Comfort Measures for the Third Trimester
Updated: Jul 11, 2020
As your pregnancy progresses, you may start to feel more discomforts associated with your changing body and growing baby. Here are some suggestions to increase your comfort as you prepare to meet your baby.
Food as medicine.
Avoid heart burn by eating smaller amounts more frequently. Pair carbohydrates with proteins and fats (such as nuts or cheese). Eat iron-rich foods such as meats, dark leafy greens, beans and lentils. Embrace your traditional foods and locally harvested foods.
Try: Eating dates, pineapple, and spicy foods as natural methods to try to induce labour.
Keep your bedroom cool and quiet. Put your phone away. Use pillows between your legs or under your belly. If sleep quality is suffering, focus on quantity. Go to bed early and nap when you can.
Try: Setting your phone to 'Do Not Disturb' when you're going to bed.
Dehydration makes muscle cramps feel worse. Take small frequent sips throughout the day rather than big gulps in the evening, to avoid heart burn and waking up to pee during the night.
Try: adding sliced cucumber, lemon, or fresh berries to your water for some flavour.
Accept household help.
Ask your partner, family, friends, neighbours, and older children to take on more of the household duties. Nesting urges are common - listen to your body and rest when you need to. Ask for help with heavy lifting and avoid exposure to toxic chemicals.
Try: If your family lives far away, or your circle isn't able to provide in-person support due to the pandemic, ask them to invest in your wellness through grocery and meal delivery or chipping in for the cost of a doula or other helper who can offer in-home support.
Walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga are all safe, gentle ways to stay active in your pregnancy.
Try: Looking online for free prenatal yoga videos. Here's one to try.
Massage, acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractics, and other forms for body work can help you to address your aches and pains, and to prepare your body for the process of labour. If you have extended health benefits, you may have partial or full coverage for these services.
Try: Practitioners that have special training to work with pregnant people.
Talk to your baby.
Talking, singing, and reading to your baby is a great way to bond and for your baby to learn the sound of your voice. You and your baby are a team. You're in this together!
Try: Singing a lullaby or a favourite song from your own childhood.
Foster intimacy with your body and your partner, if you have one. Sex and masturbation are safe. Hold space for yourself as a physical and sexual being.
Try: Honouring your pregnant body through a belly cast or a pregnancy photo shoot.
Take a bath.
Water is medicine. Relax in the tub and invite the water to provide relief to your swollen feet and tired joints.
Try: Adding 1-2 cups of epsom salt to your bath.
Mind your body's clock.
Your body may move slower these days, and that's ok. Let your body lead. Take the time you need. Likewise, babies will come in their own time. Know that due dates are guess dates, not deadlines.
Try: Giving yourself an extra 10 minutes to get where you're going. This is a helpful practice after baby comes too.
Explore what grounds you. Prayer. Ceremony. Time outside. Sitting with Elders. Connecting to your community. Meditation. Journaling. Counselling. Stay grounded in these practices, and keep them in your basket for labour and parenting.
Try: Addressing your anxiety with the free app 'Mindshift CBT' by Anxiety Canada.
Drink red raspberry leaf tea.
This earthy-tasting tea is an uterine tonic, meaning it can help to tone your uterine muscles and prepare your womb for labour.
Try: Making it an iced tea in the summer.
Surrounded by positivity.
Surround yourself with love and positivity. Avoid traumatic birth stories, and tell others to keep their negative comments to themselves. Embrace the mindset that you can have a positive birth experience: I can do this.
Put your feet up.
Swollen feet are common at this stage. Help your blood and fluids to flow by elevating your feet. Let your doctor/midwife know if your swelling is severe.
Try: Getting a pedicure or having a loved one help to care for your toenails if you're having trouble reaching your feet.
Set the mood.
Dim the lights. Put on your favourite playlist. Light some candles and diffuse some essential oils. Hint: this works for labour too.
Try: Creating two playlists, one for energizing and one for relaxing.
Define what wellness means to you.
Add your own comfort measures.
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