The Third Trimester. The big 3Ts. The last leg of the race. The final frontier. The last three months before the arrival of the little baby *cough* hoarder / monster / screaming little thing *cough* who will very likely change the course of any woman's life. Many women go through different experiences during these last few months; some of these experiences can be beautiful (aww, rainbows and ponies), others downright painful (tears, tears and more tears), a few can be rather scary, while a portion of it might turn out to be bittersweet.
This article aims to highlight several things (both good and bad) that a pregnant woman might have to go through before the birth of her child. Think of it as a rite of passage before welcoming a new life into this world. So brace yourselves for a list of things that might or might not happen to you. Some women might experience more than one of the items in the list while others might end up saying, "hey, I never went through any of these. Are they for real?" Well, rest assured that because each and every woman's genetic make up is different (you know the old saying, we are all unique), each and every one of us will experience different things in life.
15 Hello Puffy Face
You wake up one day from a good night's rest (one that you've had too few in the recent weeks) and go to the bathroom to wash your face. You lather your facial cleanser on your face and splash cold water on your face to freshen you up. Feeling good, you dry your face and look into the mirror before you start applying some moisturizer. Then you let out a blood curling scream. Arghhhhhhhhhh! What happened to your face? Did someone give you a face off with a puffer fish? Then you realize, oh, it's your own face.
What was once a pretty face with prominent bone structure has now been replaced with a puffy face. One that could put a balloon to shame. But relax ladies. While this might deter your from going out for walks and hanging out with your girlfriends, know that the 'puffiness' will subside once the baby comes out. This is all due to your body's changing hormones so fear not.
14 My What Swollen Ankles You Have
Sometimes, it's not just the face that is affected. Our ankles and feet could also balloon up so much so that our veins will no longer be visible. Your sexy stiletto heels and tight strappy sandals? Say goodbye to them. It'll be like Cinderella's sisters trying to fit in the glass slipper. They just won't fit. You might find wearing your husband's Japanese slippers to be more comfortable during this time. Also, the Pandora bracelet that once fit snugly around your wrist? You might want to keep them in the vanity chest for now.
These swollen ankles and feet won't happen overnight. They will gradually creep up on you. At first you might notice that your shoes feel tighter, or that it is harder for you to bend your wrists. What was once deemed a simple flex of muscle will now feel tight and unnatural.
13 The Return Of Nausea
Jeng jeng jeng! You thought it was over? You thought the days of heaving and vomiting were over didn't you? You secretly sighed relief every time you heard your friends crying about having to spend time in front of the toilet bowl during the first trimester? Well, guess what? It's back! And it's more badass than before. So prepare to reacquaint yourself with your ex best friend, the toilet bowl!
Kidding! Actually it won't be as bad as it was during the first trimester. In fact, some women do not experience nausea at all during the last trimester. For the unlucky few however, they will just have to bear with it until after the delivery. Heck, there are some women who even vomit in the delivery room (very rarely though so do not worry).
12 Diabetes? What? No!
It's normal for every pregnant woman to undergo a gestational diabetes test between her 24th to 28th week of pregnancy. They all go for a glucose test by having to finish every yucky drop of a really sweetened cup of glucose drink within a time frame. The majority of pregnant women tend to feel nauseated after consuming a decade's worth of sugar while a minority actually claim to enjoy the drink. If they do happen to be tested positive for diabetes then they will have to say bye bye to a lot (and I mean a whole lot) of good food for the remaining trimester.
Having diabetes during pregnancy can lead to many complications such as requiring c-sections, jaundice in babies, oversized babies and in rare cases, miscarriages. So ladies, all the best of luck and keep your fingers crossed.
