photo by the mega talented Lauren Wright Photography
Stand in disbelief at the finish line .
This is it.
My third trimester is almost done.
I’ve reached the finish line.
To be honest, my heart wells and tears fill my eyes when I think that this chapter has already come to an end. I’ve waited so long to be pregnant, to feel my belly swell, to experience the flutters of my baby growing inside of me. This pregnancy has been such a joy for me and I’m definitely feeling sadness as I come to the end.
Don’t get me wrong, I am over the moon to meet this beautiful human that I’ve been growing for the past 40 weeks, but it’s bittersweet.
It’s the end of this chapter of my life.
First pregnancy complete .
All that being said, let’s dive into my pregnancy diary part 3! I have soooo much to share .
Insane fatigue .
Like, fatigue I have never felt before in my life.
This went on for a few weeks …
Until I realized that my iron and ferritin levels had dropped dramatically!
It’s not uncommon for this to happen in the third trimester, because your body is using up SO MUCH of your iron stores for baby. I continued to take my prenatal AND I amped up my Ferrochel to 2 capsules a day AND boosted my intake of animal protein. It took a hot minute to level everything out, but once I had my iron levels back on track, I felt so much better and had so much more energy. I mean, like, as much energy as a 40 week pregnant woman can have .
Another great third trimester symptom?
THE NIGHT PEES.
Seriously, I’m getting up 3-4 times a night to pee. I thought we were past this! But … nope. Baby was sitting realllll low on my bladder, which resulted in many night time trips to the bathroom. Reminded me of the first trimester .
An exciting (but not super comfortable symptom) was some significant low back sensation. Starting around 37ish weeks, I started experiencing some pain – not sharp pains, but more dull and achy. It was definitely worse after I had been on my feet all day. You know those subtle menstrual cramps leading up to your period? Like that. Uncomfortable, but not dreadful.
I felt it the most when I’d wake up in the middle of the night to pee – I could hardly put my full weight down as it translated to my aching lower back. But my midwife assured me that these are all good signs – my uterus was practicing and babe was dropping lower and lower into my pelvis, exactly what we want!
I like to think it was babe letting me know they were getting ready to make an entrance, and keeping me on my toes as to when .
And finally, let’s talk third trimester HUNGER. Because, damn, that nearly ruined relationships. Like hanger on steroids. It came on hot and fast – similar to the first trimester but without all the aversions (yippee!). Although I could tell I didn’t have nearly the stomach capacity, as I got full wayyyyy too quickly (which for me was SUCH a bummer because I really love food and really love eating).
So … I got lazy with my homemade fresh juice.
Instead I transitioned to 1 heaping tablespoon Paleo Greens powder + 1 heaping scoop of collagen powder + 1 packet of ProbioMed 250. I shake it up with water in a pint mason jar and boom! Getting some greens/protein/and probiotics in the body first thing!
I’d pair that delicious beverage with 3 dates with peanut butter. Check out this Instagram post about why you should eat dates throughout your pregnancy, but especially in your third trimester!
Breakfast generally consisted of one of the following:
Between breakfast and lunch, I’d usually fill my tummy with:
My (current) favorite smoothie : blend together 8 oz water, 4 oz MALK oat milk, 1 heaping scoop LivWell protein powder, 2 tsp glutamine powder, 1 tsp Lions Mane powder, 1 tsp Mushroom Immune Support, 1 heaping tbsp raw cacao powder, 1 heaping tbsp chia seeds, 1 frozen banana, 1 heaping tablespoon raw tahini, ice. I love to top with raw cacao nibs and shredded coconut. I love to make it extra thick and then it seriously tastes like chocolate banana peanut butter ice cream. Yumm !
Brewed Yerba mate, 1 scoop collagen powder, 1 tbsp MCT oil, 1 tsp raw honey, and Aroy D coconut milk.
I’m a creature of habit, so lunch was generally the same as my second trimester – a big ol’ salad with local mixed greens, carrots, beets, purple cabbage, pea shoots, avocado, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, EVOO/ACV/Tamari – topped with wild caught salmon, leftover chicken, fish, beans, or lentils.
And dinner … oh man. My mouth waters just thinking about dinner. It’s my favorite meal of the day, and definitely the one I put the most love into.
Here are a few of my go-to dinners this trimester:
And, let’s be honest, snacks are life these days. Because my fiery hunger would come on fast and furious, snacks were quick and nutrient-dense. Homemade macaroons, dark chocolate with peanut butter, TONS of fruit (mangos, peaches, plums, nectarines, berries, banana, pears, ALL the fruit), carrots and sprouted hummus. My most favorite recent snack is Mary’s Gone Crackers with homemade pesto from all the basil we’re growing in our garden!
Real talk: even as a nutritionist who knows better, the reality is, it’s unlikely that I was getting my full dietary requirements every day just through food. I’m a strong believer in the addition of supplements to a well-rounded diet, and this is especially crucial while pregnant – you have to keep both mama and baby healthy and thriving!
