There's so many changes that happen within the third trimester alone. All of a sudden I felt REALLY pregnant. Things got REALLY real. Time started to move REALLY quickly. Here's a couple of things that I experienced in the third trimester -
This became a definite thing. I felt like I was physically unable of walking normally because of all the weight sitting in my pelvis. I had always seen pregnant women waddling around and never understood how it could be comfortable, but it feels so much better on your pelvis to waddle back and forth than to try and walk upright. Strange, but real.
Round Ligament Pain.
Wow. This became a big thing. The round ligaments are the tiny strings that hold your belly up. They start out the thickness of dental floss and end up being as thick as your pinkie towards the end of pregnancy since they're holding up so much weight. When they are strained they make your belly feel tight, sharp pains. The chiropractor helped so much with this - she would massage my belly when I went in for adjustments & made room for baby. If you experience round ligament pain, I highly recommend a belly band to support your belly, seeing a chiropractor regularly, and rebozo stretches - these helped me a ton!
Braxton Hicks contractions.
AKA not actual contractions, but "practice contractions" your uterus does throughout pregnancy. They become more noticeable in the third trimester - mostly because your belly is bigger. They felt like a tightening of my skin on my stomach, but weren't painful.
Pelvic bone pain.
As the baby gets bigger, they put more and more pressure on your bones. That hormone, Relaxin, is flowing through your body as baby grows to make room, and it loosens your bones. My pelvic bone felt like it was crumbling under all of the pressure. Seeing a chiropractor weekly helped a ton with this as well - she would adjust my pelvic bone and spine when I saw her which helped ease some pain. Additionally, Spinning Babies has some good stretches we did nightly that Harrison and I found helpful, and was a fun way to include him!
I had never struggled with sleeping until I hit the third trimester of pregnancy. Going to sleep wasn't an issue, it was staying asleep that was hard. I found myself waking up in the middle of the night, wide awake in bed. I found that reading or laying in bed was helpful for me.
Group B Strep Test.
This is something that my provider will had me do around 36 weeks or so. They basically test you for a susceptibility to infection during labor. It can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, but most providers will recommend that if you test positive for GBS, that you go through a couple rounds of antibiotics once your water breaks to make sure you and baby are safe during labor. The test itself is a little odd, they have you stick a q-tip inside your vagina and then inside your rectum - so be prepared to get familiar with yourself down there LOL.
The first time my midwives checked my dilation was at 38 weeks pregnant. They use their fingers to measure how dilated (opened up) and effaced (thinned out) your cervix is. Sometimes they'll check the station of the baby too (how low they are in your pelvis). It's definitely uncomfortable, but not the worst thing and is super fast - it took her about 10 or 15 seconds total, and was the first time I had anything stuck up *there* all of pregnancy. I found it exciting to hear about the progress I was making! Here's how mine went: 37 weeks - 1 cm dilated & 60% effaced; 38 weeks - 2 cm dilated & 80% effaced, baby was at a -1 station; 39 weeks - 3 cm dilated, 90% effaced, baby was at a 0 station.
Sweeping the Membranes.
This was something my provider did at 39 weeks pregnant, and then again at my 40 week appointment since I was past my due date. Not all providers tell you before they do this - so make sure you do your research & ask your provider if this is a routine thing for them or not! My midwives only do this if you ask for it. Ouch - this was uncomfortable. Not horrible, but definitely uncomfy. Basically, while they check your cervix, they hook their fingers in between your cervix and the amniotic sac and separate the two, rubbing their fingers on the inside of your uterus. This releases prostaglandins, which have hormones in them that can help jump start labor. They say if it is a successful sweep, you could go into labor within 24-48 hours. In total, it took between 30-45 seconds, but definitely left me feeling crampy and sore afterwards.
Natural things we tried for induction. We're gettin real here, yall.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea - prepares uterus
60-80g of dates per day - softens cervix
Evening Primrose Oil (*cough* inserted...down there *cough*) - softens cervix
Sex - releases oxytocin (which cause contractions & semen has prostaglandins that soften cervix)
The Miles Circuit
Bouncing on an exercise ball
Going on walks & "curb walking"
Clary Sage oil
Pedicures & massaging pressure points
The third trimester is legit, yall. Things start getting real, discomforts are at an all time high, and the anticipation for your little one is ROUGH. Going past my due date was emotionally exhausting and I was not prepared for the waiting game the last couple of weeks. Most first time moms go past their due date, so prepare a date night with the hubs, try to relax, schedule a massage, pack your bag and pray for patience! They will come. You are almost there!!!