b. "Quickening" is experienced. The patient actually feels life; this act of fetal
movement confirms the pregnancy. The father can also feel the movement; he can
then identify with the reality of pregnancy and accept it.
c. The fetus heartbeat is heard.
d. Both parents develop an interest in fetal growth and development.
e. The interest in processes of labor and delivery is expressed. At this point, the
parents may enroll in classes on childbirth and read appropriate literature.
f. The patient may have wide mood swings. She may be happy to sad for no
NOTE: Reassurance to the pregnant patient is very important to her--these are normal
emotional reactions to pregnancy.
g. The patient may have a tendency to introvert or to focus on herself as the
center of attention. She may concentrate on her own needs and the needs of the fetus
inside her. She reflects on her own childhood and her relationship with her mother. She
is preoccupied with her own thoughts and feelings. Preoccupation may cause trouble
for her and those around her. Those persons close to the patient must be informed to
expect her passiveness and dependency during this time. Extra love and attention
should be given to her during this time, as this will allow the patient to give more of
h. Changes in sexuality. The patient may have increased her interest in sex, the
fear of pregnancy is no longer a problem and the fear of hurting the fetus is gone.
There is an increase in sexual fantasies and dreams, and an increase in vaginal
lubrication. An increase in vaginal lubrication increases comfort for the mother during
intercourse. However, the partner may need to change positions for the comfort of the
PSYCHOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PREGNANT
PATIENT DURING THE THIRD TRIMESTER
a. Altered Self-Image. The patient is vacillating, going from being special,
beautiful, and pretty to being ugly, awkward, unsexy, and feels fat.
b. Fear. She dreams about the infant and what the future holds for the new
baby. She is concerned for the health and well-being of her baby. She is also
concerned for her own safety and "performance" during labor and delivery.
c. Aggravation. The patient is aggravated over things she can't do for herself
due to her size.