The best way to make sure you have a smooth final trimester and know what you’re doing when giving birth is self-education. When you know whats going on with your body, you are more prepared and can understand what is happening and wont be left in the dark when your body starts doing things that you would normally have no clue about at all.
To better understand the happenings on the outside, like labor, it would be helpful to know what’s going on on the inside:
In the last few weeks of your pregnancy, your hormones work to soften the ligaments between the bones in your pelvis – this gives your pelvis some extra room for birth. During this time, you may feel a slight shift in your sense of balance, your joints may feel a little looser and you could feel sore and achy. Those are your muscles working.
While those hormones are working on your pelvis, other hormones are working to soften your cervix. Throughout most of your pregnancy, the cervix is closed to hold the baby inside of your uterus and when you’re in labor, much of the work is getting that open so the baby can come out.
Your baby may begin moving lower in the pelvis which is called engagement. You may feel some pressure in your low abdomen…you may have heard of this happening when people notice that “your baby has dropped” because you may look a little different.
Pre-labor contractions could happen during the late stages of pregnancy – some women do not notice them intensely until labor starts but they could be painful for some mothers while disrupting sleep or activities. They’re referred to has Braxton-Hicks or false labor contractions. One tip for coping with these is to try to get as much rest as you can, even if they wake you. Stay well hydrated and continue to eat. Change positions, have warm baths or showers and massages could be helpful.
Emotionally – you may find yourself worrying more and more about things concerning your pregnancy – when and where your water will break, if your doctor will be on call when you go into labor, or if your partner will really be able to help you…you could even be worried about the safety of you and your baby during birth. All of these concerns are common but you need to relax.
Come up with positive affirmations like “I am strong, I can give birth”, think about your positive qualities, and repeat these to yourself throughout the day.
There are three stages of labor:
The first stage is dilation – when you’re having contractions that work to open your cervix.
The second stage is pushing – you have the contractions that bring your baby down into the vagina and out into the world…you assist this process by pushing.
The third stage is placenta – you continue to have contractions that free the attached placenta and you push the placenta out.
During stage one of dilation – you need to promote a feeling of well being and rest at the start of labor – try a warm bath, shower or warm beverage. Stay hydrated – have at least 8oz of liquid each hour. Liquids with calories such as juice, sports beverages may help provide you with energy
Eat lightly doing labor – you may become nauseated so try fruits, yogurt tr toast and avoid foods with higher fat content such as meat
Choose positions of comfort, get someone to give you a massage, or try hot or cold packs, or something as easy as breathing techniques
How will you know when to go to the hospital?
If you are still feeling excitement and are able to talk or smile through contractions , it might be too soon to go but if you cannot talk during contractions, find it difficult to walk or change positions then this is a better indication that you need to get to the hospital
In the pushing stage – you need to get into whatever position feels best to you – on your back, squatting, on all fours
Do you have a pregnancy story you want to share? Please comment below and tell us about it.