Third trimester of pregnancy, between heartburn and fear of childbirth

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The third trimester of pregnancy

Slow down, eat healthy, indulge in an afternoon siesta: these are some tips for dealing with third trimester of pregnancy. In particular the fatigue, which can make itself felt at the end of gestation.

But how to handle the fear of childbirth, the heartburn and other doubts that haunt future mothers? To answer, we contacted Dr. Andrea Dotta, head of Neonatal Intensive Care at the Bambino Gesù Hospital in the city.


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In this article

  • How to deal with the fear of childbirth 
  • The choice of the hospital
  • Pain control during childbirth
  • Skin-to-skin contact
  • Psychological support
  • The infectious risks
  • Medicines allowed in pregnancy
  • Nutrition during pregnancy
  • Heartburn: how to fight it
  • Weight control
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How to deal with the fear of childbirth

To address the fear of childbirth, the watchword is listening. Concerns, desires and expectations of the future mother.

To manage the fear of childbirth which can assault some women as the happy event approaches, it is important that a relationship of trust between the expectant mother and her gynecologist or gynecologist, and that the woman feels welcomed and listened to in the structure where she will give birth. Because, as the Guidelines for physiological pregnancy also recall, "pregnancy and childbirth are central and relevant moments for women and families, and must be lived with serenity, trusting in the quality of the National Health Service and in the skills of its professionals".

Read also: 6 tips to overcome the fears of childbirth

The choice of the hospital

To overcome the fear of childbirth It is useful to choose the hospital that makes you feel comfortable, to attend pre-birth courses, to share anxieties with your trusted gynecologist and to be aware that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to give birth.

Read also: How to choose the hospital where to give birth

Pain control during childbirth

Today, generally, birth paths make pregnant women known the procedures available for pain control during labor and delivery and accompany them in choosing the type of birth: the one that is most suitable, both for obstetric needs and for personal preferences. For example, today, many birth centers, at least the most advanced ones, offer and have teams prepared to manage spontaneous deliveries in positions other than the classic gynecological one: positions that favor the course along the birth canal by gravity.


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Skin-to-skin contact

In addition, it is important to communicate to expectant mothers that if the clinical conditions of the newborn allow it, immediately after delivery there is no better choice than to put it on your tummy: the immediate skin-to-skin contact relieves the trauma of birth and detachment, moreover, in this way the newborn receives microbes from the maternal skin that favor the development of its immune defenses, stimulates breastfeeding and milk loss (it is very likely that the newborn begins to climb the mother's womb in search of the breast) and favors the mother-child attachment, also counteracting the risk postpartum depression which unfortunately is an underestimated problem.

Symptoms of labor: how to recognize them

In most cases, speaking of physiological pregnancy, delivery occurs spontaneously in the 40th week of gestation. Full-term pregnancy is defined as giving birth between 37 and 41 weeks.
In the period preceding him, the woman accuses contractions uterus which, as time passes, increase in frequency and increase in intensity. In addition, the woman feels that the bottom of the uterus is lowered.
Other signs indicative of the fact that the fateful moment is approaching may be the possible release of muco-gelatinous vaginal discharge (mucous plug) and the increase in the frequency of uterine contractions: they become more rhythmic with intervals that gradually decrease. These are the symptoms of "labor": then it is appropriate to go to the birth point where you have decided to give birth.

Source: Childbirth - Women's health - Ministry of Health

Psychological support

Often underestimated is the importance of adequate psychological support that the expectant mother may need in case of insecurities and frailties. For example, there are those who do not feel up to the situation, are afraid of not being able to be a good mom (or a perfect mom). It is therefore important not to be afraid to talk about it and take advantage of the counseling of the psychologists of the birth path to live this delicate phase of your life with serenity and tranquility.

Those who manifest fragility and fears need to be listened to and not feel diminished with phrases such as "many have already done it, you are not the first to give birth".

The infectious risks

It is important that the future mother is recommended all those diagnostic investigations (vaginal and rectal swabs) to intercept possible vertical infections: that can be transmitted to the fetus. They are routine checks during pregnancy, which are performed around the 35th week of gestation, but it is important to remember their importance in protecting maternal-fetal health.

