I can’t believe baby is almost here! Recapping my third trimester and providing recommendations for some of my favorite things during this trimester!
YOU GUYS. HOW AM I HERE?! It sounds cheesy saying it but it honestly does feel like yesterday that I was writing my first trimester recap and sharing the news with you all! I can’t believe I’m 38 weeks now writing this post and knowing that baby could make his debut any day now. It’s wild and eliciting ALL THE FEELS.
I feel like overall the third trimester was pretty good to me but I definitely understand now why people say the second trimester is the sweet spot. As soon as I entered the third trimester, like clockwork, I was like wait a minute, where did all my energy go?! The first half of the third trimester was definitely easier and the second half has been rough – let’s dive right into symptoms, shall we?!
Third Trimester Physical Symptoms
Fatigue: I’m not kidding when I said this came on like clockwork. I’m pretty sure it was that very first week of the third trimester when all the sudden I was like why am I so tired? It kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. And then I’ve been tired pretty much since but it ebbs and flows – some days I’m more fatigued than others. I remember feeling slightly panicked though when the fatigue came on because I had a never ending to-do list to tackle before baby and I’m like ohhhh this is why people say to get more done to prepare in the second trimester :). It all worked out though and I don’t think I was mentally ready to start tackling some of the things on our to-do list until the third trimester anyway.
Heartburn/acid reflux: I talked about this one in my second trimester recap and unfortunately for me it never really went away. I did get some relief with the Carafate medication but not total relief. During this trimester, I finally picked up some Pepcid and have taken it a few times when it’s been really bad. As baby has dropped though, I think it’s created a little bit more space for my stomach/GI tract because I don’t think it’s as bad as it has been.
Constipation: I also talked about this in my second trimester recap. For the most part this was okay during my third trimester, although I had a couple bouts of it. I tried drinking prune juice but I can’t say it was a miracle worker. I also started working with a pelvic floor physical therapist around 32 weeks and she coached me through some strategies (breathing, positioning) to avoid straining, which have been helpful!
Swollen hands and feet: I think this started like halfway through the third trimester. My swelling was always mild but it did result in mildly painful stiff hands. Especially at night when I wake up in the middle of the night I always feel like my hands are painfully stiff. And then a couple weeks ago, I noticed that my thumbs were double-jointed, which is so strange. I’m chocking this up to hyper-mobility and joint laxity and keeping my fingers crossed it goes away postpartum!
Pubic Symphysis Pain/Dysfunction: This is the new physical symptom that ever so kindly decided to show up around 34 weeks. I had been hearing this term thrown around a lot at my weekly virtual prenatal yoga classes by some of the other women on the call during our check-ins at the beginning of class. It seemed to be fairly common – at least one person a week on the call would mention it. But I didn’t really know what it was and didn’t look into it or anything. But sure enough around week 34 I started having this acute, sharp, pain in my right groin that kind of felt like a painful muscle spasm / bolt of lightning. It wasn’t constant but it would happen with walking, getting up from sitting to standing, and sometimes just standing still. Dr. Google told me this was likely pubic symphysis pain when I typed my symptoms into the search box. And then in talking to my prenatal yoga teacher and my pelvic floor PT, they both agreed that is what I was experiencing. YAY!
I’m not surprised that I’ve been dealing with this though as I have a history of pelvic floor dysfunction, which is what prompted me to seek out pelvic floor PT at 32 weeks (I probably would’ve gone earlier in my pregnancy if it weren’t for COVID and trying to minimize exposure). From what I’ve read about 25% of pregnant women will experience Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction (SPD). It occurs when the pelvic bone becomes too relaxed / stretchy before birth thanks to relaxin, the hormone that makes your ligaments stretchy so that baby can enter the world.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do for this in terms of treatment but for most women this goes away with delivery and as relaxin production slows down. But I’ve been working on some movement modifications to help reduce the pain like keeping my knees close together when getting in and out of bed/the car/out of a chair, and am taking very very short strides when walking. My PT tried using kinesiology tape around my belly last week but I didn’t notice a difference in pain (and that tape was incredibly painful to pull off!). I’ve done some stability exercises for my pelvic floor too like squeezing a yoga block between my thighs and pushing out on a strap around my thighs, but other than that I’ve had to take a big step back from any exercise/physical activity I was doing.
