Ah, the third trimester -- you’re belly is big and beautiful, you’ve been showered with gifts -- and you pee each and every time you sneeze.
The third trimester may not be the most comfortable part of pregnancy, but there are a lot of ways to try to make these last three months a little easier. Talk to your healthcare provider to make sure there aren't any restrictions on your activity.
The peeing problem
While there’s no easy fix for this one -- as your baby starts hanging out lower in your pelvis, she or he’s right there by your bladder -- regular Kegel exercises will help your pelvic floor muscles stay strong. Kegels can also help ease the whole why do I pee if I sneeze, cough or laugh too hard? issue. Simply squeeze those muscles -- like you're holding back the flow of urine -- then relax, letting them open. It's great preparation for labor and postpartum, too.
Relief for hemorrhoids
These annoying -- sometimes very painful -- swollen blood vessels by your anus are pretty common during the third trimester. Try soaking in a warm sitz bath or applying cool pads soaked in witch hazel -- you can find both at your local drugstore.
Your aching back
An easy stretch you can do at home -- sit on the floor or bed, crossing your legs. Gently drape one arm over the opposite knee as you look over your shoulder. You should feel a nice stretch starting at your low back all the way up toward your shoulder. Repeat on the other side. Many moms find chiropractic adjustments helpful to stay comfortable in the third trimester, too.
Rock that pelvis
If you’re taking prenatal yoga, you may be familiar with the “cat cow” pose -- if not, it’s easy to do. Get in a hands and knees position on the floor or bed. As you inhale gently and slowly through your nose, round your back. Then exhale slowly through your mouth as you come back down, straightening your back. This is a great way to ease any back or pelvic pain you may have. It’s also a great way to condition your pelvis for labor -- the rocking motion helps open your pelvis and will give your baby more room to rotate into the ideal position for labor and birth. Make sure to open your legs while doing this -- being all lady-like won’t give you the same benefits!