Variety adds zing to life! Variation can be observed in most similar things in life. All men and women are different, be it their height, weight, color, temperament and experiences. At times there could be extreme cases, which may give rise to astonishment. Even in pregnancy, there is no dearth of variety. All pregnancies are different experiences, since they happen in a variety of bodily structures.
Just like the first trimester, the last two or three weeks are different for all women. Some may experience vomiting some may not. Even though doctors may not tell the precise reason for this variation, all these symptoms are said to be normal. It is kind of funny that every woman has a different normal pregnancy. But yes that happens.
So, some women may sail through the whole pregnancy smoothly until D-day, but for some it becomes nightmarish and difficult to focus on the coming baby. Whether it is a pleasant experience or not, it is important to stay close to people she loves. It could be close friends, her mother or her darling husband. The labor can start anytime if pregnancy becomes too uncomfortable during the last two weeks.
As far as the first time mothers are concerned, they will just keep staring at the due date passing by. So they should plan some interesting activities with friends to distract from annoying symptoms because this freedom will never come back again in life. Here is a list of a few bothersome symptoms that many women (not all) go through during the last couple of weeks with a few tips to manage them.
15 Can’t Bend Over
During the last two weeks it is really scary to bend and lift things from the floor for a mom-to-be. Even if someone tries to bend “Ouch!” the back hurts. The next time something falls on the floor, it will likely remain there until the husband comes back and picks it up.
The back already is working hard to support the extra weight and bending causes added strain and may cause spasms. Trying to wear socks and shoes? Oh! Forget about it. With the baby bump in the way you can’t reach your feet.
Bending with knees is possible without hurting the back, but without holding onto furniture that also may seem not so easy. Bending also causes heartburn sometimes. The pressure on the stomach increases (from the all the sides), which causes acid reflux and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
But an important thing to note here is that bending should be avoided if possible for it may make a mother dizzy and there could be a rush of blood in the head that increases the risk of a fall.
14 Curious Smiling Strangers
Marie Curie once said, “Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.” Most expectant woman may wish to wear this message when they venture out during the last few days. Strangers treat a mom-to-be like a queen and hold doors for her, grab and carry her groceries. The last thing a woman wants is strangers touching her belly.
Those stares and smiles are embarrassing and annoying sometimes, but not because the woman does not appreciate people being nice.
It is because of the discomfort of the body or urgency to pee or inability to walk with a bulky belly or heavy sweating. Otherwise, who does not like when people pay attention. Conflicts arise in this world only due to lack of love and attention. Strangely, once the baby is born the mother feels tired and needs attention.
But at that time nobody is even looking at the mom. All eyes are towards the baby.
13 Unending Wait
The last couple of weeks of pregnancy appear to be long and unending. Most mothers experience this feeling of time unending during the last few weeks, as there is no crystal ball to know exactly when labor will begin. There is a lot of anticipation as women know that labor is coming any time. The mind may feel numb for the fear of ensuing labor.
There is also a great deal of anticipation for getting to meet the wonderful bundle she’s been carrying. For some women, the due date just comes and goes by and the wait still continues. Calm before the storm!
A few distractions can be planned to ease this anxiety. Go out with friends and party in a fancy restaurant. After childbirth, a woman may yearn for this kind of time when everything just stops. There will be no time even to look at oneself in the mirror for a couple of weeks.
So while it is there and does not seem to pass, put on some music, enjoy last few days or weeks of your individuality and try to relax.
12 Swollen Feet
Almost every expectant woman gets swelling in her legs and feet during the last trimester. Swelling of feet happens due to the added pressure on the veins that supply blood to the lower limbs. That is why the blood circulation in the legs slows down and leads to swelling.
Another reason for swelling is water retention in the body that also leads to swollen legs. In the last week, the swelling may be noticed in the whole body.
However, if the swelling is very severe or it appears suddenly on the face or hands, then it could be a symptom of preeclampsia. In such a scenario, the doctor should be consulted immediately. To get some relief from swollen feet, the feet should be elevated and lying down can also help. Standing for a long time can increase the swelling.
Some exercises, such as walking and swimming can also provide some relief.