Third Trimester Emotions
Name any emotion and I’m sure I’ve experienced it over the last three months. Out of all three trimesters, I think I was most tearful during this last one. I noticed I was easily triggered by little things and would start feeling a cry coming on. I also had anxiety about getting all the things done on our to-do list. I remember at the beginning of the trimester thinking we had plenty of time as people would ask us if we had the nursery set up or our crib yet. I was like we have three whole months to work on this stuff; we’re fine. And then quickly my attitude changed, especially as I started realizing a lot of the items we wanted for the nursery were out of stock.
Now as I sit here and the nursery is complete and our hospital bags are packed and the car seat is installed, that anxiety has diminished. But now I’m feeling nervous about other things lol like this HUGE life transition and hoping that the baby will be healthy. I also have waves of grief where I feel sad about it no longer being a party of two at home – Steve and I have been partners in crime for a gajillion years now (like 18+ to be exact) and it’s strange to think about adding another member to our home. And it’s also exciting too and I can’t wait to watch Steve evolve into his new role as a Dad (oh jeeze I’m feeling teary-eyed right now writing this). He’s going to be the best Dad. There is also grief around letting go of my independence and my business being my only baby. I’m letting myself feel all the feelings that come up so that I can also be present for the waves of excitement and joy and love that come up too.
I’m working on surrendering to loss of control I’m about to experience. I know these first few months with baby are going to be messy and chaotic and wonderful and beautiful and hard and rewarding and I hope that I can let go of the reigns and surrender to the process. Letting myself be imperfect and a learner. Giving myself lots of grace and compassion along the way.
Getting the Vaccination While Pregnant
Speaking of emotions, this was a really tough decision for me, and I shared my personal story on Instagram (although decided to take it down after realizing I posted the card with some of my info on it). But I’ll share it again here in case it’s helpful for anyone. I got my first shot at 30/31(?) weeks I believe and my second at 34 (almost 35) weeks.
35 weeks and vaccinated! It wasn’t all smiles to get to this point though. In fact, there were a lot of tears shed, anxiety, and feelings of overwhelm trying to make a decision around whether I would get vaccinated while pregnant.
Since this is such a personal decision, I wasn’t sure I would share here. But I ultimately decided to because for me, seeing other pregnant folks getting the vaccine made me feel less alone in this decision.
Being pregnant is already an extremely vulnerable time. Throw a pandemic on top of that. And my underlying anxiety disorder. Raging pregnancy hormones. And then this unchartered decision. At times, it felt too much to handle. So I didn’t. For a while, I avoided it. Focusing on the other tasks at hand preparing for baby.
But as more and more preliminary data on the vaccine and pregnancy emerged coupled with me getting later and later in my pregnancy, it became harder to ignore.
For me the turning point was a recent study conducted out of a couple of the top hospitals in the country that we’re lucky enough to have right here in Boston. The study was small, of course, but it followed pregnant and lactating health professionals who received the vaccine and found that the majority passed on antibodies through the placenta or breastmilk. I knew there was speculation around antibody transfer but seeing the data confirm it was a game changer for me personally. I wanted to give my babe the best shot at being protected when he enters this world and felt getting vaccinated would do just that.
Unknowns are scary. Not having all the information at hand is scary. But when it comes to pregnancy, there are always unknowns and risks with every choice, not just with this vaccine. I ultimately chose to ground myself in the science we do have available (the Vsafe registry data on pregnant women now published in the New England Journal of Medicine also helped me!), had conversations with my providers, and listened to what multiple experts in obstetrics and maternal fetal medicine had to say about the vaccine and pregnancy. And as an added bonus, the day I got my second shot, the CDC released a statement that based on the literature that was published to date, they recommended the vaccine during pregnancy.
If you’re struggling with the decision, just know that I see you and it’s okay to be uncertain. It’s okay to change your mind. If you’d asked me in my second trimester if I was getting the vaccine while pregnant, I probably would’ve said no, but I remained open to emerging research and felt more confident to get it later on in my pregnancy.
