So you are finally nearing the end of pregnancy. Very soon you will be holding your baby in your arms. But till the third trimester lasts, your body will be going through certain changes that may leave you feeling rather uncomfortable. In my previous articles, I wrote about the symptoms of the first trimester and the symptoms of the second trimester. Here are a few of the things to expect in the third trimester which lasts from week 28 of pregnancy to about week 40:
You are likely to feel very tired and strained during the third trimester. This is because your uterus has reorganized other organs in your body causing feelings of discomfort. Do try to do some light exercise such as swimming or prenatal yoga. However do not push yourself too much; listen to your body. If you do not feel like exercising, don’t force yourself. At the same time, if your energy levels have gone really low, then do visit your doctor as you may be anemic. Anemia can be treated with iron supplements.
2. Pain in the Back
Due to the fact that your belly is now bulging out, it could affect your posture and give you back pains. Furthermore, the hormone, relaxin (which is responsible for relaxing your joints before delivery) is causing more of a strain on your body. Wearing a belly bra could help. If the back pain gets severe it is a good idea to visit a chiropractor and get some prenatal treatment done. Or else visit a spa and get a massage done. Avoid lifting any heavy items, also avoid bending down to pick things up.
3. Bad Dreams
It is common for mothers-to-be to have bad dreams in the second and third trimester. These bad dreams are caused by the fact that the soon to be a mom is very anxious about becoming a mom. Some common themes of these dreams are not being able to be a good mom, of labor pains, of losing the baby and of losing control over situations. Don’t get too anxious over these dreams as these dreams are most likely nothing but an outlet for your anxiety.
4. Breast Growth
By the time your due date approaches, you will have about 2 pounds of additional breast tissue. Nearing your delivery, it is possible that your nipples start leaking colostrum, a yellowish fluid that is good for the baby during the first few days of its life.
5. The Urge to Urinate Frequently
Since the uterus is putting a lot of pressure on your bladder you will most probably feel the urge to urinate frequently. You might also experience what is called urge incontinence; uncontrollable and sudden urges to urinate. Try following a schedule to urinate, for example after every hour or so. Avoid drinking coffee as caffeine is a diuretic which is likely to worsen urge incontinence. However, make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water so as you remain hydrated, also eat high fiber foods so as to avoid constipation.
6. Shortness of Breath
Your uterus has expanded right beneath your diaphragm, which is the muscle below your lungs. This can cause you to feel out of breath upon even the slightest of exertion. It is a good idea to focus on good posture so as your lungs get more room to expand.
Due to all the hormones that are circulating around your body, the sphincter (the muscle between your stomach and esophagus) gets relaxed. This results in the acidic juices of the stomach rising into the esophagus that causes heartburn. Furthermore, your uterus has expanded so much that it is pushing your stomach against your throat which makes the heartburn worse. Avoid acidic or spicy foods, fatty or fried foods. Also avoid caffeine, fizzy drinks, and some dairy products such as ice cream and milk. Eating small meals at intervals also helps. Sit upright while eating and eat at least two hours before bed. Avoid eating anything too close to bedtime.
During the third trimester, it is common to have swollen feet and ankles. This is caused by the fact that the expanded uterus creates pressure on the veins that are responsible for returning blood from your legs and feet. There could also be swelling in your hands, arms, and legs which create pressure on the nerves, causing numbness and tingling. Avoid sitting with your legs crossed and do sit with your legs propped up as it helps reduce swelling. It is better if you avoid standing for long periods, but if it is a must then move around a bit; do not stay stationed at one place.
9. Varicose Veins, Hemorrhoids, and Spider Veins
Red veins, known as spider veins might appear on your skin due to increased blood circulation. Reddish or blue lines known as varicose veins might appear beneath the skin’s surface, especially in the legs. Hemorrhoids (varicose veins that appear in the rectum) are also a possibility.
Elevating your legs and wearing support stockings can help relieve the pain of varicose veins. Hemorrhoids can be prevented by avoiding constipation. To prevent constipation, include lots of fiber in your diet and have plenty of fluids.
10. Braxton Hicks Contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions are experienced by some women in the second as well as the third trimester. It happens when the uterus starts contracting in order to build strength for the delivery. These contractions are very weak and occur unpredictably. If the contractions become regular or painful then do contact your doctor as you could be experiencing preterm labor.
11. Vaginal Discharge
It is common to experience heavy vaginal discharge nearing the end of your pregnancy. If one panty liner gets soaked up within a few hours or if you feel that the discharge is not vaginal discharge but is amniotic fluid, then contact your doctor.
The third trimester is likely to be the most difficult trimester for the expectant mom particularly because you are carrying around at least 20-30 extra pounds and your uterus has expanded disturbing the position of other organs. However, if you take good care of yourself over the course of the final trimester, you will soon be rewarded with the birth of your little bundle of joy.