As I sit here at 32 and-a-half weeks pregnant, well into my third trimester, my hips ache, my ribs are starting to feel the all-too-familiar stretching pains at the end of the day, I have pelvic pressure, I feel breathless after a short walk up the stairs, and my abdominal muscles just aren't what they used to be. But even with all of that (and more), I am in no hurry for this pregnancy to end. Maybe it's because I know this will be my last or perhaps it's because I have the advantage of hindsight and know from past pregnancies that when the baby is born, I miss feeling his movements from inside (not to mention, I get a lot more sleep!). Either way, I am savoring these last few moments of pregnancy.
In the third trimester (28 weeks - birth day) many women experience new or increasing physical discomforts. From lower back ache to insomnia, your burgeoning belly is responsible for more than growing a beautiful new baby! But there is reason to enjoy and even relish your third trimester. When you get tired, discouraged or to the point of "I am so done with being pregnant," consider the following:
- You will not be pregnant forever, it just doesn't happen; babies are designed to be born!
- At no other time in life will you be as proud as you are now of a giant belly. You just don't have the same kind of glow after Thanksgiving dinner.
- Take time every day to sit with your hands on your belly and feel baby inside you. All too soon, this will be a distant memory.
- Whether you have professional maternity pictures taken or set up your camera's self-timer, be sure to capture some of the last and most pronounced images of your pregnant self. Even if you don't enjoy seeing yourself pregnant, your child will love seeing a picture of mommy when she was in her tummy.
- Brush off comments like "Twins?" "Have you had that baby yet?" and "Wow, you must be due any day!" from well-meaning friends, family and strangers. Smile and give your canned response (or a clever, snarky one) and take pride in the fact that your body grew this amazing huge belly that people love to discuss.
- Even if you are waking up 6 times at night to pee, you will -- I repeat -- you will get more sleep now than when baby comes. You can't bank sleep, but you can enjoy it.
- If you are one to enjoy the extra attention you receive during pregnancy, soak it up! When baby comes, that attention will shift. If the extra attention makes your skin crawl, know that it will soon be over! People will start asking to hold your baby instead of asking to rub your belly.
- It doesn't take a professional prenatal massage to soothe all of your aches and pains. Something as simple as a foot rub, a pedicure, a long hot shower, a dip in a pool or a 30-minute nap can recharge your body and revive your soul.
The "home stretch" of pregnancy may feel long, but in the scheme of life, it's so short. Taking moments to enjoy the final weeks of your pregnancy will help you appreciate the experience throughout your life.
Share your tips and tricks! What are you doing -- or did you do -- to enjoy your third trimester?