Amidst the daily pains and pressures of pregnancy, and the worry about the long-term well-being of the baby, moms might forget about everything that happens before birth. Just about everything a woman does, especially in the third trimester, can impact the way that the baby's delivery will go.
Those last three months of pregnancy involve a lot of preparation, but moms shouldn't simply focus on the nursery and stocking up on baby clothes and diapers. Moms need to think about their exercise routine — but not just for their legs or arms. Their yoga session could actually make a difference in the delivery. We know that women try to keep the pain and worry of childbirth out of their minds because it's worrisome, but facing it these head-on and going through some self-care can keep it from being so hard. Making wise choices might help stave off complications or even reduce the pain, and that is worth adding a few items to the third-trimester to-do list.
Contractions are hard enough to deal with without knowing that moms could have avoided the thick of it, so we have some tips. If mom did 10 of these 20 things in the third trimester, labor could be more difficult.
20 Overindulging Can Make It Harder
Cravings are hard to resist, but if a mom overdoes it throughout her pregnancy, especially in the third trimester, she might end up with a much more difficult labor and delivery. While there are other factors, in general, the more a mom-to-be puts on, the bigger her baby will be, and that could present trouble.
While newborns are bigger these days than they used to, women's pelvises are pretty much the same size. That means more women are having difficulty pushing the baby out, which could lead to complications including a C-section. The labor experience could be more a much more trying ordeal, so do your best to avoid overindulging.
19 Missing Out On Kegels
Hormones and other natural processes do the most in preparing a woman's body for labor and delivery, but there are some special exercises that can help in getting the strength to push the baby out. A few discrete tightenings of the pelvic floor muscles known as Kegel exercises can make a big difference.
Doctors and midwives recommend that a woman try to stop herself while going number one in the bathroom to figure out which muscles are the right ones for Kegels. A mom-to-be should be doing several sets of reps every day in the third trimester so those every-important muscles are keyed up for the work they have to do during the delivery.
18 When The Birth Plan Isn't Flexible
A birth plan is a great opportunity for a woman to give her preferences for her delivery, and it can help in communicating with healthcare professionals. But when a woman is working on a birth plan in the third trimester, the last thing she can be is inflexible.
Very few births go as planned, so moms should research what can go wrong and plan how the mom wants to deal with it. With an inflexible plan, a mom might be disappointed in an emergency C-section, even if it saves her baby's life. So, in the third trimester, it's time to research and be open to changing your plan based on the circumstances.
17 Avoiding Breech
Sometime in the third trimester, most babies settle into the head down position that is needed for a safe natural delivery, but sometimes the baby is breech. That means the last month or two of pregnancy can be devoted to helping the baby turn.
There are some natural remedies to try, such as inversions, music, and aromatherapy. Closer to the due date, doctors can recommend an external cephalic version, which could cause labor to start. Many doctors won't try for a natural delivery with a breech baby because of the risks, so if a mom doesn't work out the baby position in the third trimester, it might mean a C-section will be scheduled.
16 Posture Problems
Between the baby bump and the back pain, it can be understandable that a mom-to-be doesn't always have the best posture. But according to natural birth advocates at Spinning Babies, bad posture in the third trimester can make for a more difficult birth.
That's because good posture allows gravity to do its job in moving the baby into the proper position for birth. Once the baby is in the right position, the cervix will start thinning on its own and begin to dilate. Gravity will trigger the natural processes of birth, and thanks to good posture, things can go more smoothly and quickly.
15 From Not Enough Exercise To Too Much Exercise
We've already said that exercise is a good thing when you are in your third trimester, and that is true, but it's also possible that there is such a thing as too much exercise. Research has found that women who exercise in excess might have a problem getting through labor and delivery.
It's not clear how much time working out is too much. Moms need to be strong, but they need to be sure that they don't get hurt, that they don't strain a muscle or cause a problem with the baby's position. Doctors recommend that moms go through low or medium intensity workouts in the third trimester and skip the high-intensity ones.
14 Extra Stress
Having a baby can be stressful. Moms have a lot on their minds — from setting up the nursery to figuring out the finances and the medical and physical issues that impact the mom and the baby. But, unfortunately, stress can be a problem when a mom is preparing for delivery.
Labor and delivery is a stressful process in and of itself, and moms do better when they are able to relax through the contractions. Too much stress in the third trimester can definitely make it harder to do that, so do what you can to relax in those final few months before the birth.
13 Didn't Practice With Labor Coach
Going into the delivery room is always easier with a partner. It could be the dad or a family member or a friend, but having someone who acts as a labor coach can go a long way to making the experience go better. In the third trimester, it's a good idea to practice with the coach so that they are on the same page in the delivery room.
A labor coach can help with the breathing and do things like massage the back and help the mom remember positions that might help her feel more comfortable. Talking about those strategies in the final months of pregnancy can make the labor go more smoothly for everybody.
12 Not Clearing The Exit Path
One of the biggest fears that pregnant women have about labor and delivery is their concern that they might go number two during the delivery. It happens to some women, and once a mom-to-be hears of the possibility, she wants to avoid the potentially embarrassing experience.
So, clearing the area before the labor begins is something that might help reduce stress and make the pushing phase a little easier. Nature often takes care of that, since a precursor to contractions can be diarrhea. Doctors used to recommend enemas to clear out things before induction, but that isn't always on the agenda these days, even though it could make things go better.
