Grounding Practices For Your Third Trimester
The golden trimester has passed, and the third trimester is in full swing. This trimester can bring on tons of excitement but also a lot of anxiety. Maybe you’ve taken a few birthing classes that interest you, and by now you probably have put together a birth plan, both which can help ease the jitters.
Remember though, there are many things you can not control when it comes to birth. Being consumed by thoughts like when your baby will come or how tough labor will be aren’t uncommon during the third trimester. But instead of getting too worked up about the unknown and the “what ifs” use this last trimester before baby arrives as the perfect time to slow down and ground yourself.
Here are three practices I’m using to ground myself during the last months of my pregnancy.
Walking is not only one of the best ways to stay active during your entire pregnancy, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to clear your mind and calm your nerves. Try walking for 30 minutes at least three days a week. P.S. Walking around the mall doesn’t count—I’ve asked.
Head out to the beach, a lush green park or a few beautiful tree-lined streets in your city. Get as close to fresh air, water, sun or a naturally energizing environment as possible.
Stretching daily can help alleviate aches and pains that come from your body changing during pregnancy. Your body is working hard to accommodate your growing belly, and you might find that one side of your body overcompensates for the other, causing tightness and pulling in your neck, back, and hips. Most women will feel very fatigued in their third trimester, and when you’re tired, your muscles tighten. When you stretch the body, you are increasing the blood flow to those muscles, gently waking them up. Stretching is an instant pick-me-up and an effective way to increase your energy.
Be mindful not to overstretch. During pregnancy, there is an increased production of a hormone called Relaxin. The hormone’s purpose is to relax, lubricate, and loosen the ligaments and joints of the pelvis, as well as soften the cervix, making the body ready for delivery. Relaxin can give you a false sense of your body’s capabilities, which can then lead to overstretching and injury.
While you can’t foresee precisely how your labor and delivery is going to go, visualizing a safe, peaceful, and happy birth is proven to have benefits. Close your eyes, envision your cervix opening up and your baby moving down the birth canal and out of your body. See yourself meeting your baby for the first time. Let that vision create a warm and loving feeling that surrounds your body and fills your heart. Practice this exercise regularly. It will help ease your nerves regarding labor and delivery. On the big day, go back to that vision and use it to comfort you.
You can also use visualization to help you get through contractions. A popular visual exercise during labor is to use the image of an ocean wave. As you feel a rush of intensity and pain, visualize the wave rising to its peak. The more intense the pain is for you, the higher the wave. As your pain starts to subside, imagine the wave coming down and crashing slowly against the shoreline. I used this visual exercise in combination with the manta “On the other side of this pain I will get to meet my baby!” during my homebirth with my daughter. It absolutely helped me get through the toughest moments of labor. Having a mantra to focus on and repeat is extremely helpful as well.
Taking the time to slow down is beneficial at this point in your pregnancy. And while sleeping might be more difficult than it’s been before, get in bed early and try to get those eight hours of sleep. You’ll need it!