The first trimester brings morning sickness, fatigue and the all-consuming fear that you will lose your baby. The good news is most miscarriages occur before a woman even knows she is pregnant, but a lot of miscarriages still occur after a woman knows. With most of them happening in the first trimester. Every pregnant woman knows that their chance of miscarriage drops drastically when they enter their second trimester, so they countdown the weeks until they are ‘in the clear.’
The second trimester is usually the best trimester. Woman get their energy back, and a lot of them wave goodbye to their morning sickness, but it also brings another anxiety filled event; the anatomy scan. Many women are very nervous when they go in for the anatomy scan, as it is much more than a gender reveal. This is when they will take a very close look at your little one and make sure that everything is growing the way it should be, or shouldn’t be. It can be a true fear for a mom as she is worried that she will receive some bad news.
Finally, the third trimester comes around. It can be a hard trimester for a mom as she battles her growing belly, the heartburn and just being uncomfortable all the time. Most women, feel a bit relieved at this stage as they assume that everything is finally fine with their pregnancy, and not much can go wrong. We don’t mean to bring fear to people, but there are a few warning signs that occur in the third trimester that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Most of the time, it’s nothing to worry about, but here are 15 red flags that you should give your doctor a call about.
Finding blood at any point of a woman’s pregnancy can be very disconcerting. We are trained to know that if we see blood, we need to worry. It is important to know that it can be normal for a woman to bleed during her pregnancy, some women get period-like bleeding their whole pregnancy and everything turns out to be fine. Whether normal or not, bleeding should always warrant a call to the doctors, as a precaution.
Most woman assume that if bleeding is going to happen at any point in their labour, it is going to happen in the first trimester. That is not always the case, if you are in your third trimester and you notice bleeding, it is always time to call your doctor as soon as possible. This can be a sign that there is something wrong with the placenta, as bleeding can mean that it is detaching from the uterine wall. Bleeding can also mean premature labour.
Cramps are a wonderful thing – said no woman, ever! In my opinion, one of the perks of being pregnant is that you get a little break from your monthly friend, flo. You will most likely still experience some growing pains and ligament pain, but for the most part the menstrual-type cramps stay away. If a woman in her third trimester starts experiencing cramps it is a good idea to give their doctor a call.
This can be a little tricky, if a woman is 38 or more weeks pregnant, cramps are probably an indicator that your going into labour. However, if you are less than 38 weeks it could mean that you are going into premature labour. Premature labour is most likely going to occur early in a woman’s third trimester, and can be quite dangerous. The good news is, that a baby born prematurely in the third trimester has a good chance of surviving. It may require a stay in the NICU, but they can thrive. If you are experiencing cramps, it is important to call your doctor or hospital right away, as sometimes intervention can be done to put a halt on premature labour.
12 Back Pain
Pregnancy is such a tricky thing, when does a woman possibly know when a common pregnancy symptom turns dangerous. Back pain can be a common, uncomfortable symptom of pregnancy. It also doesn’t always wait to show up. Some women experience back pain from the very beginning of their pregnancy, while others experience it much later along in their pregnancy.
Back pain can be very normal; it is expected that there will be some strain on your back from carrying all that baby weight in the front. There is a point where back pain can be an indicator that something is not right. It is always a good idea when a mom is in her third trimester to report any back pain to her medical professional. Back pain can be an indicator of pre-term labour. I had a close friend who has some back pain when she was a month away from her due date, but assumed it was just from being so pregnant. Went to her normal check-up with her OB and was 4 cm’s dilated! A quick phone call never hurt anyone.
11 Sudden Swelling
Don’t we all love the swelling that comes along with pregnancy. Your rings don’t fit on your fingers anymore, you can no longer wear all those cute shoes. The best decision I made in my third trimester is purchasing a pair of crocs. They were the best thing for my swollen feet and I lived in them for the last few months of pregnancy. I am officially recommending them to any pregnant woman, no matter how ugly you think they are. Well, we aren’t here to talk about shoe options when pregnant, we are here to talk about potentially dangerous symptoms.
While swelling is to be expected when you are expecting, sudden swelling in your hands, feet and face is something to take very seriously. It can be a symptom of pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is a very dangerous and serious condition some women face in their third trimester; it includes very high blood pressure plus the failing of one organ. The only cure is to deliver your baby, so quick diagnosis is crucial. The good new is that at the end of your pregnancy, you will have very routine and often visits with your doctor, and they screen you for it at every visit.
10 Blurred Vision
Blurred vision can be something that happens when a pregnant woman stands up too quickly. A woman’s blood level is increased, and standing up too quick can cause it to move much faster and can make a woman feel faint or have blurred vision. This type of blurred vision only lasts for a few seconds or minutes, and usually goes away when the woman sits back down and rests.
If you experience blurred vision during your third trimester, it is very important to inform your doctor. This can be another sign that you have pre-eclampsia. When a woman has pre-eclampsia, the amount of blood and oxygen your baby is getting through the placenta decreases. This can cause a mom to have blurred vision as well as the other symptoms that come along with pre-eclampsia. Doctors encourage moms to call or visit when they feel something is not right, so they won’t mind the phone calls.
9 Sudden Weight Gain
The reason a lot of these symptoms mean pre-eclampsia, is because that is the most common and dangerous condition that a woman can encounter in her third trimester. It is also one not to be taken lightly, so it is crucial that women know all the symptoms to watch out for.
Weight gain is expected when you are growing a baby inside of you. Women tend to stress if they don’t think they are gaining enough weight, or if they think that they are gaining too much. Every woman’s body and pregnancy is different and there is no certain guideline about how much or how little a woman should gain. While there is no set number, there are certain weight areas your doctor will want you to stay within. If, in your third trimester, you are gaining more than two pounds a week, let the doctor know. The good thing is that your doctor should be monitoring your weight at every appointment so they will be on the watch too.
