Nov 26, 2020

Third Trimester Symptoms

I'm 34 weeks pregnant! 

Just saying (or writing) that still feels so strange. It feels like I've been pregnant forever, but it also feels like just yesterday that I was staring at my first positive pregnancy test in utter disbelief. 
Christmas Mug
And yet next week is already December?! 

How did that happen? 

I'm always super excited for December, because Christmas is by far my favorite time of year, but this year the arrival of the holiday season is weightier than usual. 

My 36 week scan is the second week of December and by Christmas our baby could really arrive any time!

I'm looking forward to watching cozy Christmas movies with my husband, playing Christmas music around the clock, and maybe doing some Christmas cookie baking if I haven't totally succumbed to third trimester fatigue yet.

I've been pretty lucky as far as third trimester symptoms go. While the first trimester was pretty rough with morning sickness, I've been feeling pretty great all second and third trimester! 
Third Trimester Symptoms Pregnancy
I have only slightly lower energy than usual during the day, but I wear out a lot faster. It's not at all unheard of for me to fall asleep at 8 or 9pm, much to my husband's dismay! He has to stay up alone and cuddle with the cats until it's a reasonable hour for an adult to go to sleep. 

I also still have some trouble concentrating on non-baby things, which could be due to my anemia or could just be the excitement of becoming a first time mom making me completely preoccupied with all things baby and pregnancy. 

Speaking of anemia, I've been on iron supplements since my first prenatal appointment, when they discovered that I'm a little low on iron. The supplements have helped keep my anemia in the moderate range even as my body and the baby have been demanding more and more iron. Now at 34 weeks I've hit the peak volume of blood I'll ever have in my body - 40% more than what it is when I'm not pregnant!

The drawback of iron supplements is that they're not too kind to my digestive system. It's nothing compared to first trimester nausea, but I do struggle with indigestion most evenings. All the more reason to go to bed early and speed the arrival of the next morning! Mornings are my best time.

Third Trimester Glow PregnancyOne thing pregnant ladies wonder a lot about is the glow. 

It's completely understandable, in my opinion! 

Most pregnancy symptoms are more of a struggle. 

You're bloated. You're tired. You're nauseous. You're gassy. You waddle. You cry at the silliest things. You have ridiculous cravings. None of your normal clothes fit anymore. Your fingers might even swell up, so you can't wear your wedding ring anymore. The list goes on. 

So if there's a pregnancy symptom that's positive - hey, we're all for it!

My skin has always been my most complimented feature, so I was curious what pregnancy would do to it. 

Nov 20, 2020

Preparing for the Baby's Arrival

I just had my 33 week checkup, which means my next checkup will already be the 36 week checkup. That's the start of the ninth month of pregnancy, things are getting so real! 

Third trimester baby bumpI don't know if it's just me, but this year has been absolutely flying by. In a lot of ways I feel like I just found out that I was pregnant and here I am, already coming to the end of the journey. This is one end that will definitely be a new beginning!                                                                                                                    At my 36 week appointment I'll be tested for group B strep bacteria (mothers who test positive receive antibiotics during labor to avoid infecting the baby) and I'll also have an ultrasound to check on her growth and position. At that point it's also anyone's guess how things progress - plenty of people end up scheduling an induction after that appointment, or being told that their cervix is already dilating!                                                                                        Knowing that my 36 week checkup is on the horizon, I've begun preparing for our little one's arrival.                                                                                     I washed all her tiny little outfits with a scent-free baby laundry detergent, as well as her burp cloths, bibs, receiving blankets, and the covers of my breastfeeding pillow and her baby lounger. Pretty much everything that will come in direct contact with her skin and is washable has been washed.

32 week baby bumpI've assembled what can be assembled and enlisted my husband's help to set up her pink noise machine and baby monitor. We're still waiting for a few things to be delivered - our stroller, car seat, diaper bag, and nursery glider - but we have most of it.                                                               I plan to sterilize the baby bottles, pacifiers, and pump parts this weekend. I'll also need to clear a kitchen cupboard to store everything for easy access.                                                               I've slowly started packing my hospital bag. I'm trying to limit myself to a single rolling duffle pack and I'm stuffing it with a comfy robe, my postpartum kit, shower flip flops, toiletries, a TENS machine (who knows if I'll end up using it, but I've read that it can be helpful for pain relief), an external battery to keep my phone charged even if labor drags on, and more. This bag will have to pull a Mary Poppins-esque feat off!

Nov 12, 2020

Strategies for Natural Induction

Since hitting 8 months of pregnancy earlier this week (whoot!) I've been thinking more and more about the fact that there's a decent chance I'll have a baby in my arms next month. I'm torn between not feeling quite ready yet, and being quite excited to finish pregnancy and begin the next adventure.

Healthy pregnancy advice

Babies come when they want, so of course I know this is wishful thinking, but my ideal day for her to come would be New Year's Eve. 

With third trimester fatigue, which has been sending me to bed by 9 or 10pm most nights, being actively in labor is the only way I'll manage to stay up until midnight! She'll also be 39 weeks at that point, which is fully cooked.

Maternity photoshoot ideas

But... both my husband and I were late, as were all of our siblings. Looking at familial history, it seems that I have a decent shot of going until 41+ weeks if I just go with the flow. 

My husband was so comfy in-utero that his mother had to be medically induced to have him at all! If possible, I'd like to avoid that. 

Strategies for natural induction pregnancy

For starters, I'd prefer she comes a week early to a week late. I'm ready to be the sole occupant of my body again!

On top of that, induction via pitocin can trigger stronger contractions than you'd otherwise having, making it more difficult to avoid an epidural and the intervention cascade. 

While I understand that every labor is unique and things will likely change on the day, my ideal birth plan is a medication-free vaginal delivery.

Third trimester pregnancy

Around 38 weeks (but not on Christmas Eve/Christmas!) I'll begin trying some natural induction strategies. 

Some of the strategies I'm going to share (and try) have more scientific research backing them than others - for example, both eating 6+ dates daily and drinking raspberry leaf tea are associated with shorter, "easier" labors, and have been shown in multiple studies to help with cervical ripening. 

Smiling pregnant woman

Other things, like bouncing on a ball or walking up stairs sideways, don't have the same backing and are more folklore. I'll try it all to get this baby out a little early or on time!

Eating 6+ dates daily

32 weeks pregnantI'm a big fan of dates, so I see no reason not to do this one. Especially because it's one of the few labor kick-starting strategies with a solid amount of scientific research backing it up!

While the research does not, unfortunately, support that eating dates induces labor, they do find that regular date consumers have significantly shorter labors, due to a shortening of the first stage of labor. 

To have an effect, you'll need to eat at least 6 dates every day for the last 4-6 weeks of your pregnancy. 

I've already been enjoying dates here and there, just because I like them, but starting at 34 weeks on the dot (that's in less than two weeks!) I'll start making sure to get them in every day. 

Some of my favorite ways to eat dates are with a nut butter (usually almond butter or peanut butter, as those are the ones we have in the house), stuffed with nuts (peanuts or walnuts), stuffed with dark chocolate, or chopped over Greek yogurt. 

If you're not a big fan of dates, you can try hiding them in smoothies (bonus: they'll naturally sweeten the smoothie), wrapping them in bacon, stuffing them with cream cheese, or eating date-rich bars like Lara bars. 

Drinking raspberry leaf tea

I've heard raspberry leaf tea's effects likened to a workout for your uterus. It helps with uterine tone, and having a 'fitter' uterus can help make contractions more effective!

How to have a healthy pregnancy

Plus it actually tastes really good, especially lightly sweetened with honey or stevia. I've been enjoying a nice cuppa' since right around the beginning of the third trimester, but usually stick to just a cup of tea a day.

When it gets closer to the big day, I'll try to scale up to a more targeted 2-3 cups every single day. We'll see if it helps!

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