Movement During the Third Trimester
I stuck with my weekly prenatal yoga class as it always felt good in my body and in my soul to connect with other pregnant women, even if just virtually. I kept up with regular walks which got increasingly more enjoyable as the weather started to warm up. I noticed myself getting bored with the same two pilates videos I rotated through on Glo.com so I signed up for a barre 3 online membership and started doing their prenatal series, which I enjoyed and seemed to help with energy and as there was usually a little more cardio in those videos than the pilates I was doing.
After my SPD started though, I pulled back and stopped doing barre classes as they seemed to be aggravating it. In yoga, I’m heavily modifying. And walks are much shorter, slower, and less frequent these days. I’m trying to keep up with some stretching and the pelvic floor stabilizing exercises but mostly I’m just trying to listen to my body and slow down.
Eating During the Third Trimester
Luckily, not much changed from the second trimester once I started to feel better. I did start to come around more to animal proteins like eggs, chicken and fish though. Still eating a ton of dairy, and pretty much have a sweet every night before bed – still loving ice cream in the evening. I’ve also been very into smoothie bowls for breakfast this trimester, which is new. Apparently this baby likes food trends from 2014 ;). Oh, and daily iced chai lattes have become a thing recently. I just use the chai tea concentrate from Trader Joe’s and mix it with almond milk – always hits the spot!
Favorite Maternity Clothes
As the weather has gotten warmer, I’ve bought a few new items to help me get by:
Motherhood Maternity Relaxed Fit Maternity Jumpsuit (affiliate link): this one is super comfy and light weight – perfect for spring with a light jacket and for the upcoming summer months.
Motherhood Maternity Rib Knit T-Shirt Dress: I bought this to wear for our virtual baby shower but I love wearing it on a warm day too. It’s tight but really comfy and stretchy and shows off my bump :). Looks like it’s currently 50% off too! Check out the photo below under the baby shower.
I also bought a flowy top from Motherhood Maternity but it looks like it’s out of stock :(.
PinkBlush Rust Lace Mesh Overlay Maternity Maxi Dress: bought this for our maternity shoot (see pics below!) and love love loved it!
Other than that, I’ve pretty much been wearing the items I mentioned in my second trimester recap – lots of leggings and looser tops.
Other Third Trimester Favorites
Our virtual baby shower! Of course I wish we could’ve seen loved ones in-person but it was still really nice to see family and friends on Zoom and feel all the love from afar.
Our maternity photo shoot. We found a magical photographer out of New Hampshire and even though I knew I liked her style, the photos still blew me away. I almost cried when I saw them :).
Designing/setting up the nursery/nesting. Hopefully I’ll share more soon in a separate post about the nursery with links to items, etc.!
8 Sheeps Organic Sleepy Body Lotion. A few people in my prenatal yoga class recommended this one to someone who was having restless legs at night. And when I started to get that plus horrible random charlie horses at night, I ordered this lotion for myself. It’s made with magnesium and so it helps to relax your muscles. I do think it’s helped me at night. I’ve even had Steve rub it on my low back before bed if I’m feeling tight or achy.
Promise Leg Ease Cooling Spray. This came in one of my Bump Boxes and it’s been nice to spray on my feet/calves when they are swollen or feeling warm.
Hot Mess Ice Roller. A friend gifted me this and while I don’t like her branding, I do love the product. I’ve been running warm throughout my pregnancy and probably more so in this trimester, so this ice roller is so refreshing to use when I’m feeling overheated. I store it in the freezer and take it out when I need it, using it on my face, neck, chest, arms, wrists, etc.
Plans for Maternity Leave
I’m planning to take four months off of work and this is my last week in the office! Luckily, I have an awesome team who is going to be holding down the fort while I’m out. What does that mean for the blog? We’ve got new posts lined up for every other week while I’m off so you can still pop back here regularly for new content! It will be a mix of intuitive eating posts and recipe round-ups. We’ll get back to new recipes here in the fall.
I may pop back on the blog here and there to share lifestyle-related posts like the nursery reveal, birth story, postpartum essentials, etc. but I’m not going to make any promises because I may just want to soak up all the newborn snuggles :). And if you want to know when baby boy arrives, make sure you’re following me on Instagram!
If you have any questions about the third trimester or my other pregnancy posts, feel free to leave a comment below! XO
For more pregnancy-related content check out my posts below: