Pregnancy: Third trimester update

Wow, I can’t believe how fast time is flying. Summer is almost over and September is already here.  This is the month I’m going to have a baby! 🙂 My due date is mid-September but I’m ready to welcome my little one anytime this month. Before that though, let me update you on what has been happening during the 3rd trimester of my pregnancy.

 

Health

I feel very lucky that I’ve been continuing to feel pretty good during my 3rd trimester. In fact, I feel healthier than ever. Digestion is good, mood is good, energy is also relatively good. The only thing I would complain about is sleep which is getting lighter (due to many bathroom interruptions and occasional sore hips from sleeping on my side with extra weight around the middle…!). But I compensate by taking naps whenever I feel the need for it. 😉

Exercise: I’ve been trying to keep taking care of myself by walking and doing yoga according to my energy levels, not pushing it and adjusting the intensity depending on how I feel. To be honest, I haven’t been doing too much in terms of exercise in this last trimester. My yoga practice is now mostly stretches and yogi squats 3-4 times a week (sometimes less) and I try to walk the equivalent of 2-3 hours a week. It seems to be enough to keep me flexible and able to move with relative ease. Listen to your body!

GBS: Between week 35-37, pregnant women are screened for GBS (Group B Streptococcus)in most industrialized countries. Pregnant women who test positive are then pressured into receiving IV antibiotics during birth. Fortunately, I worked with my ND (naturopathic doctor) and followed a very natural protocol to ensure that I would test negative. And I’m really glad to report that it worked. I don’t have to worry about either GBS nor antibiotics, which makes me very happy.

Stretch marks: At 38 weeks, I’m also happy to say that I’m still free of stretch marks. Not that’s a big deal because I believe there’s absolutely nothing wrong with stretch marks and they should be seen as a great reminder of the strength, resilience and adaptability of the female body. But I also believe that nutrition can play a role in keeping the skin strong and elastic despite the extraordinary transformation our bodies go through during pregnancy. To maintain a healthy skin, I am eating a lot of healthy fats (that means a lot of saturated animal fats of course!), using Lush Massage Therapy Bar or my own cocoa /shea butter mix, taking vitamin C (important for collagen synthesis)  and drinking homemade bone broth (recipe here) whenever possible. However, bone broth seemed a lot less appealing this summer with the heat, so I started supplementing with hydrolyzed collagen (from grass-fed beef, by Great Lakes Co.) around week 30 to keep my skin strong and elastic.

Iron stores: My ferritin levels dropped from before my pregnancy to week 30, while hemoglobin and platelets stayed well within normal. A drop in ferritin is usually anticipated and considered “normal” because baby is using a lot of your iron stores the extra blood volume can dilute the ferritin in your blood. My ferritin didn’t drop dramatically but enough that I wanted to do something about it to at least prevent it from dropping further. I have to say that I hadn’t been eating as much liver as usual. Actually, I didn’t eat any during my first trimester (the thought was simply disgusting!) and then I managed to get some about once a month during the second trimester. I decided to do an experiment and after 4 weeks of eating 6-12 oz of liver a week, my ferritin increased! Even while still being pregnant and having a now even larger baby taking more and more iron from me. It’s really motivating to have these numbers and I’ll definitely continue eating 6-12 oz of liver weekly to keep these up. I don’t necessarily enjoy liver but my favorite way to get it in is as liver pâté on cucumber slices. 😉 Let me know in the comments below if you’re interested in my recipe.

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naturopathic GBS protocol

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staying stretch mark-free

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boosting ferritin (iron) levels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nesting

I started the feel the nesting urge around week 36. With the help of my mom who visited for a few days, we washed all of the baby clothes and reusable diapers, prepared freezer meals and put my home birth kit together. I also got the last few things I still didn’t have (a car seat and other must-have items, while trying to keep it as minimal as possible).

It felt really good to get everything ready! Whether you’re planning a home birth or a hospital birth, it’s always a good idea to put the things you feel like you might need aside as you get closer to your date. To me, it’s really comforting to have crossed this off my to-do list and know that I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

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Clockwise from top left: my freezer is full of ready-to-eat meals, the baby diapers and clothes are clean, I have a beautiful bowl for my placenta and my home birth kit is ready.

 

Placenta: I even ordered a very special bowl with a lotus flower that I intend to use for my placenta. I know it might sound crazy, but the placenta is something very sacred for me. It’s the physical, emotional and spiritual connection between my baby and me for the last 9 months. And of course, I can’t tell you how nutritious the placenta is, especially if you’ve been eating a nutrient-dense diet before and during your pregnancy. 😉 Yes, you read that right: nutritious! I know that it might sound gross for many, but humans and animals have had the wisdom of consuming their placenta for thousands and thousands of years for a reason. Now, there is a lot of science backing this up and showing that consuming your placenta can help with preventing nutritional deficiencies for both mom and baby, regulating milk supply, helping with balancing hormones and even minimizing your risks of postpartum depression.

Not ready for a placenta soup? Neither am I! The easiest way to consume your placenta is to find someone qualified in your area to do placenta encapsulation for you (ideally raw). They would usually pick your placenta within 24 hours (while you keep it in the fridge), dry it and encapsulate it. Then it just looks like a supplements and you don’t have to deal with the ick factor.

Or if you want to save $200 (raising my hand!), you might even want to consider freezing your placenta into big chunks yourself to then consume hidden in smoothies (I’ve been told you really can’t taste it, I’ll let you know!). 😉 Here’s a good video on how to DIY placenta preparation (graphic) and placenta smoothie recipes for the brave souls.

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Lots of ready-to-eat food in my freezer (all Paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and nutrient-dense)!

 

Birth preparation

In the last trimester, I’ve been taking more time to prepare, plan and get ready for the big day. Taking hypnobirthing classes was really helpful for me (or if you can’t afford them, read the book and practice with the CD). I also finalized my birth plan and shared it with my husband, midwife and doula.

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I also took a lot of time to prepare the space where I intend to give birth. I chose meaningful pictures, decoration and artwork to help me stay in a calm, happy and positive state on that day. This is something you can do even if planning a hospital birth. Just pack these things aside to bring with you on that important day.

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My space for our home birth

 

Favorite books

I like to be prepared and informed… so I read a lot! Click here to read my posts about my favorite pregnancy and baby books:

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A few people also recommended this book Guide to Childbirth by Ina May (the midwife in the documentary “The Business of Being Born”, which I also highly recommend watching) and I also really enjoyed it. Especially the first section with the dozens of positive birth stories. We all need to hear more about them. 😉

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Honor your pregnancy

Having fun making a homemade belly cast

Pregnancy is such a special time. Taking lots of picture (or even getting a maternity photo shoot) and doing a belly cast are great ways to honor this very special time and the amazing ability of your body to create and nourish life.

 

 

Time to play

Taking time to play is also super important during the 3r trimester. After all, our life is about to change forever! 🙂 I’ve been trying to do at least on fun activity with my husband, family or friends every week. I really believe it’s something everybody should do, but I found that it’s just so easy to find excuses during my pregnancy… after all there’s so much to do before the arrival of this little one and you never feel 100% ready.

…but our to-do lists will never be empty and it’s impossible to be 100% ready for anything in life.

So go out and play! 🙂

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How was the last trimester of your pregnancy?

How did you prepare for your birth?

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