We hear you, new moms-to-be! Your back aches, your feet are killing you, and those awesomely huge boobs are just starting to be a pain-in-the-ass. Basically, you’re so over this being pregnant thing. Sounds like someone’s on their third trimester! And that means good news because you’re finally almost to the finish line.
Beginning at week 28 and lasting until somewhere around week 40 – or the birth of your baby, whichever comes first – the third trimester signals some huge steps in growth, both for your belly and baby.
And oh boy, just wait until you see what Mother Nature has in store for round three of your pregnancy journey!
We’re not going to sugarcoat it, momma. The third trimester is a tough one. It’s like the universe is testing you one last time to make sure you’re fierce and powerful when you’ve got a little one to protect and nurture. By the end of this whole ordeal, you’re practically going to be running to the hospital or your doula, begging them to get it over with. But just think – when you hold your newborn in your arms for the first time, you’ll feel like those 9 months flew by in a heartbeat.
Are you ready for the challenge of a lifetime, momma bear? These next few months might not be a cake walk, but they’re going to prepare you for the real mountain ahead – raising a brand new human.
On your mark, get set, and off you go into the wild of your final chapter of pregnancy! Here’s all the crazy stuff you can expect to encounter during the third trimester. You got this, we promise!
Yes, That Tummy is Still Going to Grow (And So is Baby!)
If you’re already feeling like a whale out of water, get ready for this news flash: that big ol’ belly isn’t done growing yet
During the third trimester, your baby’s body systems are developing into their final forms, and that little brain is becoming more active and aware. As baby continues to grow and take up more tummy real estate, you’ll really start to feel those kicks!
Your baby’s skin is thickening up, changing from transparent to opaque, and their 5 senses come into play as the brain grows at lightning speed. Around week 31, this little ball of teensy organs becomes a feeling, hearing, seeing, tasting, and smelling being. They can even taste what you eat – even more reason to teach them healthy habits right from the start.
Now’s the time to get your daily dose of calcium. Until around month 7 or 8, your baby’s skeleton is just soft cartilage. That cartilage will now turn to bone, meaning your tiny one is depending on you to supply enough calcium to complete the process. Skip the supplements and devour healthy, calcium-rich foods instead, like oranges, dates, figs, bok choy, broccoli, and oatmeal.
Get Ready to Wear Motherhood on Your Skin
You’ve been dreading it from the start, and now they’re finally here: those bulging veins, tiger-stripe stretch marks, and inflated boobs that feel like they’ll never bounce back. You’ve got two choices: be ashamed of these proud battle scars, or wear them like the badge you deserve.
It’s obvious that your body is running at maximum capacity on all fronts, including your largest organ – the skin. Stretch marks will show up in living color during the third trimester, so slather on the coconut oil to minimize their appearance later. But if men can be proud of their scars, we think women can be proud of their well-earned marks of motherhood.
You might also see spider or varicose veins appear in places you don’t remember having veins before. As circulation increases to send oxygenated blood to baby, your veins can bulge outward and become varicose, or tiny, spider web-like strands of vein will suddenly appear. If you didn’t have either of these conditions prior to pregnancy, they’ll likely disappear later. Work to prevent them by wearing compression pantyhose or socks and elevating your feet and legs whenever possible.
Your Brain is in Serious Mommy Mode
Feel like you’re forgetting something – or everything? Welcome to “mommy brain,” one of the frustrating and occasionally humorous parts of the third trimester. From the moment of conception, a woman’s brain begins to change, reducing the amount of grey matter – that’s the stuff that helps you perform daily tasks – and thus making the brain more efficient .
In short, your brain is re-wiring itself to assist your transformation into a nurturing mother with a deep connection to her child’s needs.
This big change can also make you feel like you’re losing your mind. Just prepare yourself with an extra 10 minutes to find the car keys, and don’t be ashamed if you can’t remember names or what to get at the grocery store. Keep your smart phone’s note section handy and you’ll survive!
Let’s Get Physical(ly Impaired)
Now comes the fun stuff! You’ll almost beg for morning sickness in exchange for all the ways your body is constantly reminding you that yep, you are indeed still very pregnant.
Back and abdominal aches, fatigue, swollen ankles, heartburn, and Braxton-Hicks contractions are just a sprinkling of what you’ll endure these last few weeks. Picture your body like an office full of creative teams trying to pull together the final touches on a huge project and you’ll get an idea of what your insides are going through at the moment.
You’ll start to feel your uterus revving it’s engines with Braxton Hicks contractions . These mini muscle contractions will feel like period cramps and are flexing those uterine muscles in preparation for the big day. They might feel a bit like actual labor, but they’re not strong enough to push baby out yet.
The Calm Before the Storm
Though it feels like your body is punishing you for having sex 9 months ago, this is your last chance to get in some serious me-time before you’re attached to the babe 24/7 for the foreseeable future. The best advice is just to take it easy. Take leave from work if you can. Don’t worry, there will be other opportunities to show off your mad career skills when you’re not on mom duty. Don’t feel pressured to be out and about. Eat all those boringly healthy foods you’ve been putting off. Take hot baths in Epsom salts. Moisturize with yummy coconut or almond oils, and nudge your partner into finally delivering on those promises of a massage.
You’ve got a tiring and fortunately incredible road ahead of you, new mom. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy these last glowing weeks of being a vessel of safety and nourishment to your baby.
Colleen began her sexual wellness career as a sex toy educator in manufacturing and retail. She has since branched out as a writer and marketer, covering all facets of sexual health and anatomy. At Intimina, she specializes in women’s medical care and health concerns, menstruation, sex and pregnancy, and birth control. Colleen frequently confers with top sex educators and intimate wellness experts to stay on top of the constantly changing sexual wellness space.