I also started taking additional probiotics specific for optimizing vaginal microbiome at ~34 weeks, in preparation of my Group B Strep test. You can read this great article written by Dr. Aviva Romm all about GBS and why women are tested in pregnancy, and what to do if you test positive (like me). Because I tested positive, I kept taking the additional probiotics throughout my third trimester and through birth, as specific strains of probiotics (Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus) have been shown to prevent GBS growth.
Movement in my third trimester was SO IMPORTANT, mainly because now, more than ever, my body had to prepare for birth.
Remember my blog post about exercises to optimize your body for birth? Well, I did ALL of those daily AND I added in Studio Bloom BirthPrep classes. And damn, these are HARD! They are set up to be in *contraction phases* so essentially you work hard for several minutes and then break and recover; then start again. It kicked my a#$! But definitely helped me feel strong in preparation for birth – mentally and physically.
I kept up the daily walks with my pups – until Ellie tore her ACL . During the last few weeks it was just Koa and I hittin’ the trails.
And, I was still riding my bike up until the end. It was cute. My jersey didn’t zip up. I was a sweaty mess. I could hardly reach my handle bars on account of my gigantic belly. And, if I’m being honest, it wasn’t nearly as comfortable as it once was. BUT, it felt good to maintain that movement.
Whew. Self care is now my jam. Bummer that it took me getting pregnant to make this a priority, but now that I’m used to it, it’s become a regular thing!
My self care regime didn’t change much from my second trimester, but I did add in eating my 3 dates a day and consuming Red Raspberry Leaf + Nettles Tea.
YES, eating and drinking are considered self care!
Red raspberry leaf tea comes from the leaves of the red raspberry plant. I was drinking red raspberry leaf tea even before pregnancy, as the herbal tea has been used for centuries to support respiratory, digestive and uterine health, particularly during preconception, pregnancy and childbearing years. it’s been shown to be supportive to women’s health in many realms including:
During the third trimester, studies show that drinking 2-4 cups of red raspberry leaf tea has been known to help shorten labor and results in fewer medical interventions, including cesarean. And has been shown to help shorten the second stage of labor (marginally) and reduce the need for forceps delivery.
Many healthcare professionals (usually midwives) recommend waiting until the 2nd trimester to begin drinking red raspberry leaf tea. This is because RRL is a uterine tonic and stimulates the pelvic floor muscles. This may increase uterine contractions and potentially threaten early labor, although there are no studies to corroborate this.
Some moms prefer to wait until the third trimester, or even until 34 weeks to start drinking red raspberry leaf tea. They’ll combine their tea drinking with their date eating to help prepare for labor.
Other midwives and herbalists may recommend beginning red raspberry leaf tea as early as you want because it has been used safely during pregnancy for centuries. I’ve been drinking it my whole pregnancy and felt okay about this and my midwife was totally encouraging and supportive of me drinking through my entire pregnancy.
I love to combine 2 tbsp loose leaf Red Raspberry tea with 2 tbsp loose leaf Nettles in a 32 oz mason jar, fill with boiling water and then let steep overnight. This is enough for 2 days – I drink about 2 cups/day.
The third trimester means shit is getting real.
Which means my Google results were getting LEGIT.
We hired an Ayurvedic postpartum doula to help with all kinds of postpartum mama care like: weekly Ayurvedic postpartum warm oil abhyanga massage, postpartum meal prep, yoni steams, herbal baths, holding baby while mama sleeps, closing ceremony, herbal tea preparation, and all kinds of other magical Ayurvedic modalities. I’m a huge supporter of postpartum doulas and they come with all kinds of skill sets and specialities. I’ve always been fascinated by Ayurveda and this tradition specializes in postpartum care, the “sacred window” as they call it. In the Ayurvedic tradition, they say” the first 40 days of life will impact the next 40 years of life.”
During this first 40 days post birth the idea is that mama, papa and baby stay at home, with few (if any visitors) to ease the transition of birth for the entire family and offering a precious window for bonding and offering the new baby a gentle welcome to the world. Committing to staying at home for these first 40 days allows the mother’s body to recover from the intensity of childbirth when hormone levels change dramatically, the uterus returns to prepregnancy size, milk production is established, and the perineum or caesarean section incision heals. I’m all about it!
I’ve also been signing up for lots of great classes on GetBoober.com and HATCH.com! They offer some great digital events like Newborn Care 101, Lactation 101, Baby Sleep Q&A, and so much more. I’ve been learning a ton from these great resources and most of the classes are free!
I also had a consultation with a lactation consultant in town which was SO helpful in talking me through the first hours after birth and the first few days after birth. She taught me about things like:
That was my third trimester.
And, I suppose now you’re lookin’ for a birth announcement, huh?
Make sure to follow me on Instagram – that’s where you’ll get a sneak peek into my new life as a family of three (plus two fur babies) .
I said this in each of my pregnancy diaries, but it’ll never not be relevant – this experience, this pregnancy, has made me a WAY better clinician. I know more, I understand more, I have more compassion, and as they always say – until you walk the path yourself, you can’t fully know the path.
Balance your hormones?
Feel good in your body?
Or maybe your third trimester symptoms have been kicking your butt?
I’ve love to support you, with whatever you’re going through. I am always available to have a one on one chat.