11 Preeclampsia.... The Hidden Danger
As each day inches nearer to your due date, your gynaecologist will keep tabs on your blood pressure and uric acid levels. And if for some reason you feel dizzy, nauseated, have constant splitting headaches or feel that your hands and feet have swollen beyond reason, immediately inform your gynaecologist. You might just be one of the 'lucky few' to have preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia occurs in 5 to 10 percent of pregnant women globally each year and the consequences can be quite deadly. Suspected to be a family of the Raynaud's phenomenon (a form of autoimmune disease), preeclampsia can result in miscarriage and sometimes be life threatening to both mother and child. Women with preeclampsia in the final weeks of pregnancy are usually advised to have early c-sections to deliver their child and not wait for the actual due date. And even after delivery, preeclampsia might still linger on for the next few weeks, making the life of the new mother a living hell. But with proper medication, constant supervision and enough rest, one should be able to recover within 6 weeks after giving birth.
10 Nightmare On Baby Street
Nightmares. Monsters, ghouls, stillbirth, drowning, stock market crashing and all your worst fears coming to haunt your sleep before the birth of your little one. You'll have so many bad dreams you actually dread falling asleep.
This happens to a number of pregnant women especially during the third trimester. Studies show that all the bad dreams are just manifestations of our fears and not premonitions (unlike what many old folks would have you believe). So you should not worry too much about your nightmare coming true, instead try to wind down and destress especially during the third trimester. Go for evening or morning walks. Have calming teas or listen to soothing songs prior to hitting the pillows.
9 Hold Your Bladder
Imagine this. You're lying on your most comfortable pillow and in the most comfortable position that any heavily pregnant woman could be in. Your lids are heavy and you are falling asleep. Then suddenly, your eyes jerk open. You struggle to sit up as fast as you can and make a beeline for the bathroom. You groan. This is the sixth time you visited the bathroom tonight. Your spouse jokes that you might as well sleep in the bathroom and you actually consider doing that. After giving him a punch in the face.
Yes ladies, you'll be making so many trips to the bathroom at night that you won't have a proper good night's sleep. Many claim that if one drinks less during dinner then one should be able to hold one's bladder better. Others beg to differ citing that it doesn't help. Still there are others who can somehow miraculously hold their bladder throughout the night (not recommended ladies). The little one in the belly is taking up so much space that the bladder is squeezed beyond imagination. But don't worry ladies. Soon you'll be waking up even more at night to feed the little one that trips to the bathroom would seem like a luxury.
8 Great Here Come The Cramps
Here your are lying in bed, bladder emptied, stomach full, face mask on and drifting to sleep. And suddenly a horrible pain shoots up your leg. You jerk up and realize that you have leg cramps. It's so freaking painful you shed a tear or two (or at least you force a tear or two for dramatic effect) and try to pull your legs straight and wait for the cramp to go away. This my dear will occur more and more frequently towards the end of the end third trimester, perhaps it is a prelude to all the pain that is to come in your life.
To reduce the cramps, doctors advice that women sleep on their backs with their legs straight (right, like we can lie like a mummy the whole night). Other (sometimes not so) helpful options would be to have your spouse massage your leg prior to sleeping to help relax the muscles. Still others swear that drinking chamomile tea before bed does wonders for them. So if you fear leg cramps, you could give these tips a try and see if they work for you.
7 The Achy Breaky Back
If you think back aches are for grandma and grandpa then you're dead wrong. The third trimester will have you walking around like a one hundred year old. Think 'the mummy' trying out for gymnastics. All these back aches are due to the increasing weight in your belly. The baby and his or her sac are no joke. Some can weigh up to a whooping 30 pounds. That would be like carrying a few dumb bells in your belly.
To reduce the aches and prevent long term pain, many women tend to walk around less and usually sit with pillows propped behind their backs. So the next time you see a pregnant woman lazing on a couch, know that it's not because she really is lazy. She's just giving her back a much needed rest. Really!
6 Lots Of Wonderful Daydreams
Moms-to-be are said to daydream more in the third trimester. So don't be surprised if you see a very pregnant woman staring off into space with a silly smile on her face. No, she has not gone bonkers. Rather, her brain will somehow be wired in a slightly different way from when she is not preggo. She might find it harder to concentrate on her job (blame it on the baby), more difficult to focus on finishing a task (partners, time to step up and do more work around the house) and will probably be more forgetful, often having trouble locating missing items (wait till the baby comes out, our memory bank will practically have zero space for anything at all).