11 Pregnancy Mental Health
The third trimester can be a difficult time for some women. Pregnancy hormones can cause some issues with mental health, including depression and obsessive compulsion disorder, even if a woman has never encountered those issues before.
Doctors recommend that women get treatment for their mental health concerns, which can come with talk therapy or meds because that can make mom and baby healthier. A woman needs to be mentally strong to get through labor and delivery and be in the best state to meet her newborn. Hormonal changes after birth can cause postpartum depression, so it's best to get the issues under control in the third trimester in time for a smoother delivery.
10 Letting Things Go Too Long
Medical inductions have a bad reputation these days, but whether a mom tries to get things started the natural way or she uses some pain meds, there are times when that can make things go a lot better than they would if the pregnancy went too long.
Some moms can go a couple of weeks after the due date safely, but the baby is bigger and it can be harder to push him out. Others could face complications if they have bodily issues like gestational diabetes. At some point late in the third-trimester, moms-to-be should consider trying natural kick-starters, like walking and spicy foods or even meds so that labor is less difficult.
9 Not Listening To The Doctor
A woman's healthcare provider is really important to how the delivery will go. But the doctor can't do it alone. If mom doesn't listen to his advice, then things aren't going to go well. This is especially true for women who have complications like high body pressure or gestational diabetes, but all moms need to heed their doctor's advice.
If the mom and doctor have discussed birth during the third trimester, then the mom will feel more confident in the doctor's care. Most OBs have the health of the mom and the baby as their top priorities, so it's a good idea to listen to what they have to say.
8 Missing A Childbirth Class
The third trimester is a key time for parents to get educated about the birthing process, and one of the best ways to do that is to attend childbirth classes. Moms-to-be can get a tour of the maternity ward in the hospital and talk to experts about various birthing options and complications that can arise.
Childbirth classes often include some information on how to handle pain naturally via breathing methods and positions. The classes don't necessarily make the labor and delivery easier, but if mom doesn't do them, then she might find things harder since she doesn't have the tools or the knowledge that gives her confidence to get through the experience.
7 Not Enough Self Care
It can be difficult for Millennial moms-to-be to find the time and energy to do the things that can help her feel good physically and mentally. That might be because of the way that women have to shift their lives to make their baby a top priority, but the truth is that self-care can do a lot of good.
Things like massages and pedicures can help a mom-to-be relax and de-stress. While things like a glass of wine and a turn in the warm tub can't happen during the third trimester, moms should do what they can to make themselves feel well cared for so they can feel relaxed and confident during the birth.
6 Not Getting Enough Rest
Pregnancy exhaustion is a real thing. It starts in the first trimester because of the hormones, but it can continue throughout the pregnancy and rear its ugly head in the third trimester when it gets a lot harder to sleep between the kicks and the heartburn.
While there are a lot of things to get done before the birth, it's just as important for moms-to-be to get rest in those final few weeks. They might want to clean and old all the baby clothes and stay up all night prepping meals for the freezer, but taking a nap can make a difference in saving up energy for a marathon-esque labor and delivery.
5 How Grownup Time Impacts Birth
Grownup time can get a woman pregnant, and it can also help in getting the baby delivered. We're not just talking about the fact that it could trigger contractions toward the end of pregnancy — it can also make the labor a little less painful and the delivery easier.
That's because a good time in the sack can stimulate the pelvic floor muscles, which can ready them for the work that they have to do during the labor and delivery. It can also be a good time to practice Kegels, which are known to increase pleasure and are in need of the pre-birth workout. Therefore, we highly recommend a little third-trimester exercise in the bedroom.
4 Not Facing Fears
There is a psychological component to preparing for labor and delivery, and moms can take steps for that during the third trimester if they work through some of the fears. There are a number of ways to do that, including many of the items on this list.
Moms can think through the things that can go wrong while devising their birth plan, and a childbirth class or a meeting with a doula can help gain knowledge of how to combat the situation. Most of the stress and worry that goes into the experience can be assuaged by information, especially if a mom is more receptive to interventions because they understand the process better.
3 Not Having A Doula
One of the growing trends for pregnancy these days is hiring a doula. Having a trained professional in the room dedicating to helping a woman through her labor and delivery means the mom has someone with her that can answer questions and provide support.
Since nurses are in and out of the room during labor and a coach isn't necessarily trained, the doula can be instrumental in making sure that the labor goes smoothly and the mom feels as comfortable as possible. Deciding on a doula is often a third-trimester decision, and it's a big one that has a huge impact on the delivery.
2 Not Enough Exercise
One of the best things that a mom can do during pregnancy is to concentrate on her health, and that includes engaging in exercise. It helps for the baby's overall health, but it also makes the mom stronger and more ready for a smooth labor and delivery.
There are some women who can't exercise in the third trimester due to bed rest, but that can make the delivery more problematic. Labor can be like a marathon, so it takes strength and endurance to get through it. Even a 20 minute walk a few times a week in the third trimester can make a very big difference for the outcome.
1 Skipping Yoga
Some exercises are better than others in helping mom during labor and delivery, and research has shown that yoga and other lengthening exercises might be the best to do in the third trimester to prepare for what the mom needs during the birth.
Yoga is great for helping mom concentrate on her body and pushing through — a contraction is about a minute long, and so is the time that a woman should hold a yoga pose. It's also good for connecting to breathing, which is a principle for natural pain relief. Yoga builds muscle and endurance, so doing it in the third trimester is great for helping in the delivery.