. But it is also good to heed advice from both medical professionals and other women out there, and arm every pregnant woman with as much information as possible.
It is information that can protect both mother and baby during the last leg of the journey…
15Hot Tubs For Relief
When you feel as if you are as a big as a whale and every joint in your body feels like it is straining just to hold you vertical, nothing sounds more relaxing than a long, hot, steamy, hot tub session. But experts warn that even when you have made it to your third trimester, this is a danger to the baby.
The heat of the hot tub can head up you uterus in a matter of minutes and your growing baby is not meant to live in temperatures that high.
The safest thing is to avoid hot tubs all together but you can take a warm bath instead. I know, it really is not the same but you are so close to birthing a healthy baby—hold on just a little longer!
14Eating Deli Meat
I wish that eating deli meat was one of those old wives tales that have been dis-proven by the medical community. But unfortunately, it ain’t so.
A lot of pregnant mothers feel like by the time that they have reached the third trimester that they are golden. They have been assured by multiple tests and ultrasounds that their fetus is growing strong. But it is important to remember that the things that you were told to avoid in the first two trimesters, still exist in the third.
Listeria, which is the bacteria that doctors are worried about you ingesting in deli meat, is highly toxic. It is one of the few bacteria that can past through the uterine wall and straight into the fetus.
Cold cuts are right around the corner…just wait.
13Exercising Too Much
Women want to stay fit during their pregnancy and that is wonderful! Staying fit can help you not only during your delivery but also afterwards. BUT being pregnant means that your body responds differently than it did before. You cannot push yourself too much, or expect to be able to perform every workout that you did before. Not only has your center of gravity shifted but your muscles can be strained from carrying around 20 plus pounds of extra pregnancy weight. It can be dangerous to work out heavily if you do not what you are doing.
Exercising too much, too heavy, or too often can strain your pregnant body. Consult with your doctor about the right regiment for you. Give yourself a little space to relax and enjoy your pregnant body.
12Not Checking Kick Count
With my first child I was super laid back most things, especially by the third trimester. The doctor gave me a kick card and told me that I should be marking down how many times by baby was kicking and when, to track her movements. I did this for approximately a week before I got fed up and decided that I could monitor her without writing it down.
Fast forward to my delivery and my daughter was born with the cord around her neck. The condition of the cord led doctors to believe it had been that way for a couple of weeks and she had not been getting proper nutrition during the last leg of my pregnancy. I was lucky, but dumb.
Ladies, don’t get lazy! Those kick cards are there for a reason!
11Sitting Too Close To Steering Wheel
If you are short like me than you are probably used to putting your seat really close to the wheel while you are driving. For most of us, we must continue to drive during our third trimester—we don’t have butlers to run us all over town.
But short pregnant women need to be careful about the positioning of their seat in the vehicle because the airbag in your car is not designed for pregnant bellies. Just be conscious if you have re-positioned your seat in accordance with your changing body. Experts say that turning the air bag off is never a good option. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology states, “ If your steering wheel can be tilted, make sure it’s angled toward your breastbone and not towards your belly or head.”
10The Urge To Nest
That nesting urge may again tell you to do something can lead to harm for your baby—cleaning. I hate cleaning—the idea that the medical community says that pregnant women need to be careful when doing so may sound AMAZING but when you are super of pregnant and just wanting to get things done, this can be an annoying rule to follow.
Remember that you are not supposed to be straining yourself. Remember that cleaning products contain a lot of harmful chemicals that you should not be inhaling nor touching. Remember that something as simple as cleaning the kitty litter can be detrimental to an unborn fetus.
If you have the money, now is the time to hire a cleaner. If you don’t, this is the time to ask your spouse or family member.
9Exercising Too Little
Now that I have lectured you about exercising too much, let me also lecture you on exercising too little. (You just cannot win with me, can you?) Listen girl, you deserve to cut yourself some slack and enjoy pregnancy. But you cannot let it go too far. Frankly I don’t care about your looks at all; I care about your health and the health of your baby. And not exercising can lead to slower metabolism, higher stress levels, and lower stamina during birth.
Low pressure exercising like walking is really beneficially for multiple reasons and it can help keep you in shape while you bake a baby. It can stave off gestational diabetes and can be a good excuse to get together with a friend and breathe in some fresh air.
I know that you are eating for two--- and you should be. But also remember that just because you are pregnant it does not give you carte blanch to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. The food that you are eating is supposed to be nourishing both your body and that of your growing baby. You should eat when you are hungry and make sure to have healthy, protein filled snacks in between your meals. But do not overdo it.
