The third trimester is an exciting time because you are nearing the end of your pregnancy. You are getting closer to meeting your precious baby. But we know that the third trimester can also be uncomfortable. Your body has changed so much over the past 27+ weeks of your pregnancy. You might be experiencing more swelling, lower back pain, hemorrhoids, heartburn, etc. And many expecting mamas are over being pregnant and ready to meet their baby.
As a chiropractor specializing in working with expecting moms and babies, I’m sharing my 16 tips for having a healthy third trimester! These tips will help you feel healthy and ready for your birth.
1. Walk, move, exercise!
Labor is a lot of work, so be sure your body is ready and strong! This will also help to reduce swelling.
2. See your chiropractor regularly.
This will improve comfort and balance pelvic joints and ligaments to help the baby get in the best position for birth. In addition, this improves pelvic joint mobility for birthing.
3. Stretch daily and breathe.
Stretching during pregnancy (see 6 hip-opening stretches to do during pregnancy) is a great time to focus on breathing–slowly and deeply. Deep breaths are incredibly important for labor, and slow breathing will help you connect with yourself and your power.
4. Sit upright with knees below hips and a nice arch in your lumbar spine.
Your belly should always be forward and lower than your hips. If you slouch or sit with legs up (as in a recliner), gravity pulls the baby’s heaviest part (back of the head) towards your spine. This leads to more sunnyside-up babies (Occiput Posterior), which is a far more difficult position to deliver in. On the other hand, the Occiput Anterior position (baby facing your spine) is ideal for vaginal delivery—so allow gravity to work in your favor by sitting forward.
5. Sit on an exercise/yoga ball for 20 minutes, 3 times daily.
While sitting there, bounce gently and do pelvic tilts. It also feels nice to do figure 8’s slowly and quickly. This aids in opening the pelvis and mobilizing the joints/ligaments/muscles. This is also a great position to labor in!
6. Get on all 4’s!
Using your belly as a hammock for your baby promotes proper baby positioning and takes baby’s weight off of your spine. Do the “cat/cow” yoga stretch for 20 breaths 5 times per day. Also, lean back on your heels and do a modified child’s pose. If you have small children, spend time on all fours playing with them. Or scrub your floor! 😛
7. Lie on your side at night with a pillow between your knees and your arms.
You can switch sides to decrease pressure on your hips. Read this article about the best sleep positions during pregnancy to learn more.
8. Don’t sit straight up from lying on your back.
Always roll to your side and use your shoulders to help you up. Even if you still feel like you have abdominal strength, sitting straight up can make you vulnerable to a diastasis recti (splitting of your abdominal muscles).
9. Do Kegels daily.
10. Figure 4 stretch.
Do the figure 4 stretch (see 6 hip-opening stretches to do during pregnancy) seated (modified pigeon pose) or on your back with a helper. This helps keep the hips more flexible. (Three times daily at 15 seconds on each side.)
11. Psoas/Hip flexor stretch.
Do the hip flexor stretch (see 6 hip-opening stretches to do during pregnancy) three times daily at 15 seconds on each side.
12. Forward leaning inversions for 3 slow breaths daily.
Work up to this. See this video for more details about safety and when to do it.
13. Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea to help strengthen and tone the uterus.
Traditional Medicinals is a great brand of organic tea to try. Drink 3-4 cups daily. (10 ways to enjoy red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy)
14. Take omega 3 fatty acids.
Studies suggest that these good fats are important for a baby’s fetal brain development and the child’s subsequent neurodevelopment.1
15. Drink a LOT of water during pregnancy.
Drink 8 to 12 cups (64 to 96 ounces) of water every day during pregnancy.2 Staying hydrated during pregnancy will help also reduce swelling.
These tips have helped me during both of my pregnancies and births and hundreds of my clients. They are my go-to third trimester chiropractor tips that make a difference. Let us know what else helped you!