Daydreams however can be a good thing. They allow the pregnant woman to relax (body, mind and soul) before having to work like a slave for the family's new CEO.
5 Insufficient Space To Cater To Cravings
You see an advertisement on YouTube. It's the latest Starbucks rainbow frappucino pun intended). You feel like having one, too. But wait. You just had a micro sized dinner and while you would love nothing more than to down a cup full of high cholesterol and diabetes inducing drink, there simply isn't any more space in your belly to accommodate that particular craving.
At this point in time, you'll be lucky to be able to finish half a subway sandwich without feeling any heartburn. What was once deemed a small sized meal for you will feel like a triple XL sized meal. The baby is just taking up too much room in the belly, leaving very little space for food intake. Don't worry though, you might not be able to consume much but you won't starve. You and your baby have enough reserves to last until D day.
4 The Fainting Spells
Remember all the romance novels where the heroine faints and falls into the arms of a mysterious handsome millionaire with abs? Well, this time you can be the heroine. With a twist. Chances are, you won't into the arms of a Chris Pine / Pratt / Hemsworth (all the Chrises are so hot! Starts fanning self) clone. You'll be lucky if there is anyone around at the time you faint. It can be dangerous for a pregnant woman to lose consciousness especially in their third trimester as this could pose a risk to both mother and baby.
Hence, to be on the safe side, try not to venture to vacant places alone. If you must go somewhere, be sure to inform your loved ones or carry some sweets and drinks with you. They are said to be able to help reduce the dizziness that can lead to loss of consciousness.
3 Possibility Of Premature Birth
One of the worst fears that a mother can have is to give birth to her baby prematurely. Premies are no walk in the park. They usually come with a baggage (read; incubation, weak and underdeveloped organs, higher risks of falling sick while growing up, etc).
Many mothers spend their first month in the hospital looking at their tiny babies (some are as small as the size of a tissue box) in incubators. Others spend the first few years of their baby's life going in and out of the hospital simply because their baby caught a cold which somehow turned into a deadly infection. Others lose sleep over their baby's lack of growth (physical and mental) compared to full term babies. But after the storm, the rainbow will form so if you happen to be one of the unlucky few who have to shed a few more tears than the rest of us, then know this. The worst will be over soon and your little one will eventually catch up with the rest of the brats, wait I mean kids. No, I really mean brats.
2 The Emotional Roller Coaster
Remember Rachel from Friends who cried at the drop of a hat when she was pregnant? No? Just pretend you belong to Gen X and that you do remember. The point is, when one is heavily pregnant and expecting one's baby soon, one tends to become emotionally sensitive. What was once a trivial matter (perhaps your partner forgot to buy your favourite bagel, or your neighbor accidentally stepped on your lawn), would now seem like a huge deal.
It will be akin to living out a soap opera for the next few weeks. Everything will evoke tears. Yes, everything. From a simple innocent remark from friends about how you have ballooned up to something unrelated like why the bathroom door is cream and not brown in color. Be ready to be the drama queen that would have everyone squirming. Ohhh yeah, this is a one in a lifetime chance (unless you plan to have more than one kid) to be a bi**h and get away with it. "It wasn't me! It was the hormones!".
1 Contractions, Are They For Real?
And finally. The mother of all nightmares, contractions. The first thought that would race across any pregnant woman's mind when their womb starts to contract would be, " is it for real this time?" First timers usually have a very hard time distinguishing contractions from real labor. Heck, even mothers of more than one child sometimes find it hard to tell whether the contraction is for real.
Pregnant women fear having contractions at the wrong place and at the wrong time. Think home alone or out in the woods at night (not a very likely scenario but there's always an overly adventurous mother or two out there). To be on the safe side, pregnant women in the last trimester are usually advised to be in the company of loved ones whenever possible. No one wants to have to give birth in a lonely bathroom or in the back of your newly detailed car. And no one would want to suffer the embarrassment of going to the hospital for the umpteenth time due to false labor. Right?
Sources: BabyCenter.com, TodaysParent.com