The third trimester is both an exciting time and one full of anxiety! Trying to waddle around with that big ol’ belly is also exhausting. But when those last two weeks until the birth arrive, moms are incredibly excited to meet their little one. We just hope and pray that our nursery, hospital bag, and birth plan are all in order before they decide to make their big entrance into the world.
As a pregnant lady, there are a lot of things we can no longer do (at least until we give birth!). Some pre-pregnancy activities seem outlandish now that our bellies are HUGE and totally in the way. Besides, growing tiny humans is a feat within itself.
The last two weeks of pregnancy are a flood of emotion, but we all get into the right mindset once our little guy or gal is finally born. We may all get tired of touting around that big tummy and walking around with our swollen ankles that our husband lovingly rubs at night, but to feel those kicks and know there’s a baby in there is incredible as pregnancy is an amazing experience. However, here are some things pregnant gals should avoid during those final two weeks and we gathered them all together in this article.
1. Lay Flat On Your Back
According to Healthline, laying on your back while during the last few weeks of pregnancy can have some pretty serious side effects for both you and your baby. When you choose to lie on your back during your third trimester, the weight from your abdomen presses onto your major blood vessels, which can cause breathing problems, digestive issues, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure, backaches and can also decrease circulation to both you and your baby.
If you are having trouble sleeping at night on your side (because let’s face it: the only position you can sleep in is on your side), try propping yourself up with pillows, or snuggling your butt up to your hubby for support. Remember to keep your knees bent for the most comfortable position to keep your heart from overworking!
2. Flying On An Airplane Is A Big No-No
Most airlines shoo pregnant women who happen to be in their third trimester (after 28 weeks) away from the runway. Flying in an airplane isn’t dangerous in itself, it’s really about the timing that will have your OB concerned, especially in these last couple of weeks.
Not only is it a worry for your doctor (and everyone around you on the plane) that you could possibly give birth while in the air, but there’s always the risk of problems occurring during the birth that might require medical attention that isn’t readily available for you and your baby 35,000 feet in the air.
Although such stories are a dime a dozen, The Washington Post reported about the story of a woman named Cristina Penton gave birth to her 3rd baby, whom she named Christoph, while aboard a Spirit Airlines flight at 36 weeks pregnant. Luckily, a pediatrician and a nurse were on board and helped with the delivery!
3. Travel Far From The Hospital
Thinking of baby-mooning? A baby moon is a mini vacation you take while you are still pregnant before the baby comes so you and your partner can enjoy the last little bit of alone time you can before you give birth. If you have the proper finances, this might mean you’re taking a flight out of town or traveling away from your MD.
But that isn’t ideal in the final two weeks before delivery, considering just how close you are to your baby’s big debut! A better idea would be some date nights in where you can prop your swollen ankles up or go out to eat together.
And if you’re considering traveling to be near family for the delivery, your doctor will probably be the first to tell you that you need to reconsider. You should stay put until after the birth – family will just have to wait!
4. Skip On Counting The Kicks
The first time you feel your baby kick is an exciting time! The little baby inside of your belly is officially moving around, and presses against your hand when you touch them. You may find that your baby moves more when music is playing, when daddy talks to him, or when you are lounging on the couch after a long day.
Not only are your baby’s kicks magical, they are also useful for you to gauge how their doing in utero. You already have an idea of their schedule, like when they move the most and when they are just hanging out. Should that schedule change at all, or you notice a sudden big reduction in movement, this could indicate something serious going on with your little one.
So never stop counting those kicks! We are sure you haven’t forgotten about them, even with pregnancy brain going on, because babies tend to go right for the bladder in the third trimester!
5. Use A Breast Pump Too Early
You might think that you want to unbox that pretty new breast pump you have in the nursery to try it out because it would be hilarious to see. Pumping for the first time is certainly strange, especially since no one seems to talk about it until the moment arrives for you to put your nipple into a machine…
But pumping your breasts early can actually trigger preterm labor because it counts as nipple stimulation. According to Live Strong, this nipple stimulation can encourage your pituitary gland to release oxytocin, and triggers your uterus to start contracting. Not going to full term simply because you hooked up your breast pumps simply isn’t worth it.
