Pregnancy Yoga Exercises for the Third Trimester

Practicing yoga during your third trimester of pregnancy can be perfectly safe as long as you adjust your poses to have proper support. These final months can be quite hectic, so finding some peace and quiet through yoga can have amazing health benefits. Yoga and meditation can help you relax, bond with your baby and embrace your new life.

How to adjust your yoga poses in the third trimester

Your belly is now bigger and your centre of gravity is slightly shifted towards the front. This means that you will need to adjust most of your yoga poses to accommodate these changes. Ask your yoga teacher about poses recommended for this stage of pregnancy and be mindful about your limits – don’t push yourself if you ever feel that a pose is too intense or uncomfortable.

Set your yoga pad next to a wall, a pole or a chair to have support during standing poses and balance poses. Use props, straps and pillows to make the poses more comfortable. Another major change in your yoga routine is the duration of exercises: it’s now important to keep your body in motion without staying too long in one pose.

Avoid poses on your back in general during pregnancy. Lie on the side for resting in-between poses and at the end of your practice. Put one pillow under your head and one between your legs to feel more comfortable. Replace the Happy Baby pose with the Butterfly pose.

Focus on poses that strengthen your thighs and joints such as Warrior poses, Tree and Squatting poses. Make sure to use a chair or hold on to something solid for support. Try to keep your back straight and elongated and breathe in your belly – this will allow you to take deeper breaths.

Poses that require keeping your upper body lower than your pelvis should be avoided, as they can interfere with the baby’s preparation to shift into the birth position. These include Bridge poses and Downward Dog poses as well. Cat and camel poses are ok, as long as you ease in from one pose to the other as smoothly as possible.

The most important safety tip for third trimester yoga is to take it easy. This is done by reducing the effort, intensity and duration of your practice. Make sure to consult with your doctor on your risks for doing physical effort during late pregnancy.

5 Ways to Communicate with Your Baby in Womb

As you approach late pregnancy, you might feel the desire to communicate and bond with your baby, by telling stories or playing music to your womb. The feeling of bonding with the baby in womb can be very rewarding and it will help you be more peaceful and joyful.

1. Talk to your baby

After about 23 weeks, your baby is able to hear sounds from outside the womb, which means she’ll already start to learn your voice. Studies have indicated that hearing is developed so early because it helps babies familiarize with the mother’s voice and form an attachment early on. New-born babies also pay more attention to the mother’s voice than to other voices.

It might feel unusual at first to talk to your bump, but once you’ll get used to it and become more aware of the fact that your baby can hear you, it will be rewarding. The long chats with your bumps are one of the best experiences in the third trimester of pregnancy.

2. Play music to your baby

Play an album with relaxing music when you take a break or when you are reading, exercising or just pampering yourself with a nice bath. Meditation music can have a very calming effect for both you and your baby. Listen to this playlist to see what we mean: Meditation – The Sounds of Your Pregnancy. This album was created for Baby Clinic of Harley Street and contains 9 tracks of relaxing sounds for a soothing afternoon spent with your bump.

3. Sing to your baby

What can be more bonding than singing a lullaby to your baby in womb? Try one song every evening when you are in your third trimester. Your baby will familiarize with your voice and enjoy the sounds of the lullaby. It’s a great way to bond with your bump. Try singing the same lullabies and playing the same music to your baby after birth. You might notice that your baby pays special attention to those songs than to other sounds.

4. Gently massage your bump

Starting with the second trimester, it’s perfectly safe to massage your belly with oils or lotions. Make sure you use gentle movements, without pressing on your bump.

5. Respond to your baby’s kicks with gentle strokes

Although there is no evidence that stroking your bump every time you feel a kick will have any benefit, your baby can feel when you touch and stroke your tummy. For most pregnant mothers, responding to kicks feels very much like bonding and the first experience of a two-way communication is amazing.

