Back in July, I wrote a post on the must-have items for staying comfortable during pregnancy. Of course, back in July, I was only in my 2nd trimester, and I had little foresight as to what would come. While that list still feels relevant to me, especially if you’re still in the first or second trimester, if you’ve reached the unique span of life that is the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, what you need is a little updated. For those of you who are, like me, counting down the minutes until your little bundle enters the world (and gets the hell out of you!), here’s a list of my 3rd-trimester must-haves and survival tactics!

For Acid Reflux

Thank God for family! While chewy tums and–now that it’s been approved by my doctor–zantac both remain staples in my life, the real hero when it comes to handling acid reflux comes in the unexpected form of pickle juice.

Think I’m crazy? I don’t blame you!

I was so sick with acid reflux one day that I could barely hold on a conversation. My cousin wandered off and came back with a solo cup half-filled with pickle juice straight from the jar and told me to drink it, and I looked at him like he had two heads. Of course, I was in so much pain that I would have done just about anything at that point, so after a bit of eye-rolling I gamely downed the cup.

Ten minutes later, I could breathe. Fifteen minutes later, the acid was completely gone and I could enjoy dinner with the family.

Pickle juice, guys. F’real. It’s a lifesaver.

For Insomnia

Between crazy dreams, getting up 5 times a night to pee, and the general aches and pains of pregnancy, getting sleep in the 3rd trimester takes some real skill. The best thing we did this trimester was invest in a good mattress (we went with the Puffy brand, which had great online ratings and was running a labor day sale when we were looking). Seriously, the memory foam lets me sink in just enough, and then is firm, so it supports my belly and my back like nothing I could have imagined.

Not in the market for a new mattress? Invest in a couple of different pillows, especially a pregnancy pillow and a husband pillow. No one position is going to be good every night–or even all night long–but by giving yourself a couple of different options in the support department, you can knock out a couple of hours of sleep at a time.

For Hemorrhoids

Here’s a fun little pregnancy treat they don’t teach you about in SexEd. The first time it happened to me, I couldn’t get this stupid video out of my head and wandered around the house saying “My anus is bleeding!” (There’s a fun image for you to enjoy).

According to the OB, there’s no good cure–except, as he says, “Baby out!” Since that’s still several weeks away, we make do with a couple of feel-good items to dilute the pain. Specifically, I’ve been relying on a steady diet of Charmin Wet Wipes and Preparation H to keep things down there from getting any more chafed and uncomfortable. It’s not a miracle cure by any means, but it does help!

For Incontinence

Another fun memory for the scrapbook? Heading to Labor & Delivery, certain that my water had broken, only to be told by a friendly nurse, “that’s not amniotic fluid–that’s urine.”

Apparently, pregnancy-related incontinence is exceedingly common. I had thought it was limited to the occasional dribble when I sneeze or laugh too hard, but apparently a well-placed kick from kiddo can cause the entirety of my bladder to release without any kind of warning at all. Let me tell you: When you are the size of a barn and already feel great about yourself, learning that you wet yourself in a Five Guys parking lot does wonders for your emotional well-being.

The solution? Invest in some adult diapers and don’t look back. No, you won’t feel sexy when you put them on, nor will you want to admit–even to yourself–that it’s come to this. But at the end of the day, I’d rather know, in my own head, that I’m free from leaking than risk wetting myself at work or family dinner and having everyone know about it.

The third trimester is a short period of your life (unless you’re planning to be like my grandmother and go through this upwards of 16 times). Suck up being less-than-sexy for a couple of months in lieu of being sanitary, and know that your kid will stop kicking you in the bladder when they stop being inside of you.

For Emotional Well-Being

All right. So, you’ve got acid burning a hole in your throat, you haven’t slept in a month, you’re aching, you’re bleeding, and you’re peeing your pants. Why wouldn’t you be having a great time?

More than anything else, I have found that protecting my emotional well-being this trimester has been key to making it through each day. Though I laid the foundation earlier in my pregnancy, the third trimester is when this has really become important.

The most important keys for your emotional well-being are things that money can’t buy. It’s important to maintain a sense of humor throughout the third trimester (even if that does mean announcing “my anus is bleeding!” to your husband to get him to laugh or letting your buddy have a go about how you and your child will get to potty train together). It’s also important to stay busy and make plans. If the baby comes when you’re supposed to be out apple picking with the family, they’ll understand why you didn’t make it–but if you don’t go out because the baby might come, and then she doesn’t, you’ll be the one crying that you have the gestational period of an elephant.

I spent weeks 30-35 doing nothing but begging Babyface to find a map and crawl her way south. Part of that stemmed from discomfort, but a greater part stemmed from fear–of the unknown, of the labor process, and of how long she’d be in there. At my last appointment, my OB confirmed that he’ll pull her in the 39th week if she doesn’t come on her own, and suddenly I felt a weight come off of my chest. The rest of those fears were still there, but at least I wasn’t going to be pregnant until I was 70.

When I came to terms with the fact that she wasn’t going to come early, but on time–sometime between October 16th and October 23rd–I was able to begin living my life again. I’m not saying I don’t have moments where I look down and shout, “You’re cooked! Get out of there!” But for the most part, I’ve been able to take some time to enjoy things I won’t be able to enjoy when she does come: Apple picking with my family, video games with my husband, and naps on weekends. And I’ve found that the busier I stay, the less I anxiously await her arrival–or bemoan my current condition.

Past a sense of humor and a full calendar, however, there are a few things you can grab to help with your emotional well-being. I’ve really enjoyed meditating to whale song, and I’ve found that a cup of sugar-free chai in the morning or apple pie tea in the evening helps me to say no to other cravings (Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spiced Latte, you are mine once Babyface gets here!) I’ve also enjoyed reading–and re-reading–some parenting books, as well as learning from and taking inspiration from vloggers with different parenting styles.

New to the vlogging world? I recommend Tres Chic Mama, This Gathered Nest, the Mellow Mama, Caitlyn Neier, Natalie Bennett, and Olivia Zapo. They all have different parenting styles, and I’m of the “little column A, little column B” camp when it comes to parenting, but all the parents featured clearly love their kids and tend to keep their cool when the going gets rough, which I admire.

Unfortunately, as my doctor said last week, the only real way to get comfortable again once the 3rd trimester kicks in is Baby–Out! Until that blissful day (or the day after–I suspect day of hurts pretty bad), this guide may help you keep your cool and muddle through those last few months. As for me? I will take any advice moms who made it through this time are willing to give. How did you all stay sane in the last month of pregnancy?

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