Tired of being tired? And of people asking you when you’re going to “pop”? What about all the questions – and inevitable stories – about labor? Everyone has to add their two cents about whether you should go the epidural route and about how long the pain lasts. There’s no sugarcoating it: The ninth month of pregnancy is like the other eight rolled into one. This is when everything hits you like a giant wave: You’re ready for it to be over, but nervous about what’s to come.
Jill Ralston of Chattanooga, Tenn., admits she had a great pregnancy up until the final days before her due date. “I felt like I was the size of an elephant and was so incredibly uncomfortable,” she says. “And this went on for two weeks. I could barely stand due to excruciating back pain, I had swelling in my feet and numbing in my hand. I know it’s a small price to pay for such a sweet ending, but it was really agonizing.”
Sheer exhaustion is usually the biggest obstacle during the last month. It’s also increasingly difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
What helps: Chamomile tea works for expectant mom Donna Marsh of Stratham, N.H. Because the fatigue is especially bad by the end of the day, she also says she makes
Back pain is almost inevitable towards the end of pregnancy (if you haven’t had it earlier). At this point, you’re carrying close to the full 25 to 35 pounds of your pregnancy and your center of gravity is pulled forward.
What helps: Prop up your knees on pillows as you sit on the couch or your bed. This will help to relieve some
Indigestion and heartburn are aggravated by the uterus pressing against the stomach. These symptoms generally subside once the baby drops into the pelvis, though this puts more pressure on the bladder—meaning more trips to the ladies’ room. Constipation can also occur due to the pressure of the uterus on your rectum, which slows the movement of food through the digestive tract.
What helps: Eat several small meals instead of two or three large ones. Wait an hour before lying down. Drink lots of water and eat high fiber foods.
Thanks to hormone fluctuations, you’re going to be emotional and you’re supposed to be, so go easy on yourself and be more forgiving of your mood swings (and if your husband doesn’t believe you, make sure he reads this paragraph!). You’re going through a huge change in your life
What helps: Just accept that it’s a normal part of pregnancy. Do what you can to pamper yourself, rest and take it easy. Many women find that projects–like cleaning the closets, decorating the nursery, knitting or scrapbooking–help keep their minds off the pain. To reduce panic about labor, it’s helpful to read books about what to expect. You should also be enrolled in a childbirth education class; the teacher is usually an experienced labor nurse who can talk with you one on one about your fears. It can also help to locate a doula and at least meet with her to see if she might be helpful to you. A doula helps you through labor, along with your medical care provider. Meditation can also be a powerful tool to find your inner strength and reassure yourself about your abilities, says author Brette Sember. Chattanooga mom Jill Ralston says what worked for her was just keeping her eye on the prize.
Some ankle puffiness is normal, but prolonged standing will make it worse.
What helps: Lying down for at least 30 to 60 minutes and resting on your left side is the best remedy, says Dr. Wilcox. (The left side is usually recommended as it increases blood flow to the heart, thereby increasing blood flow to the baby.) You should also elevate your legs as much as possible—ideally with a pillow under your feet. Drink plenty of water (it removes excess salt from your body) and eat less sodium. You can also try pregnancy support hose (found at maternity stores).
Another reason you feel so tired—it takes more effort to breathe! Ninth-month breathlessness is often caused by the enlarged uterus pressing against the diaphragm and crowding the lungs, as well as simply the physical exertion of carrying the weight of the
What helps: Try to sit up straight during waking hours and sleep with your head on two pillows. Breathlessness often improves once the baby’s head drops into the birth canal, about two to three weeks before delivery, leaving more room for the diaphragm.