The Benefits of a Well-Being Scan during Late Pregnancy

The Well Being scan is an ultrasound carried out in the third trimester of pregnancy to check the well-being of your baby after 24 weeks. During this scan, the sonographer will take several measurements of your baby and check the position of the placenta as well as the amount of amniotic fluid. It is quite similar to the Growth Scan, only the focus of this scan is to check if everything is in order for the approach of the labour moment.

What happens during the Well-Being scan?

The baby’s development is assessed by measuring:

  • the head circumference
  • the circumference of the abdomen
  • the legs (the length of the femur)

In addition to the baby’s measurements, the baby’s position in the womb, the position of the placenta and the amount of amniotic fluid present will be assessed by the sonographer. Several other details are observed and reported, such as breathing movements and umbilical artery blood flows using a Doppler test.

At the end of the scan, all measurements and observations will be included in a report of the scan, which can be used for reference in follow-up appointments or when going into labour. Follow-up appointments are only necessary in case any problem is detected or suspected.

How do I prepare for a Well-Being scan?

There are no requirements prior to taking a well-being scan. You should eat and drink as normal on the day of your scan appointment. Having a full bladder before the scan is not necessary. It is recommended to wear loose clothes, as the sonographer will need to position and move the ultrasound probe along your abdomen. The most important thing is to feel comfortable during the appointment.

When can I take the Well Being scan?

Any time from the 25th week of pregnancy to the final stages of pregnancy up until week 36 is a suitable time for taking a well-being scan. While growth scans are recommended at different points in time to check the evolution of measurements, this is not the case with the well-being scan. If you had a growth scan during your second trimester, bring the report with you at the wellbeing scan. This will help the sonographer to better assess the development of your baby and the transition from mid pregnancy to late pregnancy.

Packing the essentials for your hospital bag

You should plan the list for your hospital bag as soon as you decide whether you will give birth at the hospital or at a birth clinic. The bag should be all set up and ready to grab two or three weeks before your due date at the latest. Your midwife or your antenatal class instructor will help you with the details, maternity notes and all the important to-do lists for the big moment.

It is recommended to pack two small bags, in order to have the items for labour separated from the items prepared for after birth.

Make sure to include the following essentials in your labour bag:

  • your maternity notes
  • a list of all the important phone numbers (have them in your phone as well)
  • about 3 changes of loose clothes to wear during labour; pick the most comfortable and breathable clothes
  • a dressing gown and slippers
  • socks or leg warmers
  • a birth ball, in case you’ve planned to use one (check with the hospital or your birth clinic to see if they already have one)
  • a toiletry bag with toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, towel, hairbrush, hairbands and clips (if you have long hair) and a lip balm
  • a sponge or a water spray for your partner to cool you down during the heat waves of labour
  • sanitary pads
  • healthy snacks, drinks and a straw
  • your tablet, iPod, magazines or a book to help you pass the time or relax
  • phone and charger
  • props or pillows to make yourself more comfortable at the hospital (they might not have enough extra pillows)

Have a separate bag for items needed after your baby is born. If you will have a straightforward birth, you and your baby will probably arrive at home a few hours after birth. If you will give birth by C-section, you may stay between 3 and 5 days in the postnatal ward, in which case you may need to pack a few extra essentials.

Here are the basic items for your after-birth bag:

  • comfortable clothes to wear after you have given birth and for going home
  • a baby blanket to wrap your new-born baby in
  • baby clothes, hat and nappies
  • if you’re giving birth in the winter, pack a jacket or a snowsuit for the baby
  • an infant car seat
  • two or three nursing bras
  • breast pads
  • maternity pads
  • front-opening shirts will come in handy for breastfeeding
  • travel-size toiletries
  • towels
  • eye mask and earplugs for restful sleep and naps

How to Throw a Baby Shower

Congratulations on throwing a baby shower! There’s no strict etiquette regarding baby shower parties, so you’ll have the freedom to organize it the way you want it to be. Before your start your to do list for the awesome baby party, here are the most important aspects to consider.

Who should throw the baby shower?

