Caring for Yourself
Checking Your Posture and Caring for Your Back
During your 3rd trimester, your centre of gravity will continue to shift forward as your uterus and breasts get bigger. This can cause a sway or arch in your lower back, and this sway can cause your shoulders to slump forward. Poor posture can cause discomfort in your back, shoulders, and hips. Check your posture throughout the day by:
- pulling in your abdominal muscles – think “belly button to back bone”
- pulling your shoulders back and straightening your spine
- standing up straight and walking tall
Back pain is common in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. For more on good posture, back safety and comfort, click here
There may be changes in your sexual relationship, but it is possible for a couple going through pregnancy and parenthood to have an intimate relationship. Pregnancy may be a time to experiment. Find comfortable activities that please both of you.
Normally, sex does not harm the developing baby. However, if sex is painful, talk with your health care provider. Most couples can have sex right up until active labour. Your health care provider may advise you to avoid vaginal intercourse if you have conditions such as:
- your ‘water’ has broken (or your membranes have ruptured)
- the placenta is over the cervix (placenta previa)
- the cervix is opening early
- there is a history of preterm labour before or during this pregnancy
A mother’s orgasm can trigger the uterus to contract. This can happen even with masturbation or oral sex. However, this usually does not affect the baby. Contractions normally stop after a few minutes. If you have a risk for preterm labour, you may be advised by your health care provider to avoid orgasms during your pregnancy.
Oral sex can be an alternative to vaginal sex. Two points to remember are:
- Don’t let your partner blow air into your vagina because it can cause an air bubble in your blood stream. This is a very serious complication.
- Do not have oral sex if your partner has a cold sore (herpes virus) because the virus can infect you.
Sex will not start labour unless you are ready to go into labour already or are at risk for preterm labour. If you are in your 3rd trimester and your baby is due, sex may help your body get ready for labour. This is because:
- Semen contains a hormone called prostaglandin that may help start contractions and soften the cervix.
- Stimulation of the nipples by rubbing, rolling, or sucking releases the hormone oxytocin. This can also cause the uterus to contract. You will notice these as after pains when you first start breastfeeding after birth.
- Orgasm can cause the uterus to contract.
Perinatal depression is depression that may happen any time from when you first become pregnant to one year after your baby is born. Perinatal depression can impact you physically and affect your emotions, thinking, and behaviours. As many as one in five women in British Columbia will experience a major depression during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth. Perinatal depression can happen to women of all ages, cultures and levels of education.
For more information about perinatal depression, click here.
Depression during Pregnancy
While having a baby is usually a time of celebration, is can also be a stressful time, and you may find it hard to cope with sudden changes to your life. These changes may leave you feeling sad, overwhelmed and confused. For many women, the feelings go away quickly. But if you find that these feelings are not going away as your pregnancy progresses, you could be experiencing depression.
Depression during pregnancy can have an impact on your health, your pregnancy, the health of your developing baby, and the ability for you to care for yourself and your baby after the birth. It is important to recognize common signs of prenatal depression and to seek help. Getting help now will also reduce your chances of developing postpartum depression after your baby is born.
For more information about depression during pregnancy, click here.