11 Leg Cramps
With the growing size of the baby, the pressure on the muscles of the legs also increases. The uterus also puts pressure on the main veins going to the legs. Another reason for the cramps could be low levels of calcium or magnesium in the body. Standing for a long time should be avoided in case of leg cramps.
Foot exercises may also provide some relief from the leg cramps.
Rotating each foot clockwise and anticlockwise and stretching each foot up and down can help ease the cramps. Sometimes we are woken up by leg cramps. When that happens, stretch the leg by pushing the heel away and then relax. Massaging the muscle may help. Standing up and walking a bit may also work.
If the cramp is really bad and severe, along with swelling in that area then it may be a blood clot for which a doctor should be consulted immediately.
10 Toilet Trips
To avoid getting up twice or thrice in the middle of the night, intake of fluids should be avoided in the evening. Apart from the urge to pee in the last two weeks another thing that often comes along with it may make things worse: diarrhea.
A few weeks before the due date, the body starts preparing itself for labor and that stage is usually referred to as pre-labor. During this pre-labor stage, bowel movements may also increase.
During this time the body releases a hormone that relaxes the muscles. The pressure on the intestines also increases bowel movements. However, not all women experience this. If you think frequent visits to the toilet at home seems tedious, just imagine when a woman ventures out. Going shopping and the urge to pee frequently do not match.
Searching for toilets when walking is difficult can make it a herculean task.
When the uterus grows big, it also puts pressure on the intestines this causes the stomach to be pushed upwards. The digestion process slows down and when food stays in the stomach and the contents can become over acidic and bubble up into the esophagus and throat as acid reflux.
Better known as heartburn, it can be very painful and destructive to the esophagus. To avoid getting heartburn women should avoid sleeping immediately after eating a meal.
Preferably they should walk around for a little while to aid the digestion process. When the woman tries to lie down she should turn towards the left side. Sleeping on the left side ensures movements of food down to the intestines. Avoiding heavy, greasy and fried food can help ease the burden on the stomach and aid smooth digestion.
Small frequent meals also can offer some relief. Usually heartburn gives more troubles at night, so the meal at night should be very light. Stay upright for at least an hour before sleeping. Elevating the head of the bed can also help.
8 Exercising Is Tough
In a healthy pregnancy, the doctors advise a mom to continue to exercise. Is it easy? Of course not! When it is difficult to pull the whole body up to stand up, then exercising becomes pretty tedious. However, if there are no complications in pregnancy, then exercising helps in making labor easier and recovery faster.
Any form of fitness exercise or workout during pregnancy should be done in consultation with the obstetrician and under expert supervision.
The best form of exercise during late pregnancy is prenatal yoga and brisk walking. A certified fitness specialist Lisa Stone says that you should pay attention to your body's signals, as they will tell you when you're overdoing it. Keeping the body hydrated is extremely important, even if it means more trips to the toilet.
If a healthy expectant woman keeps moving until the last day, she gets fewer pains and aches in the last two weeks. Women who exercise, rarely face any sleep troubles and mood changes.
7 Leaky Chest
Dripping breasts is not uncommon during late pregnancy. Leaking breasts may be awkward and embarrassing before delivery, so mums need to start using breast pads. It may also be an encouraging sign for some women as they feel a sense of relief that their breasts are producing milk.
The thick milky liquid seeping out of breasts is called colostrum or the first baby food. Some women get leaky only after childbirth, but mostly it starts a few days before labor. Braxton Hicks and colostrum happens at the same time normally.
Some women have trickling breasts as early as the second trimester, but it does not indicate the onset of labor any time soon. These signs, if they appear suddenly before due date, then they are only linked to changes in the body that are a normal progression of the pregnancy. If the nipples leak during sexual stimulation, this is also natural.
So, it is a good time to stock up on nursing pads and get a few nursing bras.
6 Last Trimester Nausea
Most women experience nausea in the first trimester, but some are unlucky enough to experience it throughout the pregnancy. In the third trimester, some women get back the irritating nausea due to steadily increasing hormones. Vomiting is also a common thing during active labor, but if a woman is throwing up when not in labor, it means she might be in pre labor.
