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Friday, December 14, 2018

Pregnancy Tips for Surviving the Third Trimester

Week 28 onwards
Congratulations on making to the last stage of pregnancy! Give yourself a pat on the back! Although you're about two-thirds to the finish line, your little one has still got lots to grow. Unlike the second trimester, because of the extra (and growing) weight, my wife gets tired easily. During our antenatal class with Dr. Wong Boh Boi, the fathers get to try out an 8-kilograms vest to experience what their wives are going through. Yet, unlike this dummy vest that we can take off as and when, mummies got to carry it till the baby's out. And to be honest, that's real hard work - a huge salute to all mummies out there.

Pregnancy Tips for Surviving the Third Trimester (currently viewing)
What to expect during your third trimester

Disclaimer: Tips provided are based on our own personal experience. It may work for some, but not others. We are not medical professionals. If symptoms aggravate or persist, please seek a trained doctor.

#1. Baby movements. And backaches
Now that your little one is growing rapidly, chances that you will start feeling his or her kicks, heavy accompanied with backaches and occasional cramps. After all, your organs gotta make space for the baby, you'll be sure to feel some discomfort.

Tried and tested:
- Back massage: Lie sideways and have your partner do a good ol' back massage for you to release some tension. A suggestion is to put a few tennis balls in a stocking, tie them tight on both ends, and it rolled against your back for a quick relief.
- Propping your legs up: A simple pillow or cushion would do the trick for this.

#2. Frequent urination
As your organs started to shift around to accommodate the baby, some are bound to be squeezed, and unfortunately, your bladder is one of them. Perhaps you have already started to notice that you are making trips to the toilet more frequently. And it probably is. 

Tried and tested:
- When nature calls, attend to it: Unless you wear an ultra-absorbent pad or diaper, heading to the toilet to clear your pee is probably the best advice.

#3. Braxton-Hicks contraction
Named after some dude's name, this "practice" contraction happens when the muscles of your uterus tighten. Sometimes it may be difficult to distinguish from real labour contractions, but as a guide, time your contractions. Braxton-Hicks contraction is irregular, whereas labour contractions are regular, getting more frequent and with stronger intensity as time goes.

Now that you are in your third trimester... Watch out for:
1. Labour contractions (not to be confused with Braxton-Hicks contractions)
2. Water bag breaks*
3. Bloody show (mucus plug - a red jelly sealing the womb, slips away)*
3. Heavy cramping
4. Baby movements (please contact the hospital immediately if you did not feel the baby's movement for long periods of time)

* My wife experienced this, so it's a sure labour. Read about our delivery story (with hospital bill) here.

What else you should do
#1. Book a hospital tour
To familiarise yourself with the big day's activities and procedures, book a tour at your hospital of choice. You could find more details and probably see the birthing room and wards. Having more knowledge as to where you will give birth, the ambiance, surroundings etc., may help to calm you down a little. If not, you'll be a headless (and panicking) chicken.

#2. Pack your hospital bag
One of the top things you need to do before your big day is to pack your gear. By right, the hospital should give you a list of what they will provide and what you need to bring. By left, you could just google them. Here's an idea what we packed:

Utmost importance
admission letter (and birth plan)
identity cards of your spouse and yourself
money (duh)

a few pairs of socks
(disposable) underwear - you don't want your lochia to stain your VS underwear, do you?

own cosmetics and toiletries
own pyjamas (front-opening for easy breastfeeding)
own breast pump
baby's clothing (hat, mittens, booties, etc.)
entertainment (books/magazines, etc.)
marriage certificate - if you intend to register your child's name at the hospital (check with the hospital)

For those who are considering Thomson Medical Centre, here's their updated essentials that they will be giving away for 2019 deliveries at TMC:

#3. Exercise
Walking for long periods of time may induce labour. Before 38 weeks, we strolled at a nearby park for 30-minutes about 2 times a week. After which, according to our antenatal teacher, you need to "walk like a dog", we increased to 5 times a week. Exercise may help you in a couple of ways, such as easing labour pains, accelerate dilation, etc. I've heard success stories of people doing yoga, bouncing on medicine balls, and squatting. But ultimately, it really differs from individual to individual.

#4. Prep the baby corner and (confinement) necessities
Get ready a place to house your newborn, be it a corner in the living room (like us) or a whole room. If you have necessities you have yet to get, please do as soon as possible. Essential items such as a cot, diapers, wet wipes, nappy rash cream, etc. are things you should prepare beforehand, if not you will be fumbling the house when the baby starts crying. You could even decorate and make it a kiddy heaven. This goes especially to Asians who practice the ancient art of 坐月(zuo yue - confinement), if you haven't get the necessary, do stock up your pantry before the baby is here!

#5. Remove toxins from the infant (去胎毒)
Not sure if this is applicable to non-Chinese traditions, but my wife did sort-of-like a cleanse for the baby. Supposedly, some toxins gathered during the pregnancy may pass to the child, which will surface on their skin, if these toxins are not rid of. During the last few weeks of the pregnancy, my wife drank coconut water and corn husk tea (available in NTUC). Till date, the baby is growing pretty well and healthy. To be honest, not sure if it helps, but try it if you will.

#6. Raspberry leaf tea
Okay, this is supposed to help with dilation and reduce labour pains. Again, this may work out differently for various mothers. Not sure if it helps for us, but despite drinking two boxes of it, our dilation is still darn slow, not to even mention the labour pains. It doesn't work for us, but again, try it if you will.
#7. Spend more alone time with your hubby
With the arrival of the baby, you won't be able to spend as much couple time as you used to be. Even with a confinement nanny and a helper, my wife and I were still involved in lots of baby stuff. It is a STEEP learning curve (as I mentioned before, none of the antenatal class or prep talks can prepare you for parenthood). So, before the baby pops by, spend more time with your hubby, do what you guys like to do, stroll in a park, watch a movie (if the wife can sit for 2 hours), or a nice meal. Before the day our little Olivia came by, we went to a museum and drop by Fullerton to reminisce our wedding day (and catch the Christmas deco).