Usually baby shower parties are thrown by a close friend or by several friends. The organizer handles invitations, decorations, catering and the planning of games. It does not have to be a surprise party and most often the parents want to be involved in the party planning.

When to throw the baby shower

There is no rule for this either. Many moms prefer to have the party in their final weeks of pregnancy, because the moment of birth is closer and it feels right to celebrate as close as possible to the big event. Also, it’s more likely that the baby’s sex is known by the third trimester, so guest will be less clueless on what presents to choose. It’s also nice to throw the party after the baby is born: everyone will be joyful and happy to see the baby.

What location to pick for the baby shower

Usually the baby shower takes place at the mum’s house or at one of her close friends’ house. Only close friends are invited to the baby showers, so the intimacy of a home is preferred. When there is not enough room for the number of guests, it can also be held at a restaurant. Just make sure the place is private enough for everyone to feel comfortable and up for playing games.

Baby shower invitations

You can send the invitations by e-mail, post, or by handing them directly to the guests. Don’t create a Facebook event where you invite everyone. Not all will see the notification and every guest deserves a proper invite. The invitation should state the basic information: date, place, who is organizing, RSVP info and the baby shower theme.

What to do at a baby shower

Picking a theme for the baby shower will make everything more fun and get the guests excited about the party. Usually some food and drink is served. Restaurant parties with many guests will feel more formal, while some prefer a casual buffet at home. Just make sure there will be a cake, too.

There are plenty of ideas for baby shower games to keep everyone entertained, yet they’re not a must. Other activities can be planned instead, such as decorating a baby book or baby clothes.

It’s custom to give a favour to every guest at the end of the party, something small to take away and remember the lovely party.  It’s usually a goodie bag or something related to the theme of the party or to babies and it should not be an expensive gift.

One Delicious Pregnancy Smoothie for Every Trimester

Blend all the essential vitamins and minerals for your current trimester in a tasty and healthy power combo smoothie.

First Trimester: The Mango Avocado Power Up Smoothie

Start your day with this fresh and thick green smoothie. Avocado and mango are rich in folate, which plays an important role in cell growth during your first trimester. Pumpkin seeds and spinach contain iron, while yoghurt contains calcium, both essential during the first months of pregnancy.

You need:

  • 1 avocado
  • A spoonful of pumpkin seeds (raw)
  • 1 mango
  • 1 small yoghurt
  • Optional: 50g (2 oz) spinach (for extra leafy points)

Peel the avocado, remove the seed and split it in 4 or 6 cuts. Blend it all together with the sliced mango, the pumpkin seeds and the yoghurt. Add fresh spinach leaves to increase iron intake. If the mango is not very ripe and sweet, add one tablespoon of honey and squeeze a lemon half. That’s it! You’ve got one large, energizing smoothie for you and your baby.

Second Trimester: Almonds and Pineapple Smoothie

This is mouth-watering and healthy smoothie, perfect for your nutrition plan during the second trimester of pregnancy. Raw almonds are the key ingredient, as they are rich in Vitamin E and Calcium, essential for these months of pregnancy. Pineapple completes the vitamin intake with its rich amounts of Vitamin C (though you can also replace it with orange juice). Bananas are energizing and make a delicious thick base for your smoothie. Use non-sweetened coconut milk instead of milk: it contains plenty of saturated fats and adds an exotic taste to your smoothie.

You need:

  • ½ cup of raw almonds
  • ½ pineapple
  • ½ banana
  • 1 cup of non-sweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Grind the almonds into fine bits and blend it in with the coconut milk and fruits. Add honey. Set aside a pineapple slice for decoration. Enjoy this smoothie in the morning or as a brunch snack.

Third Trimester: Energizing Banana Smoothie

Bananas are rich in Vitamin K, which needs to be in sufficient values when you’ll go into labour. To top this with Vitamin E, Calcium and Iron, add apricots, spinach leaves and almond milk.

