Ever heard how the third trimester is the longest ‘year’ of pregnancy? I absolutely agree, having been down that road twice. I personally think that even though all trimesters are equal, consisting 13 weeks each, the first trimester feels like the shortest, especially because some of us discover we are pregnant by week 8 or even later. But by week 30, the wait seems endless and we are mentally done with being pregnant. Today, I write about how to stay excited and physically fit during the third trimester. That’s right, we all know how important this is because by the third trimester, all we really want is to pop out the baby and bounce back to shape.
If anyone understands how it feels to be pregnant for an endless stretch of time, it’s me. My body, it seems, forbids delivery at 37 weeks. It forbids it at 40 weeks, even at 41 weeks. In fact, my body doesn’t even know what it is to ‘fall into spontaneous labour’. In my two deliveries, I always needed help to get things moving. So I know all about the experience of carrying a baby when the due date never seems to arrive.
Should we talk about the fatigue? My goodness, I was tired of being pregnant. For my first baby, I stopped work at about 5 months. There was a relocation involved so I figured time would fly. The joke was on me. By week 34, I was good and settled in my new space, and so began the longest ‘year’ of my life. Because I was so bored, I filled my time with TV and food. And then more TV, and more food. No surprise that I added almost 80 pounds (35kg) by the time I finally put to bed, with 18 to 20 kg of that joining the party in my third trimester alone. Even my mother, a firm believer that pregnant women should eat whatever they want to, was surprised.
With my second pregnancy, I added just 12 kg, with 7kg of that joining the party in the third trimester. What I’m essentially saying is, I understand the longevity and boredom that can set in during the third trimester. I have been there. However, as pregnant women, our experience of the third trimester does not have to be an endless stretch of waiting and boredom and eating. With the right knowledge we can handle the period properly. Here are a couple of things that helped me navigate the third trimester.
1. If it is an option, delay taking your maternity leave as long as you can
If your company allows you work till week 38, and your doctor has no problem with that, please go for it. I am an in-house CEO, meaning I run a home-based business, so I kept work going till the day I had my baby. But I put structures in place and equipped my team to take over seamlessly whenever I had to begin my maternity leave. So if all is well, and it is possible, hold out on that maternity leave. Trust me, you need more time after the baby is here. With work taking your time, you are more active and have less idle time to fill up with food.
2. DON’T STOP your fitness routine
Yes, your tummy is growing bigger and apart from the fact that you feel heavier, you also feel like someone is stealing the breath out of your lungs. However, do not stop exercising. You may modify the routine, but don’t stop. It may feel harder to even roll out of bed, not to talk of taking a walk outside the home, but do it. Walk slowly, in fact waddle if you have to, but don’t stop. If all you can manage is going up and down a flight of stairs a couple of times, which is also fine. Even if you didn’t have the time or energy to do any kind of workout in the earlier days, beginning a safe and low intensity workout routine in your third trimester has a positive significant effect on the mother and baby. The last thing you want in the labour room are stiff muscles. Personally I quit the gym at 38 weeks with my second baby because I thought I would have my baby that week, but I kept my home routine workouts going, and would dance especially to the baby mama (third trimester) dance every evening or morning after a long walk. I worked out till the day I put to bed. I believe that helped my quick recovery after my C-Section.
3. Have fruits for dinner
Now this is the best kept third trimester nutrition secret. If all you do is breathe, you will still be adding weight weekly, and especially more as you approach the end of the third trimester, so keep your dinners light. Trust me; you don’t need any heavy dinners at that point, especially because indigestion can occur quite frequently. Eat early and eat light. A smoothie, a fruit salad, or even good old pepper soup will do.
These three tips helped me control that third trimester weight gain and I know they will help you too. Also, I would really love to hear from you. What pregnancy concerns are on your mind? What topics would you like for me to cover here? Please drop a comment, a mail, or reach me via WhatsApp. Let me help you experience a beautiful pregnancy journey in any way I can.
If you haven’t, read last week’s Fit Friday post and learn about Cravings and the Risk of Gestational Diabetes.
Eziaha Bolaji-Olojo(CoachE’) is a Food&Fitness Coach, and is CEO at CoachE’Squad Ltd, where she helps women live optimised lives through a healthy food and fitness routine. She is a UK certified Personal Nutritionist, and a Prenatal & Postnatal Fitness Specialist. Eziaha is a Jesus Chick, enjoys godly friendships and adores her assignment as a wife and mom to two boys. When she is not coaching, you can catch her blogging atwww.eziaha.com.