Every day, your little one is looking more like a full-grown baby than a fetus. By the end of this week, he’ll weigh about 2 3/4 pounds. For the rest of the trimester, he’ll be bulking up and gaining approximately half a pound a week; between now and his birthday, he’ll double or even triple in weight. His kicks and jabs are more vigorous now, and you feel like he’s moving all the time.
The top of your uterus is four inches above your belly button, crowding your ribs and diaphragm and leaving you breathless. It’s also pressing against your bladder, which is why you’re making so many trips to the bathroom once again. The placenta, which is flat and round like a cake and delivers oxygen and nutrients to the baby, is also getting bigger; next week, it will weigh 15 ounces. Your baby may be in a head-down position already, prepared for birth. Even if he’s in a bottom-down position (called breech), there’s still time for him to turn. When he does, he’ll drop lower in your abdomen, his head engaging within the pelvic bones at the birth canal.
Do’s and Don’ts
Do feast on fatty foods, just not the ice-cream-and-greasy-bacon type. A “good” type of fat, called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), helps brain and nerve cells develop. DHA can be found in canola, flaxseed, and walnut oils–and in fatty fish like salmon. Try using walnut oil in your salad dressing.
Although you’re months away from giving birth, read as much as you can about labor and delivery. Studies show that if you understand how labor works, you may feel you have more control over the process. In turn, you’ll be less fearful and may not feel the pain as strongly as you would if you were feeling vulnerable and uninformed. Knowledge truly is power. So get the Real Poop on Labor. Sorry, Mama. Someone has to tell you the truth about childbirth. (Hint: it’s messy.)
Mom to Mom
“I wanted the experience of giving birth to my first child to be a positive one. Because I had an epidural, labor was my favorite part of my pregnancy and the most fulfilling time of my life!”–Bethany Gray, Johnston, PA
Your growing breasts need support, especially when you’re working out, so be sure to pick a good sports bra to wear for the rest of your pregnancy. Try on a few before making a final purchase to guarantee you get the best fit and in a fabric that doesn’t chafe.
Ask your doctor how to check your rectus abdominus, the central muscle that runs down the front of the abdomen and supports the back. During pregnancy it may separate by more than the width of two finger lengths, but don’t worry–the gap usually disappears after birth. Note that you should not be doing exercises that work the abdomen at this stage.
As you attend childbirth classes, let your partner know which strategies sound appealing to you and which ones put you off. Practice what you learn at home and give him plenty of feedback so he’ll have a hefty bag of tricks once you’re in labor and need his support.
Ask your child for help as you check off tasks on your to-do list. Put her to work folding baby clothes or coming up with ways to arrange the nursery.
Now that you’re in the third trimester, check with your midwife or doctor to make sure it’s still safe to have sex. Moms carrying twins should be more careful than usual since their pregnancies are considered high risk.