I went into labour at 38 weeks and 4 days and had Harry the next day so I didn’t experience a lot of the uncomfortable symptoms typical of the third trimester, because I just didn’t get that big. Therefore, I actually really enjoyed the third trimester of my pregnancy with Harry and want to document it on my blog, like I have done with my first and second trimesters (even though Harry is coming up to 9 months old now!).
I finished work at 32 weeks pregnant, which really helped ease my symptoms. I found it really hard working as a midwife (especially on delivery suite) the whole time I was pregnant really, but especially during the third trimester. I experienced quite a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions after work and after night shifts I was completely exhausted, but I was able to add on my annual leave before my maternity leave and could go off quite early, which really helped. I still delivered a baby in the last half hour of my last shift though, which felt like quite a feat at 32 weeks!
I was really fortunate not to experience any SPD pain or any heartburn during my pregnancy. In fact, the only time I did experience heartburn was after a pregnancy massage and it was so painful, so hats off to women who have a lot of heartburn because it is not pleasant!
From quite early on in the third trimester I could tell the baby was engaged, so I had the classic heavily pregnant waddle from quite early on, and I think this may also have been why I never got really big. One of the symptoms that I did experience was dizziness due to low iron stores. I’d actually forgotten about it until I was writing this post, but at the time it was quite unpleasant, so it’s so funny how your brain forgets things that seem significant at the time! I never fainted but I remember feeling like if I stopped concentrating on not fainting or did something like stand up, then I would faint. I would also go really pale, so I mentioned it to my midwife and they sent me to have my iron stores checked because even though my Haemoglobin was still normal, it had dropped significantly from my first blood tests. My iron stores (ferritin) did come back low so I was started on iron tablets, and thankfully these really helped and the dizzy spells went after about a week of starting them.
I started to have some cravings again in my third trimester, which were mainly strawberries, appletiser and chocolate eclairs. My cravings for chocolate eclairs actually got so bad that I hunted round the whole shopping centre in my local town looking for some while I was out shopping. After going in every shop I could think of and not having any luck, I spotted a teenage girl with her dad outside Greggs eating one. I thought to myself ‘Yup, I’m going to have to do it’ and before I knew it I was approaching her, sticking my belly out and asking her where she had got one from because I had tried everywhere and was desperate for one. Her dad then gave me a look that was like a man that’s about to poke a dragon and really doesn’t want to, and informed me that she had just had the last one from Greggs and that he was very sorry. I then tried to hold back my tears as I reassured them that it was fine and they backed away slowly. I then did what any self respecting pregnant woman does when she is craving something and can’t find it at her current location, I drove ten minutes away to the nearest supermarket. I then filled my basket with not just eclairs but my other usual suspects (strawberries and appletiser) and headed to the checkout, very looking forward to getting home (let’s not beat around the bush, realistically I was only going to make it to the car without eating the majority of the food in my basket). Unfortunately, the checkouts were pretty busy and were all full so I put my basket down and got ready to queue. However, at this point a very lovely manager saw me in my clearly emotional and very pregnant state and to my complete shame opened a checkout for me. So off I shuffled pushing my belly out even more and giving the occasional wince alongside very apologetic looks to the poor people waiting ahead of me and paid for my goods, thinking oh well at least these people will have an extra checkout to go to. Well, she only went and shut the checkout after serving me! Safe to say I was absolutely mortified and hauled my pregnant butt to my car and scoffed my face! I tell you, chocolate eclairs never tasted so good, but if you were in that queue I am really sorry!
Midwife Appointments & Scans
So the third trimester was when the midwife appointments really kicked in for me. As I was low risk I only had the routine appointments for most of the time but towards the end of the the third trimester, the midwives became concerned about the size of my bump and I had to go for an additional scan.
At 28 weeks I had the routine appointment with my midwife, and I also had my bloods taken to check my iron levels and also I had another appointment to have the routine Anti-D injection because my blood group is A negative. (By the way, if you are pregnant and need to have bloods taken or have an Anti-D injection, they are generally absolutely fine and really only hurt for a second, so there’s no need to worry). I also had my bump measured at this appointment, which came up slightly small but nothing too concerning. I had stupidly let someone at work measure me because everyone said how small I looked, and they measured me really, really small so I was particularly worried about this but my midwife reassured me that everything looked normal.
I also had the routine appointment at 31 weeks (because it was my first baby, but for low risk subsequent pregnancies this appointment is dropped), and this all went fine. My bump was continuing to grow at the right rate and everything was going well. I then had an appointment at 34 weeks, which is when I was starting to get the dizzy spells which I spoke about above. At this appointment the baby was continuing to grow well, however the midwife was one I hadn’t seen before and was unsure if the baby was head down or breech. She wasn’t overly concerned because in the UK they don’t routinely do scans for presentation of the baby (head or bum or any other part) until 36 weeks pregnant, so I just waited until the next appointment to see if he was still possibly breech.
At my next appointment at 36 weeks, my normal midwife was there and she was also unsure if the baby was breech or not and it was also at this point that she was concerned with the growth of the baby, so I was sent for a scan. At this scan, the baby was found to be head down and growing really well, which was obviously such a relief. I didn’t get any pictures of this scan because the baby was so big by this point that it was hard to get any decent pictures of him. At my final appointment at 38 weeks, I was put back onto low risk care and everything was all set to get ready to have the baby or for another appointment at 40 weeks, but I obviously didn’t need that appointment as I went into labour a couple of days later.
I ended up having to go into hospital two times to be checked during the third trimester. Once because I fell down the stairs at 30 weeks, and the other time because my baby had reduced movements at 35 weeks. Both times I was checked over and had monitoring, and thankfully everything was absolutely fine. By 35 weeks I was experiencing irregular tightenings but I wasn’t really sure what they were and weren’t really anything I was worried about as they weren’t painful at all.
After this point, I just really focussed on the positives of pregnancy and tried to enjoy the last few weeks because it went so quickly! I started aquanatal yoga classes which were absolutely hilarious and I also had my baby shower! I even managed to go to a speed awareness course (not very good behaviour from a pregnant person but I wasn’t much over the limit and I would also hate to forget I had to do this because I was bang on 38 weeks pregnant and the looks from the other people attending were very funny. I obviously do not condone speeding and I was not very pleased with myself for doing it), and I also managed to go the pub for a massive reunion with all of my friends at 37 weeks. I also got some very dodgy looks from the barman and had to practically drag my husband out of there at 1am, but it created good memories! Unfortunately, I did also have to miss some fun things like one of my best friends hen do’s and a girls trip to Croatia but I didn’t mind really. The hen do was when I was 38 weeks and 2 days so I would have been cutting it pretty fine if I had decided to go!
Maybe I am just looking on at this time with rose tinted glasses and a skewed perception because I went into labour before my due date, but I do know I was really fortunate throughout my whole pregnancy, and I really enjoyed developing a close bond with my baby. Pregnancy is pretty epic and a bloody miracle (if not really hard work)!