Midwives have a vital role in ensuring safe, empowered childbirth experiences.Read More
Pregnancy is a magical experience. But it is also one of the most physically and mentally taxing. Many think that the nine months prior to your baby’s arrival should be spent preparing the nursery and brushing up on your baby knowledge. But we recommend you take these nine months to care for and get to know your new pregnant self.
Pregnancy is considered full term at 40 weeks, but you have different needs for each of your trimesters. Here’s a quick guide on how you can make the most of this time before you deliver your baby.
In the first trimester, your body is experiencing a rapid transformation. Beginning with a missed period, your body will soon face several changes ranging from swollen breasts and nausea to food cravings.
“The first few weeks of pregnancy are marked by your body undergoing a series of physiological, physical and emotional changes. A lot of this initial discomfort dissipates over time, but it’s also important that you listen to what your body is telling you,” said Caitlin French, C.N.M., midwife at Inspira Medical Group Midwifery Gentle Beginnings.
“Childbirth education is an excellent way to learn what’s normal and what’s not normal, how to prepare your body for pregnancy and for birth, and how to alleviate discomforts. Childbirth classes may relieve a lot of anxiety, because they offer a good foundation of knowledge for what changes to expect,” said French.
During your second trimester the nausea is finally gone, and you have your energy back! However, you might notice in place of nausea and fatigue you are noticing mood swings, round ligament pain, and skin changes.
“Through all of these changes, the best thing you can do is to have open and honest discussions with your health care team. They’ll be able to discuss second trimester expectations and benchmarks with you, as well as pain management techniques specific to your needs and let you know what is normal and what is not,” said French.
You are almost there! Although less than 5% of women deliver on their actual due date, it is normal to deliver your baby between 37-42 weeks in your pregnancy. As you navigate these final few weeks, you’re likely to experience the same symptoms from your first and second trimesters—and maybe just a few more.
“With each passing day, your baby is growing bigger and bigger. To accommodate that growth, your body is adapting every minute. This adaptation comes in the form of swelling, pelvic pressure, back pain, difficulty sleeping and heartburn,” said French. “Specifically, in your third trimester you may feel tightness and hardness in your belly, but this is should not be painful. These are called Braxton Hicks contractions and are often referred to as practice contractions. Real labor contractions are very uncomfortable and will progressively get longer, stronger and closer together. This third and final trimester may be the most physically and emotionally draining, but it will also be one of the most rewarding experiences.”
During this final trimester, make sure you are researching and beginning to identify your birth preferences and options for labor. Your birth plan should be shared and discussed with your provider.
Inspira offers childbirth and other family resources including virtual childbirth classes and maternity unit tours. Click here to learn more.
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