Read also: Pregnancy, all the exams you can do for free

Vaccinations to be done before pregnancy

It is important instead that in early pregnancy - even better if before planning a pregnancy - the woman checks her vaccination coverage status and the level of antibodies to those viral infections for which there are vaccines available. Because in case of non-coverage, it is advisable to proceed with vaccinations before becoming pregnant. "We remember this - reiterates Dr. Andrea Dotta - because we have recently found several cases of measles or chickenpox contracted at the end of pregnancy, and these are diseases that expose the fetus to risk. In the event of infection, it is advisable to contact the obstetric infectious disease center for adequate neonatal intensive care ".

Read also: Infections in pregnancy

Medicines allowed in pregnancy

What drugs to take in case of discomfort, even trivial, which may occur in the last period of pregnancy? In case of fever, headache or stomach ache, Dotta recommends the paracetamol and not other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories because they can cause hemodynamic changes on the fetus with possible fetal complications.

Also in the last period of gestation, the doctor of the Child Jesus of the city advises to limit the use of antibiotics. Although remember that different antibiotics they are safely prescribed during pregnancy.

Read also: Drugs in pregnancy: which are allowed and which are forbidden

Nutrition during pregnancy

It is now well established that it is not true that during pregnancy it is necessary to eat for two, but it is worth remembering how important it is, throughout the gestation period, to follow a healthy diet. In other words nutrition must be varied and adequate, both as regards the supply of nutrients and caloric intake. And not only for maternal and fetal health, but also for the future eating habits of the child (we talk about nutritional and metabolic imprinting).

Also important is the correct intake of vitamin D. for its useful properties not only for calcium metabolism but also for the development of the immune system.

The adoption of correct eating habits in this phase of life (but also during breastfeeding) it helps to ensure:

  • optimal development of the fetus
  • the birth and growth of a healthy and well-weighted baby
  • the health of the mother

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Heartburn: how to fight it

If typically the first trimester of pregnancy can be characterized by (more or less annoying) nausea, linked to the new hormonal adaptation. In the last trimester of gestation, on the other hand, we can frequently encounter the so-called heartburn: for a mechanical matter of abdominal bulk. The fetus gradually takes up more and more space and makes digestion more difficult. For this we recommend light and frequent meals. In the summer months, it is particularly important to remember to drink enough for proper drinking hydration.

Read also: How to sleep in pregnancy: the safest positions in the last trimester

Weight control

Continuing to monitor your weight is important until the end of the pregnancy. Control which must be accompanied by monitoring of glycemic levels, blood pressure and any edema (swelling) in the hands and lower limbs (legs, feet).

Because high levels of blood sugar and blood pressure and circulatory problems expose the fetus to risk of disease and can make delivery and adaptation to the birth of the newborn more difficult.

Sources for this article:

  • Women's Health - Pregnancy - Ministry of Health
  • Physiological pregnancy guidelines
  • Nutrition in pregnancy - Bambino Gesù Hospital of the city
  • Infectious diseases in pregnancy - Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital of the city
  • Treating for Two: Medicine and Pregnancy - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

To learn more:

  • nausea in pregnancy: 15 tips to fight it
  • the second trimester of pregnancy: that's why they are considered the best months
  • sports during pregnancy in the third trimester
  • the importance of nutrition in the nine months
  • vitamin b6 in pregnancy
  • birthmarks in pregnancy: what they depend on and how to behave
  • stomach upset during pregnancy, what happens quarter by quarter
Also read: 12 phrases NOT to say to a woman in the third trimester of pregnancy

Questions and answers

What to do in case of insomnia during the third trimester of pregnancy?

Insomnia is caused by a little anxiety and cluttering the uterus, which worsens the quality of sleep. This can be partially remedied by sleeping on the side and supporting the abdomen with pillows.

What signs tell us that childbirth is approaching?

  • the belly has lowered: the child has channeled and this causes the belly to tend down a lot
  • you breathe better: the baby and the uterus have descended and therefore no longer exert a strong pressure on the chest

How long can labor last at most?

The duration of labor is generally longer (about 12-14 hours but can vary from woman to woman) when it comes to the first child, otherwise it does not exceed 7 hours. Generally, the less intense the contractions, the longer the duration of labor.

  • weeks 29 40
  • give birth
  • heartburn
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