Psychological Changes in the Third Trimester
After the second trimester, expectant mothers begin to prepare for childbirth, both physically and emotionally.
The third trimester is the time of anticipation. Soon the nine months will come to an end, and your baby will be born. First-time mothers usually have increased anxiety and concern about labor and the delivery. Prepared childbirth classes, usually begun in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, are very helpful for educating parents-to-be about what they can expect.
Usually by the time the third trimester has arrived, any ambivalent feelings about the pregnancy have been resolved. During this time, you may feel very special. If you have had difficulty with infertility, the pregnancy may take on more than the usual significance.
During the third trimester, the baby begins to take on an identity of his or her own. You may set up the nursery at this time and make the final decision about a name for your child.
Some people treat a pregnant woman in a deferential way. They may offer her a chair in a crowded room or a seat on a crowded bus. However, this deferential treatment has some negative aspects as well. Some people believe a pregnant woman's ability to function professionally is diminished. If you are still working outside the home, you may face this.
Also, many first-time mothers report that their coworkers become increasingly anxious as the delivery date approaches, and you may find yourself needing to re-assure coworkers that you feel fine. Talking with a colleague who has been through a pregnancy and continued working can be particularly helpful. She can share with you how she dealt with her work situation.
If you are not at risk for complications, you can probably continue to work up to your delivery date. But many other factors affect this decision -- finances, health benefits, and so on. Make your decision based upon your own needs. Many women work until their due date. Others find they want some transition time away from their employment before their child is born.
How you feel about the physical limitations of the third trimester is a reflection of your concerns and feelings about impending motherhood. First-time mothers have a great deal of anxiety about whether they will know when labor will start. In women who have had previous children, Braxton Hicks contractions may be so strong that they also may not know when real labor has started.
During this time, you may need extra attention from your partner, your family, and your friends. You may need reassurance regarding your physical appearance, especially if your sex drive has diminished again, as well as reassurance regarding your ability to be a good parent.
Now you've got the tools you need to navigate the psychological changes that happen to the expectant mother during her waking hours. Go to the next page to discover common dreams that pregnant women experience.
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