You need:

  • 1 banana
  • 2 small apricots
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 10 to 20 fresh spinach leaves

Cut the fresh spinach leaves in fine bits. Peel the banana and the apricots and slice them. Blend it all together with the almond milk. This smoothie will keep your energy levels up during the day, while providing essential nutrients for you and your baby during the third trimester of pregnancy. As a bonus, the Vitamin E contained in almond milk helps prevent stretch marks.

Get the Most Out of Your Growth Scan

Growth scans are usually carried out in the second and third trimester to check how your baby is growing and if the development goes as planned. You may be recommended to take this scan at the advice of your doctor or your midwife if there are signs that your baby’s growth rate is smaller than expected or that that the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby is too large. Growth scans can be carried out starting with the 14th week of pregnancy.

Your midwife will initially determine if your baby’s growth rate is as expected by measuring your belly with a tape measure and by feeling your bump with her hands. If the baby appears to be growing faster than the average expected rate, there are usually no reasons for worry. If the size of your baby appears to be lower than expected for your stage of pregnancy, however, your midwife will recommend you to take a growth scan for accurate measurements.

What happens during the Growth Scan?

The sonographer will take several measurements with the help of this ultrasound scan and compare it with the average measurements for your week of pregnancy. The circumference of your baby’s head and tummy will be measured firstly, to check whether they are within the average limits. Then, the legs’ size will be assessed, by measuring the length of the femur bone. The amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby will be checked by measuring its depth.

The information on all of these measurements is then pieced together in a detailed report that compares your baby’s measurements with the average ones at the respective stage of pregnancy. It is possible for some measurements to be average and for others to exceed it or fall below the limits.

Babies usually don’t grow steadily, but rather at an uneven rate. At least two sets of measurements at different weeks are often recommended for analysing the baby’s growth rate and not just the size at one point in time. Most sonographers recommend serial growth scans for accurate measurements of your baby’s growth rate. By taking the scan in different weeks of pregnancy, your doctor can measure the growth rate and track it as your pregnancy develops, which is more relevant than the information obtained from a single baby scan.

No special preparations are needed for the growth scan. Usually you don’t need to have a full bladder or to eat at a certain hour. Just feel free to eat and drink as usual and dress comfy for your growth scan appointment.

Nutrition Advice for Your Third Trimester

Your baby’s growth rate will be at its highest during your third trimester. At this stage, your baby’s eyes start opening and later on detect light, breathing begins and many vital minerals are absorbed from the intestinal tract. Nutrition in these last months is as important as ever, so make sure to include these essential vitamins and minerals in your diet.

1. Vitamin K

Vitamin K plays an important role in blood coagulation and it helps prevent loosing too much blood during labour. Foods rich in Vitamin K are bananas, prunes, potato skins, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.

2. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is recommended for overall maternal health and for your baby’s development. You will find it in nuts such as almonds and pine nuts and in spinach and green olives. Eating the nuts in their raw form is the healthiest option. Another excellent benefit of Vitamin E is that it helps minimise and heal stretch marks.

3. Vitamin D & Calcium

Calcium complemented by Vitamin D support the calcification of your baby’s bones and prevents forgetfulness in expecting mothers. Spending time in the sunlight is the easiest way for Vitamin D intake, as the human body can synthesize Vitamin D from sun exposure. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products, tofu, sesame seeds, almonds and Brazil nuts. During rainy weather, try including mushrooms and fatty fish like Mackerel and Salmon in your diet for a sufficient intake of Vitamin D.

4. Iron

Iron keeps you energy levels up and minimizes the effects of blood loss during childbirth. There are two types of iron you can absorb from food: heme iron, which is found in meat, and non heme iron, found in vegetables. Heme iron is more easily absorbed that the iron found in vegetables. Rich sources are red meat and poultry. Dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, apricots and tomatoes are not only iron-rich, but contain other essential vitamins and minerals as well.

Try to keep your diet varied, yet keep in mind that it is recommended to not mix heme iron sources with non-heme iron sources in one meal, as the amount of each type of iron absorbed is reduced and thus total absorption is not maximized.