Reflections on Pregnancy: Weeks 30-36

You may notice from the title of this post that I am reflecting on weeks 30-36 of pregnancy and not from weeks 30-40. It appears my “birth story” has begun around 36 weeks (more on that in a later post) but I still wanted to capture these more “standard” experiences on the blog. If there’s one thing these last nine months have taught me it’s that there’s so much information out there and if you can consume it thoughtfully, it can be really beneficial.

Week 30 really was a transition in my pregnancy, as my belly got significantly larger (I think I gained 5 pounds between weeks 28-30) and I really started to feel the strain of the extra weight on my body. Plus, we had some of the hottest weeks in May and June this year, which really impacted how I felt at the end of the day. As I write, I’m grateful to say we’re in a really good place and all is stable, but I will say that the third trimester is no joke.

32 Weeks

Do Things Early and Give Yourself Time

One of the things I’ve said to my family is how glad I am we had my baby shower celebrations on the earlier side. It was so much nicer be comfortable at 30 weeks where I could socialize without feeling foggy or exhausted and really soak in the time with those who came to help us celebrate. Ryan and I also made a conscious effort to spend our weekends at home, at about 32 weeks on, so that we could tackle home and baby tasks early. The spring/summer season is busy enough during a normal year, but throw prepping a nursery and carseats and hospital bags in the mix and you’ve got quite the to-do list.

Take Advantage of Baby Registry Discount Codes

I highly recommend setting your baby registry “due date” a few weeks early to ensure you have your baby registry discount codes in advance, especially if, as I mentioned above, you’re trying to get things done early. While I loved Babylist for their registry platform, their discount code was a bit of a disappointment since you can only use it once. However, we’ve loved using Amazon’s code (note: you must be a Prime member!) even though some things are restricted. If you are really careful and compile things that Amazon doesn’t cover on Babylist, your single use discount code there can go much further. However, that’s a lot of mental energy. It is nice that we’ll be able to use Amazon’s code for awhile after baby is born because it does cover diapers, wipes, etc.

Do All the Things You Don’t Want to Think About

Ryan and I are quite practical people and pretty early on we started talking about how we needed to make sure we had a will and life insurance squared away, if not before baby, then shortly after. While it’s no fun to make plans for the “hard to think about” things in the future, it’s critical. The to-do list of logistical baby things seems extensive (get a birth certificate, get a social security number, freezer baby’s credit, open a 529, etc…) but I also think about the headache it was to change my name when we got married and have adopted a similar “one step at a time” mentality.

Start Labor Prep

I don’t know how much these things really help, but it did give me a little bit of control back to add red raspberry leaf tea, dates, and pineapple to my diet. Also, my birth ball and birth ball stretches became a life saver. While I haven’t been in a meditation mindset, pregnancy and birth affirmations have been helpful (I am safe, my baby is safe, I can do hard things…) and honestly, catching up on sleep has been key. If you can focus on hydration, nutrition, and rest during the third trimester, I would highly recommend you do.

Get Ready For Intense Fetal Movements

I cannot express how drastically baby’s movements changed around 30 weeks. He went from little wiggles to full blown kicks and barrel rolls. I could definitely tell he was growing into the space my belly was giving and the first time his foot jutted out of one side, I laughed out loud. Fetal movements are such an odd feeling but at the end of the day, they mean your little one is happy and healthy and growing. I will warn, however, not to be surprised at how lumpy your belly gets around 34 weeks, especially if baby drops on the earlier side like mine did. He was head down pretty early and his butt kept jutting out next to my belly button. Such an odd sensation!

Managing Swollen Feet & Pregnancy Brain

While I experienced standard pregnancy swelling in my feet and hands, it was definitely made worse by heat, humidity, and extended time on my feet during the school day. However, from weeks 33-35 I could barely fit into any of my shoes, including the ones I had just bought to accommodate my larger feet! It was unbelievably frustrating and the only thing I found that really helped was icing and elevating my limbs by the end of the day. Because swelling can be a sign of preeclampsia (swelling of the face is a big, red flag!) it put me a bit on edge. My doctor kept reminding me, though, that my blood volume had also expanded. If you’re feeling bad, however, I’ve learned you can’t just brush it off. For those, like me, who want to keep going, going, going- in pregnancy, it’s best to slow down.

Staying Aware of Your Blood Pressure Levels

When I really started swelling at the end of the school day, I started taking my blood pressure at home more regularly. I got a blood pressure cuff off Amazon and I’m glad I did because in the end, when my blood pressure spiked at home, I was able to touch base with my doctors and get ahead of things. (Note: taking your blood pressure at home is not a substitute for attending all your prenatal appoints. These are critical! It may be a pain to go so often but it’s so important to catch things early, if you need to.)

High blood pressure in pregnancy is no joke and because it’s still not totally understood, it’s always best to be safe. I will say, if it’s making you go a bit nutty, step back from the data. Otherwise, if it feels helpful, the more power to you. I find that the more I know about my body and what’s going on, the better I feel, which has been especially true throughout this pregnancy. Again, so much is out of your control- why not arm yourself with as much information as possible?

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