Not much research has been done on breast pumps inducing labor, but preterm labor is always something you want to avoid if you want to give your baby the best start in life.
6. Over-Exercising Instead Of Taking It Easy
Prenatal exercise does wonders for you and your baby, and is strongly encouraged by doctors. In fact, it’s well known that pregnant women who sit for long periods of time are more susceptible to developing blood clots. So there is nothing wrong with practicing some prenatal yoga, going for a run, or joining a fitness class designed for pregnant ladies in your area. As long as you aren’t high risk and your doctor okay’s your exercise, feel free to get active (within reason).
The issue that doctors have with exercise is when it becomes too much. When you overexercise, you are putting unnecessary stress and strain on your baby and your body which is already completing the feat of growing another person!
It’s understandable that there’s this new pressure on women now to shed all of their baby weight immediately after the birth of their baby. Celebs are somehow doing it, but that isn’t always the healthiest for our postpartum bodies or our psyche.
7. Go For That Dental Cleaning
While you’re pregnant, your teeth and gums might feel a little more sensitive and bleed when your toothbrush makes contact. This is called pregnancy gingivitis, and according to BabyCenter, about half of pregnant women have it.
You should still be seeing your doctor for routine dental cleanings while you are pregnant as well – especially if you had gum disease prior to becoming pregnant. And if your dental cleaning is scheduled within the last two weeks of your pregnancy, all the better. That’s a great time to have a checkup with your dentist, particularly if you are having a C-section because the nurses will ask you routine in-depth questions about your restorative work (crowns, fillings, etc) prior to the surgery.
Plus, if you need any dental work completed prior to the delivery, dental anesthetics are safe to use while you are pregnant, and you can take care of your needs before you are taking care of your newborn’s needs round-the-clock.
8. Hold Your Pee
Having all that weight in your uterus pushing down onto your bladder, and adding in those jabs and kicks, can have your pregnant butt on the toilet dozens of times per day. Each time you pee, it probably feels like only a tablespoon of liquid made its way out which can be pretty frustrating! Especially with all the nesting you’re trying to get done before this baby gets here.
It can be tempting to just hold your bathroom trips for a little while so you can get things done without being constantly interrupted by your need to pee. But you should continue to use the bathroom regularly, avoid caffeine (which is known for increasing urination), and limit your fluids before bedtime when your baby is likely most active.
9. Cravings Are Okay, But Overeating Isn’t
During your third trimester, you should be eating an additional 300 calories each day to accommodate for your growing baby’s nutritional needs as well as yours.
When it comes to satisfying your pregnancy cravings, you probably aren’t too worried about counting those calories however, particularly when you are so close to your due date. But choosing to consume a large number of foods that contain a lot of sugar can lead to the development of gestational diabetes, which typically shows up in your third trimester.
According to the Mayo Clinic, gestational diabetes poses a few risks to your baby, including excessive birth weight (large baby), preterm labor and birth, the development of type 2 diabetes for your baby later in life, and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
So while these last two weeks might have you feeling like you have free rein to eat whatever you like, remember to take a healthier approach to foods and refrain from a high sugar intake so you can ensure the healthiest delivery for your little one.
10. Lift Too Many Weights
Recently, the world has been stunned by the photos and stories of very pregnant mothers-to-be lifting very heavy weights. Moms like Meghan Leatherman, who recently set some personal records for her CrossFit exercise regimen, are receiving both positive and negative remarks from doctors and the public alike. As reported by Today.com, Meghan lifted 165 lbs. in a back squat while 40 weeks pregnant!
While doctors typically recommend sticking to your (safe for pregnancy) exercise routines throughout pregnancy, Dr. Raul Artal, told CNN that he compares this type of heavy lifting during late pregnancy to stepping on your child’s umbilical cord for the amount of time you are exerting yourself. He also made another great point about these moms making headlines. While they may seem fine getting away with lifting these weights without complications, it isn’t to say that everyone who attempts this kind of exercise (even with proper training) will be successful without a set of their own complications.
