The third trimester, the final weeks of our bodies as one, two souls in the same vessel, two hearts beating. That feeling of being between two worlds as you come into the final weeks. Slowing down more than ever now, because you physically have to, and have the ability to ‘do’ less and less. Accepting love, help and support. Maternity bras, soft new pyjamas with buttons so you can soon breastfeed, the final preparations for your little ones arrival...
Welcoming the slight cravings as you understand and acknowledge that your body is asking for the nutrients of fresh orange juice, adding lemon slices to your tea, a little bit of sugar as you adjust to the energy changes, wanting a fresh cob of corn every day for a week straight and to snack on raw carrot. It’s all a part of the journey and your body is asking for it for a reason — listen to her and honour the guidance.
Seeing my midwife, chiropractor and acupuncturist every single week now, being so thankful for their support, service, guidance and expertise on this journey. Visits from our doula, with love and chocolate covered dates. I’ve never received support from women like this before.
One foot in a past dimension that is falling away, as you balance patiently to step into the next… Momentum is suspended as we anticipate her enchanting arrival.
Oh my goodness, we are here!!! I am currently 39 weeks pregnant as I type this, our little girl is full term and can come any day now 🥰 The third trimester is from week 28 until birth, and are usually born between weeks 38-42! Babies are classed as full term from week 37, and that is when I became in the clear to birth at home. If our little one came earlier then 37 weeks, I'd have to transfer to hospital. But we made it! My midwife has dropped the birth pool off, which Sam and I blew up this week and we are ready to go 👏🏼
Here's what I'll miss as my very first pregnancy comes to an end:
Waking in the night and having a little play together (only when I get up for the bathroom, she's so aware of the energy I send her that it's still sleep time and she goes right back to sleep with me, I've not woken up because of her once!). Waking up in the morning, pulling the covers off so she can see the sunlight and feeling her kick excitedly, how excited she gets when it’s time to eat, always having her with me everywhere I go (it's so beautiful that I have not once been alone these last 10 months, she is such a significant part of me). Feeling her get the hiccups, it's such a human thing that feels so endearing and makes it incredibly real that there's a little person in there ready to come out. The relief for myself and bub when we have a relaxing bath, and last but not least I'll miss not having my period! As much as I honour our cycles, it has honestly felt like such a holiday not having to worry about managing my bleed every single month.
And whilst I think I've had the easiest pregnancy in existence, this is what I won't miss! Changing sides at night being an entire Olympic sport (goodness she's heavy!), not being able to breathe deeply (or even normally!) at all, running out of breath quickly, meditation practically being impossible because that's when she decides to be most active (🤪), god damn seatbelts across a big ass belly, my hips intensely cracking every morning (they've gradually become looser and looser to the point I don't even feel the crack now, but god it's scary 😂), gradually having less and less clothes to wear as my belly shows more under even long t-shirts, unable to get clothes out of washing machine (gotta approach it side on 😅), literally being punched in the vagina as soon as her head engaged (this has been the absolute worst, my god), having leaked colostrum the entire time since 19 weeks (so many breast pads, and sleeping with a flannel on my titty's because I want some freedom), not being able to cuddle Sam properly in any way (I miss him so much), and those big-belly difficulties in putting your underwear on and drying your legs after the shower. So tricky 😂
So what has this time all looked like? Well, at the end of the second trimester I chose to stop going to the gym because I checked in with my body and just didn't want to continue. Speaking to my chiropractor about it, it may actually have been an intuitive call for me, as she told me many women who do actively workout in their third trimester often have breech babies because their pelvis is too tight for bub's head to settle into. I've stayed gently active at home, doing lots of intuitive movements on my yoga mat, stretching, moving my body as I've felt called to, doing exercises recommended by the professionals supporting me in the third trimester, lots of activities that encourage more space in my uterus for bub and to help move her into position as we came further along.
At the start of this trimester, I organised professional services to assist in relief, prevention and support. From week 32 I started visiting the chiropractor, initially with the intention of optimising my pelvis area to prepare for childbirth, but I started to have lower back pain from carrying bub and I must say that even though I didn't have too much pain compared to others, seeing a chiro is such a non-negotiable for the third trimester! From week 34 I started acupuncture, which is the earliest you can begin as the main intention is to assist in bringing on labour and prepare your body. There are an insane amount of benefits for acupuncture though, and it's actually just as effective for my back pain as it is to see the chiropractor. I have another pregnant friend who is at the same stage of gestation as me that I recommended the same practitioners to, and she prefers our acupuncturist over our chiro! Since getting acupuncture I've also been incredibly energised which I certainly did not expect at all for the end of my pregnancy journey ☺️
At the start I organised private health insurance, which I've never had in my life but my midwife wanted me to at the very least have emergency ambulance cover should things not go as smoothly as we envision. I personally chose NIB, and added the core & wellbeing extras so I could claim back an amount of my chiro and acupuncture expenses ☺️ Obviously goes without saying that this is not health or financial advice, I'm just sharing my experiences and tips! It's been so helpful to be able to claim so much and not have any financial stress as I give my body what it needs leading up to birth.
