While the final trimester of pregnancy means meeting your baby is just around the corner (!), it’s hard – really hard – work doing that last lap around the track, without daily collapsing into a puddle of exhausted tears and hormones.
But fear not, there’s help at hand.
Check out Louisa van den Bergh (Louisa van den Bergh does not endorse Infacol or any other medicine) of Lulubaby’s guide to keeping positive, healthy and energised between Week 29 and the Big Day:
“Exhaustion is one of the most common complaints I see at our antenatal classes”, says Louisa. “Many mums-to-be are still working, and so are coping with the demands of a full-time job as well as the physical challenges of late pregnancy. It can be harder to sleep as getting comfortable is tricky, and you may find that you have very intense dreams. Try to take a few breaks during the day – even closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths can help.”
She also suggests light exercise – think walking or yoga. (Yoga is a particularly good choice because of its focus on breathing and stretching – limbering you up for labour!)
If your energy is especially low, load up on green veg and include some red meat to pump up your give iron levels. But do check with your GP if the fatigue persists; anaemia during pregnancy is common, and easily treated.
ACHES AND PAINS
Things can get pretty overcrowded inside a mum-to-be, and a growing foetus means organs have to squish and make way – so shortness of breath, heartburn, and backache due to the increased load are all par for the course.
Louisa advises paying special attention to your posture by standing tall, eating small meals – that are iron-rich (to help with oxygen absorption), mild and caffeine-free, and engaging in some light exercise to alleviate the symptoms.
If you find yourself suffering from swelling, keep your feet up as much as possible, avoid standing for long periods and – seemingly counterintuitive – drink plenty of water; this will help flush the retained fluid.
NEED THE LOO, AGAIN?
A real nuisance, especially at 2am, but don’t be tempted to limit your fluid intake to avoid it. And when your bladder begs for mercy during the day, see it as a good excuse to get up and moving regularly.
COUNTING THE KICKS
A kick in the ribs (or that bursting bladder) is not exactly pleasant, yet consistent movement from your babs is a good thing. Be mindful of their activity, and if you notice a change in their daily gut-punch patterns, get it checked out.
Mini contractions, or Braxton Hicks, are totally normal and are your body’s way of training up your uterus for the big evacuation. Braxton Hicks contractions are much milder than the real thing (sorry) tend to be infrequent and irregular. As always, though, give the labour ward a call if you have any concerns.
THE WAITING GAME
The last few days leading up to your due date are filled with anticipation – which can quickly turn to impatience if you’re overdue. “[R]emain calm, keep a close eye on baby’s movements and stay as active as you can”, says Louisa.
And if you’re desperate to get things moving, forget all the wives’ tales and try snuggling between the sheets with your partner….
According to Louisa, of all the supposed tricks to induce labour, intercourse is your closest shot (cue fist-pump from the dads). She explains that orgasm could stimulate your uterus into movement, and that when having sex, you release oxytocin – a hugely important hormone when it comes to birth, as it brings on contractions.
Finally, semen contains a high number of prostaglandins, chemicals which can help to soften the cervix and stimulate labour.
And if you’re still left twiddling your thumbs post-coitus? At least it was a decent distraction…right?