You’ve made it to the final str-e-tch, congrats Mama! The end is almost in sight. In your Third Trimester, you may be starting to feel the strain of these final months of pregnancy, both physically and mentally.
So, take a step back and breathe. She helped you through your first trimester and now, our Mama Sarah is back with her top Third Trimester survival tips – you got this, Mama!
Ugh. That dreaded burning in your chest that strikes just as your head hits the pillow. Heartburn: another one of the oh-so-fun pregnancy symptoms that may decide to crop up right about now.
- Eating little and often and avoiding large meals can really help to reduce the severity of heartburn and prevent uncomfortable bloating
- Always have a bottle of Gaviscon to hand. It’s pregnancy safe and they do it in an aniseed or mint flavour. Mine has been so bad both times that I’ve had to skip the regular strength and go straight to the stronger one in the pink bottle. I find the tablet form more effective than the liquid; I like to keep both easily accessible
- Sleep with an extra pillow at night so your head is elevated
- Keep a food diary to find out what your ‘trigger’ foods are so you can avoid them where possible. Common ones are spicy food, chocolate and coffee. Mine is chocolate (boo!)
2. Restless Legs
I never suffered with this during my first pregnancy, but boy did it get me badly second time around. At first I thought I was just getting stiff legs from sleeping curled up on my side (I’m normally a back sleeper, you see). However, after one particularly bad night of what felt like a million wake ups; tossing and turning and trying to get rid of the weird sort-of-like-cramp-but-not-cramp sensation in my legs, I realised what it was. Although there’s nothing you can do to get rid of it, I have found the following things reduce the severity and number of times I’m waking up:
- Massage your legs before bed with the Mama Mio Lucky Legs Cooling Gel to relax your muscles and alleviate cramps
- Avoid all caffeine (including chocolate) after lunchtime
- Go for a half hour walk in the day or do some form of gentle exercise that involves moving your legs – whatever you can manage at this point
- Keep up the folic acid/vitamins. Not sure if this one is actually working but I read somewhere in the depths of Google that folic acid can help.
3. Poor quality sleep and fatigue
‘Sleep? What is sleep?’ is perhaps what you’re starting to think right about now. Your growing bump, pelvic pain, crazy dreams, anxiety, needing to pee multiple times a night...this list goes on.
In your third trimester, this is all part of nature’s cruel game to prepare you for having a newborn who is awake all hours of the night’ says the millionth person to you as you roll your eyes and grimace, politely ignoring their unhelpful comment.
Yes, sleep at this point is a struggle and no, it likely won’t get any better any time soon but you can take some steps to help improve both the quality and quantity of sleep you get in the meantime:
- Grab yourself a good pregnancy pillow – there are loads second hand on Facebook marketplace if you don’t want to splash out on a new one or aren’t sure which type you’ll like. A pregnancy pillow can help support your back and growing belly and make sleeping a little more comfortable. I also found adding a memory foam topper to our mattress took the pressure off my hip joints
- Regular massages to ease aches and pains and help with anxiety. You can opt for massages by a pre-natal massage therapist, or you can do them at home with the Mama Mio Tummy Rub Oil and Mama Mio Lucky Legs Cooling Gel
- Take a warm (but not too hot!) bath or shower before bed. A classic but works a treat if you’re struggling to drop off. Just be wary of adding bath oils to your bath as many of them aren’t safe to use in pregnancy. The Mama Mio Megamama Shower Milk and Mama Mio Tummy Rub Scrub are both pregnancy safe, so go on, indulge yourself Mama!
- Avoid all caffeine and sugar in the afternoon – another obvious one but it really makes such a difference
- Take a quick 20-30 minute power nap to help keep fatigue at bay. All good practice for when the b...no, I won’t be that person
4. Stretch Marks and Itchy Skin
The third trimester is the most common time for stretch marks to appear, particularly in the last 4/5 weeks and sometimes even after childbirth. The best indication of whether you’ll get them is if a direct female relative did, as they are influenced largely by genetics and skin type. However:
- Keeping your skin moisturised and hydrated can help your skin stretch to accommodate your growing bump. The Mama Mio Tummy Rub Oil and Tummy Rub Butter are the perfect pairing to keep your bump feeling silky soft and your skin hydrated in this final str-e-tch.
- If you’ve already had a few stretch marks appear, use the Mama Marks Cream daily to help them fade more quickly.
Keeping your skin hydrated can help with another common third trimester complaint: itchy skin. As your skin stretches it is common to experience some itching. However, if you feel it is becoming excessively itchy at any point consult a medical practitioner immediately as this can be a sign of a serious underlying medical issue.
5. Pelvic and back pain
Lower back and pelvic pain are common in the third trimester due to the increasing weight of your bump, the loosening of your ligaments in preparation for birth and the weakening of your core muscles.
Having suffered with pelvic girdle pain in both of my pregnancies, I really empathise with anyone going through this. As it’s hormonal, you can’t do an awful lot to stop it, but you can certainly take steps to prevent it from getting any worse. I’ve seen a women’s health physio who gave me the following tips for mild to moderate pelvic pain and lower back ache:
- Find a healthy balance between resting and continuing to exercise gently. Everyone has different limits so it’s important to find yours, which may take some experimenting. I find a half hour gentle walk a day is about my limit, otherwise I’m in agony later
- Avoid being stationary for long periods of time. Get up and move around briefly every hour when sat at a desk working or on the sofa
- If you do a desk job, get a footrest and back support for your chair to maintain good posture
- Avoid crossing your legs
- Sleep with a pillow between your knees to keep your pelvis in the correct position whilst you sleep
- Use a pelvic support belt to take the pressure off your lower back and pelvis
- Get dressed or undressed (including removing shoes) sitting down and avoid any movement that involves standing on one leg or putting the bulk of your weight on one leg
- Keep both your legs together when getting in and out of a car or bed
- Avoid heavy lifting and use a backpack instead of a handbag
- Daily squats and pelvic floor exercises! Strong glutes and a strong pelvic floor help to keep your pelvis stable. You can do squats against a wall using an exercise ball behind your lower back for support
- Regular massages by a trained specialist to ease the tension in the muscles around the pelvis and back and improve mobility
If you are suffering badly and it’s getting progressively worse, please see a specialist women’s health physio as soon as possible who will advise you on how to manage it best. Although mild to moderate pelvic pain often disappears after birth, more severe cases can cause long-term issues so it’s important to be seen by a professional.
Sarah's Third Trimester Must-haves
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