I booked in a CalmBirth course for Sam and I for when I was 30 weeks, as I felt that was when I would be ready to start diving into all things labour and birth! It was a 2 day course for $550, and it's a great broad experience for all mama's and their birth partners no matter how they're planning to birth (in a hospital or otherwise). Essentially the two days mentally prepare you for birth, while also providing an abundance of knowledge on psychology and mental strength, the physiology of birth including all labour stages (not just the super basic 1-3 that the hospital/government sites breeze over), tools and techniques for labour including acupressure points, meditation, breath work and rebozo, uncovering your fears surrounding birth and empowering you as a woman to give birth as naturally and fearlessly as possible.
We had our baby shower when I was 33 weeks, and wrote a whole blog post on what I included on my baby registry as well as what we've purchased for our nursery! It was a beautiful day at such a perfect venue, and it was so exciting for Sam and I's families to come together for the very first time! I love knowing that every person who attended, will be the same ones to come to our wedding 🥰 Little things I did for the day were:
Letters to our little girl - what you hope for in this lifetime, what your favourite memory is with her Mum/Dad, and three pieces of life advice
Painted fingerprints to create a tree of all the people who love her, to hang in the nursery
Printed headshots of Sam and I and our immediate family (our parents and siblings) as kids, for people to cut out features of what they think bub will have and glue together
The third trimester is when you start physical preparation for birth, so on top of chiropractor and acupuncture appointments to aid my body and bring on labour, I also followed these recommendations...
32 weeks: Start drinking birth tea, to prepare and nourish the uterus for labour. This is usually raspberry leaf tea, though I found a brilliant blend of raspberry leaf, nettle, peppermint and rosehip which are also highly recommended herbal aids for the end of pregnancy. This is the tea, and you're going to need about 4 jars of it as you gradually increase your intake from 1 per day to 3 per day.
34 weeks: Start perineal massage to decrease the risk of tearing and reduce pain during and after birth (hack, use it as lube too!). I use the Mere Botanicals brand as it's a small Australian business and Kate has over 20 years experience as a naturopath and is incredibly passionate about supporting new mothers on their journey. Her products are beautiful, I also have the nipple cream (I wanted the most natural product possible as bub puts her mouth there!), clary sage roller and clary sage candles for a bit of indulgence and assistance in labour
36 weeks: Eat 3-6 medjool dates per day. The benefits are incredibleeee, the main one being that it helps shorten the first stage of labour (which is the longest by far!) by 77% 🤯 This was one I could not pass up. How the hell do you eat dates though? Here's what I've done:
Cut in half, remove seed, fill centre with nut butter
Make bliss balls, here's the recipe, they're so moist and taste incredible! (I'm a picky eater too!)
Fill with nut butter and smother in vegan chocolate. My doula brought me over a container she made and I want to pay her to make some more!
So that's been my experience! Energetically I can feel her presence coming closer and closer, I often communicate with her and last night I said "if you're ready, I'm ready". For my last acupuncture appointment to help bring on labour, we did electrotherapy which I was very sensitive to this week (I hadn't felt it at all the other times!), and my midwife has said that bub's head is very low down, engaged and in the most ideal position for birth, which is left occiput anterior (LOA, basically she's head down, back against my stomach and to the left side).
Being 39 weeks now I'm getting a lot of pushing down pressure which I'm consciously surrendering to as I know it's all a part of the process, as uncomfortable as it is, and just trying to walk through it as gravity helps drop her further down. Bub is also immensely active, pushing her back and feet against my belly very frequently and for a lengthy amount of time. It feels like she's more often awake than asleep 😅
I have even more in depth notes gathered for this trimester, and this blog post could easily double in size, so Sam's told me to put everything I have learned over these last 10 months into an ebook, for me to pass on all the immense knowledge I have consumed and experienced. So that will be my next project! I also created 16 beautiful birth affirmations for myself which I'll share, and I made a "labour stages" document including early labour, active labour, transition and birth, how long the contractions go for and the time in between, physically what's happening in your body at the time, and plenty of action steps for you to take at each stage, as well as a "tools" reference in case you need to try alternate approaches to your sensations whilst in labour. Knowing I have all of that gathered for my logical mind to refer to should I need it, makes me feel so much more at ease about the process and will allow me to release from the logical thinking brain and drop into a primal state of presence and being.
I will see you all on the other side as I enter the portal in the coming days! Ah, absolute shivers while typing that... How powerful and magical the entire birth experience is.