Always consult your doctor prior to exercise, and be truthful in the amount and type of exercise you wish to do. With everyday lifting, bend at your knees instead of your waist, and try not to overexert yourself leading up to your delivery.
11. Ignore Irregular Symptoms
The final trimester accounts for weeks 28-40 or your pregnancy, and will likely be more closely monitored by your healthcare professional than your other trimesters because you are closer to delivering your baby now.
With these last few weeks upon you, there are some irregular symptoms you should NOT ignore, and talk to your doctor should you experience them:
Ignoring these symptoms could mean some serious health risks for you and your baby! Keep track of any abnormal signs during the last trimester, but particularly during these final two weeks so you can be informed, prepared, and your doctor can be ready to help you achieve the healthiest delivery with all of the information.
12. Deprive Yourself Of Sleep
Nesting is the cutesy term for cleaning your house like a crazy person in preparation for your new addition. Your house will be clean, but you might be missing out on some much-needed rest during these final days.
You might also be experiencing some difficulty getting comfortable enough to rest your body due to your stomach being so big and all of the other wonderful 3rd trimester symptoms that come with being so close to your due date. Not being able to sleep this late into your pregnancy is nature’s way to getting you prepared for the lack of sleep you’ll be getting once your baby arrives, so just think about it like you are rehearsing for your big role as a mom!
Remember to take it easy, prop up your feet after a long day of nesting, and invest in a really good body pillow designed for your pregnant mom bod.
13. Skip The Last Few OB Checkups
Along with monitoring yourself for any irregular symptoms and those crazy kicks from the womb down below, you should still be visiting your OB for your checkups, which are happening more frequently leading up to the birth. Once you reach about 36 weeks (depending on any risks or complications you’ve had during your pregnancy), your doctor will most likely want to see you visit their office once a week until your baby is born.
Like all of your other prenatal appointments, you’ll be asked to pee in a cup and your doctor will check for your baby’s heartbeat and ask you how you’re feeling.
These last couple of appointments are crucial, however, and are a chance for your doctor to check for any signs or symptoms you might have missed and dismissed as normal. Your OB will also be able to determine if your baby is in a breech position, in which case they can assess the situation and see what delivery method would be ideal for you.
14. Obsess Over The Birth Plan
A birth plan is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a written down plan detailing how you’d like your birth to go and includes detailed information about your preferred method of delivery, whether you’d like to receive medications during the birth to help manage your labor pains (or go all natural), and any specific preferences you have.
Birth plans are a great way to refresh your doctor’s mind on what you’ve probably already discussed in detail. But with so many patients, it can be hard for your doctor to remember your wishes exactly, so many women opt for written birth plans.
It’s important to remember that just because you’ve written down in detail and voiced your wishes for how you’d like your birth to go, that doesn’t mean your birth will be anything like your well written and thought out document. Life happens, and your baby just knows it needs to be delivered. If you have your heart set on a natural delivery and your doctor informs you that you need an emergency C-section, don’t fret. Your doctor is trying their best with all the training they are provided to give you and your baby the best and healthiest option for delivery.
15. Exclude Your Other Children
One of our favorite movies is the Boss Baby. In the beginning of the movie, the parents ask the main character, seven-year-old Tim if he would like a baby brother, to which he replies, “That’s okay, I’m enough.” His parents smile at one another and leave the room. The next thing we see as an audience is the introduction of Tim’s surprise baby brother, whom Tim doesn’t seem to even know about. He doesn’t take the news very well to say the least. His parents didn’t have the conversation with him about what he should expect or the changes he would experience with a new baby in the house.
That movie is a great example of what you should avoid if you want the transition to be smoother for your older children. A baby isn’t the best surprise for a young child who is used to being the center of attention, especially considering how often babies cry and are fussy.
Try talking to your child while you are pregnant, encourage them to be a part of the gender ultrasound, feel the baby’s kicks, or get them a special gift to let them know they are going to be a big brother/sister. Giving them the title of ‘big sibling’ and letting them know the new responsibilities of that new role can make the transition more exciting because they feel involved and like they have a part in this new transition your family is going through.