The pressure on the stomach from the growing womb results in nausea and vomiting sometimes. Also, food that is heavy on the stomach may be difficult to digest as the digestion process slows down during the early stages of labor.
During this stage, light foods should be eaten. Four to five small meals during the day can aid digestion and reduce nausea. This will bring down the number of bouts of nausea. It is equally important to eat well and build up strength and energy levels of the body during the last stages of pregnancy as the woman will be need all the energy she can get during labor and she cannot eat anything when labor begins.
5 Braxton Hicks
Braxton Hicks is nothing but false labor, in simple words. Some women start experiencing irregular contractions a few weeks before the due date. It may also seem like labor contractions to some women. Many women get confused and rush to the doctor only to find that there is still time for labor. Not everyone gets Braxton Hicks contractions.
Mostly these contractions are not really painful, but they cause a lot of discomfort.
Braxton Hicks contractions help to move the baby’s head down and engage in the pelvic brim. After the baby is in the right position it may cause pain in the pelvic area. In the first pregnancy, the baby usually engages around two to three weeks before term, but in some cases it engages only during labor.
When there are such contractions, changing the position or moving a little may ease the practice contractions. Having a glass of water also may help. Braxton Hicks do not increases in severity or come at regular intervals.
4 Lots Of Backache
Lower back pain is common for most moms-to-be, especially during the last two weeks. The back is exerted due to the change in posture in the last few weeks. The change in the center of gravity changes the posture and puts added strain on the back muscles. Standing and sitting for long periods can make the back pain more severe.
Lying down is not an option for women who get back pain. It may get aggravated instead of getting any relief. A little bit of exercise may strengthen the back.
Prenatal yoga is the best exercise for strengthening muscles. Swimming or prenatal water exercise is extremely good for the lower back. Apart from that, it relaxes the mind too. Those who cannot do any exercises can ask their obstetrician about walking. Overexerting should be avoided and any signs of strain and distress should be considered serious.
While lifting things bending from the knees will reduce the pain a little, but it really is best is lifting is left to someone else.
3 Pregnancy Sweating
The hormones increase at a steady pace throughout the pregnancy and the estrogen levels are at their peak during the last few weeks of pregnancy. The levels of hormones are so high that the body will not be able to produce that amount the whole life. With all the hormones flowing through the body, the woman will often feel extremely hot and this results in lot of sweating.
Hot flashes are also common and more than 50 percent of women experience it, but they are harmless. Keeping the body hydrated is very important if the body is sweating excessively. Sitting near the air conditioner or using a cold cloth for the forehead can bring the body back to normal.
Women who exercise regularly or even keep walking throughout their pregnancy usually do not get hot flashes. Rarely hot flashes may also be a symptom of high blood pressure. If there are any such indications, a doctor should be consulted.
2 Acne And Raging Hormones
Many women may not know this, but acne can blot the face during the last few days of pregnancy. Acne, as we know, is a result of excess hormones. Even women who might have experienced a clear face like never before throughout pregnancy suddenly near term, their face breaks out with acne without any change of cosmetics, soaps or even eating habits.
Some women get pimples throughout pregnancy, but in their third trimester the face clears and just before labor it erupts badly into acne. Of course, not every woman will experience this. Women who get acne only near term may indicate preparation for labor in the body is underway. However, this does not tell us when the actual labor is going to start.
Keeping away from heat and maintaining a balanced and light diet will help for getting rid of acne. Drinking lot of water and keeping the face clean is the best remedy for treating pimples.
1 Trouble Sleeping And Insomnia
The tummy becomes so bulky that every time a woman tries to lie down it seems as if the belly is going to burst or detach itself from the body. There are no possible positions that can help an expectant woman sleep in the last two weeks. Apart from the belly there are other aches and discomforts that will make it difficult to sleep.
Many women also suffer from insomnia during the last two weeks. Before going to bed, a bath and a warm cup of milk can help. A relaxing foot or neck massage from the hubby can go a long way too.
In a sleep deprived situation, do not even think of driving! Falling asleep at the wheel will be dangerous. While trying to catch a nap, sleeping on the left side is better and also recommended by doctors. Sleeping on the right side puts pressure on the liver and sleeping on the back restricts the blood flow to the mother’s heart.