Eating junk food every now again is not going to do any long term harm, but you also need to be supplementing with foods that are rich in nutrients. No multivitamin is going to cover for you eating Cheetos for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think salads, fruits, and veggies.
Telling someone who feels like they are 67 months pregnant to NOT stress can be difficult. I get it—you have lasted this far and you are doing great. But it can be easy to get pulled in to worrying about little things instead of focusing on the bigger picture. Stress can be detrimental on the body.
My daughter was due at the height of flu season. This stressed me out to no end. I would lay awake at night worry about how I was going to protect this infant from the ravages of sickness. It made me queasy, I had a hard time sleeping and in turn in made my pregnancy that much harder. What finally helped was taking a step back and thinking about all of the resources that I was blessed with.
If you are anything like me (and most women out there who are speaking honestly), than giving up alcohol was one of the hardest parts of being pregnant. I did not miss being drunk but I missed the casual and social nature that having a glass of wine or cold, crisp beer created. By the time I made it to my third trimester I was pretty convinced that a glass of red wine would not hurt.
But unfortunately in the US we are told that it is never safe to consume any amount of alcohol because the medical community cannot tell you exactly how much is safe. Other countries, especially in Europe, think differently.
Most women agree that since we can’t be certain, it is better to be safe than sorry.
5Lifting Heavy Things
Oy, the urge to nest in every stage of your pregnancy is a strong one. It may start slowly, like wanting to put together a list of stuff for your wish list. Than you may want to design the baby’s room, get all of his/her clothes together, paint the walls, and move all of the furniture.
HOWEVER. There is a legitimate reason that doctors tell pregnant women not to lift heavy things—and the warning does not diminish in the third trimester.
The American Medical Association says that lifting heavy objects during pregnancy can lead to a higher risk for premature labor and a lower birth weight for baby.
Grab a bag of potato chips, put your feet up, and make your spouse do it instead. There is only a small window when you can get away with this stuff.
If you have ever watched a movie that has a pregnant woman in it, you will likely see them browsing the aisle of the grocery store and filling their cart with potato chips, ice cream, French fries, candy, Cheetos, and pie. And most of look forward to being pregnant so that we can finally give ourselves permission to indulge in all of these delights because we are, in fact, pregnant.
Even in the third trimester, junk food can cause damage to both you and your fetus. Many junk foods have zero nutritional value and they can up your risk for many things including:
-increased risk of food allergy
-high intake of acrylamide
-pre-disposition for baby to crave sodium
-excess weight gain
-higher risk for gestational diabetes
3Working Too Much
You may be trying to squeeze in every last second to get work done before the baby is born. If work is not too stressful and you have a handle on it than great! But if work is taking all of your energy and it is making you feel like you are being stretched in too many directions, you may want to look into cutting down your hours or taking maternity leave early.
Clearly every situation is different and you have to do what is best for your family. Just keep in mind that it is OK to take time to prepare for the baby, if your work/financial situation allows. Remember to take breaks, to get up and walk, and make sure that you are getting enough food and water throughout the day.
2Not Sleeping Enough
Whether it is stress or just being crazy uncomfortable, it can be really hard for women in their third trimester to sleep. I had terrible heart burn and would lie awake, sitting up against the headboard, praying for sleep that never came.
But as we have mentioned before, sleep is a necessity for your body to protect not only itself but the baby growing inside. Sleep helps aid your immune system and provides the energy to grow and nourish the fetus. If you are not getting enough sleep, it can have negative effects on many aspects of your pregnancy.
Get a massage before bed. Drink some hot tea. Do whatever you can to help relax yourself because pretty soon you are going to have a beautiful, screaming baby and you may never sleep [peacefully] again.
1Worrying About The Birth
Don’t hate me when I tell you to stop worrying about the birth. I can feel you glaring at me as you rest your hand upon your ever expanding stomach, plotting ways to torture me for pointing out the obvious.
Worrying about the birth can only get you so far before it causes you stress and stress makes your blood pressure go through the roof. Get your birth plan in order, pack your bag, and then try to let go. Trust that the medical community has been dealing with births for a while now, and that you are going to be in good hands. Go read some blogs from other mothers who have successfully pushed out a baby and have done it roughly the same way that you plan to. Listen to their words and take in their experiences.
Sources: Mom Junction, American Medical Association, The Bump
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