Shooting weddings in the third trimester can be so incredibly challenging physically and emotionally. You’re, at this point, a very pregnant wedding photographer who is getting ready to bring a baby into this world and yet you still have an editing queue a mile long, the nursery isn’t ready yet and you haven’t put any of the baby clothes away and all you want to do is cry but you’re too tired for that. Ah. Welcome to the third trimester.
So what’s it like shooting weddings in the third trimester?
Pain… like, freaking everywhere. Your hips, your legs, your back, your neck – you name it, it can get pretty darn sore nearing the end of pregnancy. Those wonderful pregnancy hormones, relaxin in particular, is helping to loosen all the joints in your pelvis to aid in baby’s arrival. Unfortunately this hormone doesn’t target only the pelvis – it target’s your whole damn body. You may have been able to handle a 12-hour wedding pre-pregnancy only to find that 6-hours is difficult come trimester 3. Don’t be afraid to ask your second shooter for help. Your job is important but your health is important too.
Swelling…like, freaking everywhere. We talked about swelling in our article about trimester 2 but did you know that you can swell in more places than just your feet? Your hands and fingers can get swollen and even cause carpal tunnel. This makes holding a camera and maneuvering the buttons quite difficult. Sound bad? Yeah, it sucks – but you know what sucks more? When your vagina swells. Yep – we’re talking about that! No holding back here, folks, this is a REAL article about the REAL stuff that can happen when you’re a pregnant wedding photographer. Navigating a wedding day can be difficult if you’re having pelvic pain associated with swelling. Again, the help of an assistant or second shooter is ideal as they can be your “runner” (ie: the person who runs somewhere quickly to get a shot if you can’t physically move that quickly). There are a few things you can do for swelling but make sure you talk to your doctor about what the correct management option would be for you.
Lack of bladder control. If you haven’t already started wearing a liner 24/7, now would be the time. Hell, you may even need more than just a liner by the end of your pregnancy. There’s a good chance you might pee yourself a bit when you try to get up from that squatted position, or sneeze, or bend over, or laugh… or… well, you get the drift.
Exhaustion/fatigue. Remember how the fatigue was killer in the first trimester? Time to revisit those days! Fatigue affects most mamas-to-be in the end of their pregnancy so think again about doing a few late-night editing marathons as an attempt to catch up.
Heartburn & leg cramps. Sorry to break it to you; these only get worse after the second trimester.
Braxton Hicks. I can picture it now; you’re trying to get a beautiful macro shot of the most gorgeous diamond. You’re manually focusing and making the tiniest of adjustments. Just as you’re about to press the shutter your uterus clamps down as a “trial run” for the big show that’s going to happen in the near future. Some people find Braxton Hicks a nuisance while others find them to be quite uncomfortable and distracting. I cannot emphasize the importance of a second shooter enough in the third trimester.
If you make it through to 37 or even 39 weeks and are still shooting 12+ hour weddings, good for you! If you tap out after 6 months and go on mat leave early, good for you too! You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do keep yourself healthy both mentally and physically. Shooting weddings in the third trimester is no easy feat but some women do it, just make sure you know what you’re in for!