Welcome to my third trimester! If you are also in your third trimester, I hope that my experiences can give you some relief. If you’re not there yet, I hope this keeps you optimistic about the last leg of pregnancy.
These last few months are uncomfortable – eerily similar to the first few months, but heavier. Hopefully you will have more energy than I did, because not only did fatigue return, but I also had lower thresholds for walking and standing – my poor body just creaked and groaned. If you too spend a lot of time on the couch (the only place that was comfortable), I highly recommend organizing digital photos. Specifically – start setting up photo books, and otherwise printing or archiving photos from your phone because said phone will soon be full of baby photos…so it’s a great time to clear up some digital space.
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What I Wish I Knew #1 – New Skin Tags
I did know that my skin would change and not just stretch. I braced myself for ‘the mask of pregnancy’ (melasma), because my olive skin colors easily. Well, I somehow dodged the mask, but I did not escape moles.
Yep. Moles. And skin tags – dangly moles. I developed these in my armpits, upper breast, and bikini line. I didn’t expect them at all, so you can imagine my surprise. I also expected them all to deflate or disappear after Baby Jupiter’s birth…well, at the time of writing I am eight weeks postpartum and still have moles. A friend has already told me that her pregnancy-induced moles needed professional removal. I fear that this will be my fate also.
Update, 11 months postpartum
Only one small mole remains! Breast moles melted back into the flesh first, then armpit moles were gone by about month nine. One small mole remains, but I only sit on it so it’s not a bother. Happy that I have not needed professional mole removal!
What I Wish I Knew #2 – Pregnancy Induced Carpal Tunnel
Thanks to some late night Googling I learned that tingling hands can be a carpal tunnel early warning, or just the result of sleeping in an odd position. Only time will tell you, and if it’s carpal tunnel it can strike at any time.
My random arm and hand tinglings actually started in the second trimester, but they were very few and far between. Certainly not often enough to really worry about. But wouldn’t you know – I developed carpal tunnel in my last week of pregnancy – how cruel! Sleeping was dodgy already, now I needed to keep my hands elevated too. I was setting up a new Moleskine but needed to stop because writing by hand was painful. I hoped that it would disappear after birth like my heartburn, but -nope- my pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel just opened the door to de Quervain’s tenosynovitis (say that ten times fast). Again – at the time of writing I am eight weeks postpartum. I’m taking ibuprofen most days, lifting Baby Jupiter hurts, and I have never appreciated normal thumbs as much as I do now.
Update, 11 months postpartum
De Quervain’s is such a pain in the thumb. After wearing braces as often as possible for about five months (condition only got worse!), I was approved to see to a physical therapist. I received injections in both wrists, and have been seeing an occupational therapist once a week. When in OT we work on loosening up the tendons, and increasing hand strength (I was way below the average for women my age).
Update, 13 months postpartum
My occupational therapist and I agreed that I graduated therapy without needing more shots! The weekly appointments (for about three months) did their magic. Each appointment I spent time with a therapeutic laser, ultrasonic wand (warms up the wrists through and through), room temp stretches with a rubber waffle disc, and warm stretches inside of a fluidotherapy unit (a fun contraption that blows hot corn husks in a chamber – sounds crazy, but it was wonderful). Strength is up to low normal, mobility is greatly improved, and daily pain is gone!
What I Wish I Knew #3 – Stretch Marks
The moment that I entered the third trimester I waited for my stretch marks. Every time I removed my shirt I thought “Today’s the day.” But that day never happened.
I suppose it’s more common to read about women being tigers and ‘earning their stripes’ and it’s certainly easy enough to find anti-stretch mark lotions, belly butters, and schemes…but I did not expect to be unscathed. That’s right. No stretch marks. To be fair, I didn’t get any stretch marks as a teenager either; I just don’t experience rapid growth (or my collagen keeps up?). I don’t bring this up to #humblebrag I bring it up to say that stretch marks are unpredictable and unavoidable. I did moisturize my belly towards the end of my pregnancy -but not to avoid stretch marks- it was because I have eczema and December is always hard on my skin. The reality is that the closest anybody gets to preventing stretch marks is hydrating from the inside out. So keep your water bottle full, and apply potions as needed for comfort. I prefer to blend apricot oil with coconut oil because it makes my skin feel great, it’s affordable, and feels clean.
What I Accidentally got Right #1 – Greek Yogurt
This trimester I was craving ice cream like no other. I tried to be moderately healthy by limiting myself to one root beer float on Fridays, but instead of having one day with ice cream I often had six days with ice cream. Oops.
I started feeling guilty about my ice cream indulgences as friends were dealing with gestational diabetes. I didn’t develop GD, but I started to feel that my sweets intake was pushing some limits. I needed a substitute, and sherbet was not going to work. So I joked about “tricking the baby into thinking that yogurt is ice cream” and it worked!
I started eating yogurt every morning -not that sugary goo- real yogurt. And my ice cream cravings dramatically fell. I loved Fage for greek yogurt, but couldn’t find full fat greek. So I started buying Noosa for the full fat (non-Greek) milk products, because full fat generally means no added sugars. Read labels! As my yogurt intake increased, my cravings for ice cream decreased. It seemed that by body simply required cold spoonable calcium.
What I Accidentally got Right #2 – Use a Grocery Pickup Service
When I first learned about curbside grocery pickup services my first thought was “Gosh, how lazy!” then I imagined that it was raining and I had a sick kid in the car and I just needed stuff for chicken soup…so my second thought was “Oh…that’s genius.”
Generally I am not a Walmart shopper, but curbside pickup has changed me into one. I don’t have to walk up and down aisles – just use the search bar. Yes, you can still order non-food items like laundry detergent. But coupons are not supported, and not all locations support online beer and wine sales. I make an order each week of diapers, bottled water, protein bars, tea, and whole milk. The minimum order is very easy to meet. Now that Baby Jupiter is here I especially love curbside pickup.
- Want to read more about what I love? Here are my Picks of the Week, Week № 47 (curbside grocery pickup makes another appearance!)
This is part of my “What I Wish I Knew About The __ Trimester” series.
Need a different trimester? Here you go!
- First Trimester (weeks 1-13)
- Second Trimester (weeks 14-27)
- Third Trimester (weeks 28-40)
- Fourth Trimester (first three months postpartum)