Thursday, March 25, 2010

Third Trimester - The Blossoming

Cherry Blossom by conner395.
Cherry Blossom by conner395

"And God brought you out of your mother's insides while you knew nothing, and gave you hearing and eyesight and feelings, that you might be grateful."
Qur'an (16:78)

You feel as if you are about to burst forth. Your body is now completing its preparations for the upcoming birth and subsequent mothering upon which you are about to embark. And everyone wants to know, "When are you due?" The waning days of pregnancy can bring joy and discomfort, all within moments of each other! Fetal development is geared towards preparing the baby to enter the world; the lungs are preparing to inflate and the brain is laying down the foundation for the nervous system. For most women this is a time of anticipation and excitement, but it can also be a time of anxiety and worry as the end of pregnancy nears and the momentous act of receiving a new life begins. I want to briefly discuss some common physical and emotional manifestations that can arise in the third trimester.

Insomnia is common during the last few months of pregnancy. It can be a combination of physical and emotional factors that have you tossing and turning. A study of pregnant women throughout their pregnancy revealed that by the end of pregnancy 97% of women had trouble with sleep! The most common cause for night waking? You guessed it, the need to urinate!
  • Doing cat/cow pelvic tilts before bed can reduce the frequency of urination at night. Try doing at least ten before bed and see if it reduces at least one trip to the bathroom. The theory is that it moves the baby's head off your bladder for enough time to allow you some shut eye.
  • Take a bath with aromatherapy, lavender oil, chamomile oil, or other relaxing scents about an hour before bed.
  • Working out any fears and/or anxieties around the birth often happens at night. I find that most women benefit from writing down a list of the things they are concerned with when they wake at night. They can then promise themselves that they will get back to it in the morning. This can also be an enlightening look into the unconscious mind.
  • Getting plenty of exercise during the day, particularly late afternoon, can help bring on restful sleep.
  • A calcium magnesium supplement is always helpful when dealing with insomnia.
  • Also, make sure you are getting enough to eat. Hunger, even when you don't feel hungry, can be a cause of insomnia. Try to make yourself a snack, peanut butter toast, milk, an apple, and see if you don't drift off easier.
  • Know that this is also Allah's way of preparing you for the frequent night wakings bound to come with a newborn in the house. It's a marvelous system isn't it?
  • The infamous dreams of pregnancy also arise during the third trimester. You misplace your baby, or your baby is born a cat, or you are stuck in a small space. All of these dreams are allowing you to work out the worry. Psychologists say that the more anxious the dreams a woman has, the easier her labor! Now there is an upside to bad dreams!

The main work of the third trimester though, is preparing for the birth. There are a lot of physical and emotional preparations that all mothers make in order to ready themselves for the big arrival. Here are some suggestions that might help with making this passage smooth for you.

  • Visualize the birth. Imagine yourself not at the birth, but in the birth. What is the sensation of your labor journey, the color, the feel? Picture the baby head down, with her back facing out and her limbs cocooned towards your center. See yourself as strong, confident and capable.
  • Be honest with your self about any fears that you have around the birth. The more these fears stay suppressed, the likelier they are to arise at inconvenient times. It's best to look them in the eye now. Try writing them down, painting them, singing them...
  • Birthing From Within gives guidance to creatively expressing yourself around the issues of pregnancy, labor, delivery, etc... I find it a wonderful friend in the third trimester. Lots of art and soul searching in this book.
  • Find ways to feel supported and nurtured, both now, and for after the labor. Organize a food tree. This can be a great way to let your friends and family see the baby, while you get the help you need. It can be strengthening to know going into labor, that others are waiting to nourish your family with food and their help after all is said and done.
  • Midwife guru, Anne Frye, has an interesting, and Islamic take on emotions during the third trimester. She believes that many women are coming up against their own mortality during pregnancy, and that a lot of the fears that arise during this time, can stem from that thought. She states that " some ways labor is the closest she may ever be to the threshold between life and death while she is still very much alive." And really, doesn't a part of us die while giving birth. It's the tariqa of motherhood I suppose!
In order to complement babies quickly developing brain and lungs, there are a few supplements specific to the third trimester. Also, there are a few for mom too, in order to prepare her body for the momentous task of birth.

  • As stated above fetal brain development is rapid during these last months. There are some preliminary studies to show that prenatal supplementation with omega 3 fatty acids, like those found in fish oil, might aid in your child's cognitive function later in life. Supplementing with fish oil prenatally has also been found to aid in preventing postpartum depression.
  • Supplementing with pro-biotics prenatally has been found to reduce the incidence of eczema and allergies in the first year of life, in children prone to them. It also makes for a healthier vaginal flora and can help in preventing colonization of GBS in both mothers and newborns.
  • Alfalfa tincture or pill can help to prevent excessive blood loss by building a mother's Vitamin K stores.
  • Some midwives suggest taking a late pregnancy tonic to help tonify the uterus and prepare the body for birth. I don't believe it's essential, but can be useful for some.
You are about to begin a new journey as a mother, no matter what number the baby, our lives always change when a new one is added. May these final adjustment to pregnant life be easy and blessed!

No comments:

Post a Comment