The third trimester is both an exciting and challenging time in a pregnancy; there’s knowing that the time to meet your baby is getting closer and the prospect of finally implementing your wishes for your long anticipated birth story is feeling so much more real now that you can’t wait for it to begin.
And then there’s also all the niggles, cramps, pressure, and insomnia; there’s exhaustion, swelling, kicks that mean real business, and oh, just the general discomfort of carrying the enormous weight around…
“Would this baby just come already!?” Be honest, have you said something similar yet?
It’s completely normal to feel fed up, exhausted, uncomfortable, irritated or “so-over this pregnancy” as you go through the last few weeks, but there’s some good news too: you can still make the last stretch beautiful and enjoyable despite the niggles.
When my client’s are struggling with motivation and enjoyment through the last few weeks of pregnancy, I like to encourage them to try and change their perspective; while it’s so easy to focus on all the negative aspects of the last stretch (especially the discomfort), it can also be a distraction from the opportunity to find a sense of peace, love and bonding with your soon-to-be-gone baby bump.
It may sound like nonsense right now but there will come a time, after your birth, when you will look back and miss your belly. You’ll miss the funny, little, protruding belly button; you’ll miss feeling your baby move inside and seeing their little bumps and wondering what part of their tiny body it is; and you’ll miss being able to rub your hands over the roundness of your belly as you wonder what your baby looks like. It’s the little things that you overlook during the last few weeks, that will come back to memory one day and you’ll kind of miss them in some weird, personal way.
When lack of motivation and discouragement begins to show its face, I like to recommend what I call “intimate time” with your belly; think of it as a kind of a date with just you, your baby and your belly. This is a vital time for helping to shift the mind from the ‘negative’ while focusing on the beauty of the miracle that is pregnancy and encouraging a special early bond with your body and baby before the birth. This time promotes relaxation, deeper self-discovery and self-confidence, and it helps you to get more “in-tune” with your body which enables a better ability to listen to your body during the labour process and the postpartum period.
So, what is “intimate time” and how is it done?
Intimate time is a special time of privacy, intimacy and bonding with your body and your baby for about an hour or so to enhance the flow of oxytocin and other bonding/calming hormones.
Here’s how it’s done:
1) Be Alone
Go into a room where you can be alone and undisturbed; a room where you feel safe and comfortable (so maybe not your office or kitchen). Being alone helps to keep you focused in the present and encourages the flow of oxytocin by allowing you to feel safe in your own space to be yourself without distraction.
2) Create Darkness
Close the curtains, turn down the lights, and light some candles if you want. Oxytocin THRIVES in the dark and it helps you to feel less vulnerable and exposed.
3) Encourage Relaxation and Comfort
Play some music you find calming and relaxing; get into a comfortable position on your birth ball or your bed; take your clothes off; and perhaps diffuse some Lavender into the air. You can even start the process off with a candle lit bubble bath or shower if you want.
Whichever comfort and relaxation measures work best for you, use them now to your full advantage.
Get some baby/body oil/butter and gently massage your body, breasts, belly and thighs, soaking up every detail with love and affection; yes, even the stretchmarks and cellulite, this time is about self-discovery and self–appreciation.
Here are some examples that you could try:
- Follow the patterns of your stretchmarks with your finger like they’re little roads leading you to your baby.
- Bounce your fingers gently over your thigh dimples like little valleys of evidence of the nourishment your baby has received.
- Rub slow circles across your round belly visualizing your baby’s hair, fingernails, lips and toes.
- Tickle your belly button while you appreciate how your own baby’s belly button is connected to you.
- Cup and stroke your breasts while you envision your cervix as a flower that’s slowly coming to bloom; soon to open and bring fourth the beauty that it’s hiding beneath it’s closed petals – your precious baby.
Appreciate them for the life-giving nourishment they’ll soon provide.
- Sway your hips to the gentle motion of the music while you feel your pelvis rock your baby the way you would in your arms.
- Relax your muscles and be completely present in the moment, allowing yourself to savor every touch, every sound, every scent, every motion and emotion.
Get lost in your own safe space like a private, gentle, romantic adventure.
- Close your eyes, breathe deeply and totally immerse and enchant yourself into the quiet moment of gentle intimacy with just you, your body and your baby.
This time not only encourages the flow of oxytocin to establish a strong early bond with your baby and encourage the uterus to prepare for labour, but it also helps to establish a personal sense of respect, love and awe for your body (something most women struggle with) which will help you to appreciate yourself more (especially postpartum), and find a sense of peace and comfort in your last stretch as well. Most women find this useful for getting “in-tune” with their personal self which they find helps with listening to their bodies during labour; it can also bring a sense of self-confidence which can enable you to get through labour more easily.
The plus side; being heavily pregnant means that you have the liberty to take advantage of the ability to request being alone to relax during the last stages of your third trimester; you have every excuse under the sun to sneak away and have some “intimate time” to unwind, relax and bond.
I encourage you try it. You’ll be amazed at the beautiful difference it makes to your last stretch of pregnancy.
It may feel awkward and unfamiliar at first (especially if you’re conservative), but the more you practice this, the easier and more enjoyable it becomes.
Note: This is perfect to practice during early labour to help you relax and mentally prepare for the more vigorous labour ahead, and to progress the labour process while using it as a method of gently and intimately welcoming the soon arrival of your baby.
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