8 Leg Pain
You reach a point in your pregnancy where everything hurts, everything. Placed in your body that you swore you could never feel will suddenly hurt. It is just one more wonderful thing about being pregnant, can you sense the sarcasm? While many aches and pains are common when pregnant, if you experience any leg pain, you should give your doctor a call.
Leg pain could be due to sciatica, a pain caused by an irritation of the sciatic nerve. This condition is unpleasant, but not usually dangerous. Don’t assume that your leg pain is caused by sciatica as it could be something more dangerous. It could indicate that there is something more serious going on, like deep-vein thrombosis or uterine fibroids.
Deep-vein thrombosis is a condition when a blood clot forms in a vein located deep inside your body. Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths of the muscle tissue of the uterus. Some women feel silly for calling their doctor for every little thing, please don’t feel that way.
7 When Peeing Is Painful
Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but when I was pregnant I went to the bathroom every ten minutes. Maybe that is an exaggeration, but that is what it felt like. When a woman has to go to the bathroom that often, they definitely do not want it to hurt every time they go. A painful sensation when a pregnant woman (or anyone really) is peeing can be a sign that there is a urinary tract infection, or a UTI.
Normally, a UTI is not super dangerous, and is easily treated. During pregnancy, it is important that any UTI’s are treated as soon as possible. If they are left untreated, they can get worse and place the woman in jeopardy of going into labour early. No one wants that, so if you notice any discomfort or pain when you pee, please let your doctor know as soon as possible.
No one enjoys getting a headache, pregnant or not. It can be crippling and make you just want to lie down on your bed in the dark all day. Headaches are also very common; millions of people suffer with headaches every day. Did you know that severe headaches in your third trimester can be yet another warning sign for pre-eclampsia.
Pregnant women get headaches, and it can mean absolutely nothing. Most women will chalk it up to tension or stress headaches. While all the tension and stress can very well cause headaches in pregnant women, it is important that you notify your doctor if you start suffering from headaches in your third trimester. It is important to get the message out, as most people shrug off a headache because it is so common that they don’t think it is a big deal. Doctors have been asked about weirder things than a headache.
5 High Fever
Fevers are tricky things, they can happen at any time and for many reasons. In pregnant women alone, fevers can be caused by something as simple as a cold or flu, or one of those pesky UTI’s that we talked about earlier. It is important that a woman in her third trimester reports a fever to her doctor right away. If a fever is cause by something as easily treatable as a UTI, the doctor can catch it quick and treat it.
There are instances where a fever is caused by something more serious. A fever can be caused by listeria or Chorioamnionitis. Listeria is an infection of bacteria, that can often be caused by eating undercooked meat and eggs. Chorioamnionitis is also known as intra-amniotic infection. It is an inflammation of the fetal membranes due to a bacterial infection. It is contracted when bacteria enters the uterus through the vagina. Both of these conditions can be very serious, and require treatment as soon as possible.
4 Reduced Fetal Movement
It is one of the best feelings when pregnant, your little one kicking and moving around. When you reach the third trimester, the little one runs out of room in there, so the movements may not be as pronounced or often as they once were. You should still feel them though, a reduction in fetal movements can be cause for concern and would warrant a phone call to your doctor.
The medical professionals involved in your birthing team should advise you an how to accurately count fetal movements. You can have something cold or sweet to drink to try and wake him up and get him moving. Then lay down on your left side and relax and count the fetal movements that you feel. If you don’t feel a pre-determined set amount of kicks in an hour, then you will most likely be advised to go on in and be monitored. Decreased fetal movements could be a sign of low amniotic fluid which can place your baby in distress.
3 Throwing Up Red Or Black
OK, this one sounds like something out of a horror movie. While you may think that throwing up is something that only occurs in the first trimester, it can actually be quite common in the third trimester as well. When woman experience nausea and vomiting in their third trimester, they will most likely chalk it up to a stomach bug or the flu, and that may very well be the case. Some woman experience vomiting in the third trimester after they eat a big meal, just because their digestive system is more strained due to the baby bump.
However, if a woman vomits and notices that their vomit is streaked with red or black, they must call their doctor right away. It may look bloody or like coffee grounds, and is a serious indicator that something is wrong. There are instances where a medication that a pregnant woman is taking make cause this symptom, but it should have been explained by her doctor when prescribing the medicine.
2 Another Weird Bump
If your baby bump wasn’t large enough, some women notice another unusual bulge somewhere on their body. If you notice this in your third trimester, it is time to book a visit with your doctor. This bulge could be cause by a hernia. A hernia can be quite common in the third trimester, as it is caused by all the stress that your pregnancy places on your organs. A hernia happens when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that hold it in place. They are most commonly found in the abdomen.
This condition will most likely require surgery to correct it, but the doctor will want to assess how big it is and how immediate surgery is needed. Hopefully it is something that can wait until after you have the baby. The doctor will still want to monitor it, as if left untreated, even the smallest bumps can widen and grow bigger.
1 Feeling Sad
There are so many emotions going through a pregnant woman’s mind. Especially in the third trimester, she is tired, and excited and very nervous. She may feel very anxious about the upcoming delivery, or even just the simple fact that she is about to become a mom and be responsible for this little life. She may also be a touch ‘moody’ as she battles being exhausted and uncomfortable. These are all normal things that any pregnant woman can expect.
If a woman starts feeling like her emotions are getting in the way of her daily life she will want to talk to her doctor about it. If she loses interest in getting out of bed at all, stops eating or just can’t stop crying, it is time for a phone call. Everything you feel effects the baby, so it is perfectly OK and normal to give the doctor a quick call for your baby’s health and yours.
Sources: babygaga.com, romper.com, webmd.com