For most women, the experience of labor was difficult to begin with and difficult till the last minute. But for some lucky moms, the experience was a breeze. While some of us suffered through nausea and heartburn and a baby bump that would not cooperate with the trendy motherhood dresses, those lucky ones were glowing and getting longer and fuller hair, not to mention the rounded bump. This is the mom who strutted their way into the labor ward without a hint of discomfort.
Pregnancy is a journey that has stages and all the stages come with their own challenges and wins. The good thing about pregnancy is that it’s a thing of old and the ones who came before us have trickled their experiences down to us and so we know what discomfort ends at the end of the first, second or third trimester.
Having something to look forward to is every pregnant woman’s solace and so moms check their calendars every day and hope that at least tomorrow, the side effects of pregnancy will have mercy.
For those of us who have been there, the most difficult part of pregnancy is the third trimester. Not that the other trimesters are easy, but by the time one is getting to the third trimester, the baby is bigger and so is the load. For those who are yet to get there, here are 20 raw truths about the third trimester - from moms who lived through it.
20 It’s The Most Uncomfortable
This one most of us can attest to from our experience. The third trimester is uncomfortable. Nothing works right and the body by this time is just worn out.
The energy levels go down and the baby starts to find the most sensitive areas to settle and it gets increasingly uncomfortable.
One veteran mom on BabyCenter said, "My doctor prescribed a pregnancy belt. It's soft and sturdy, and I can wear it with some clothes. It took away my duck walk [that I did when] it felt like my baby was dropping down to my crotch area. It has helped with my back pain and getting up from a seated position, and I can walk a bit faster. I love it."
19 Sleep - What's That?
Getting sleep in the third trimester becomes nearly impossible. This can be attributed to the fact that at this time, the baby has gotten bigger and so has the mother's body. Finding a comfortable sleeping position gets close to impossible and even getting a decent night sleep becomes a tall order.
Stumpy Joe on Pregnancy Forum said, “I am in this camp too. I use to be able to sleep anywhere for as long as I needed, but now my body seems to like only two hours at a time. This has been going on for months now! My worst day was when I had two hours sleep and then worked for 14 hours at 35 weeks!”
18 Frequent Doctors’ Visits
Towards the end of the pregnancy, a woman is so tired that even going out becomes an unwelcome chore. At this time, everyone is worried about the coming baby as well as his safety. So the doctor will insist on more frequent visits to clear any doubts and to ensure that both the mother and baby are healthy and there are no unwelcome surprises.
Most doctors see patients once a month, but towards the end, the visit is increased to a fortnight at the beginning of the third trimester and once a week towards the beginning of the 36th week.
17 You Will be Counting the Kicks
The frequency with which a baby kicks has always been an indicator of his health. Pregnant women are advised to see the doctor immediately if they cannot feel the baby kicks or if the kicks get less frequent or less vigorous.
The paranoia when it comes to kicks is real and the number of times women take a cold water or sugary drinks to jump-start a kick are many.
Some doctors give a woman a kick chart or calculator that is meant to help her keep track of how many times the baby kicks, especially if the baby is in danger. For example, if she has been having an amniotic fluid leak.
16 The Eye-Bulging Swelling
It is not uncommon to see a pregnant woman sporting swollen feet, face and even fingers. This condition is called edema and is as a result of retention of fluids by the body.
The pressure exerted on the leg veins, as well as the growing baby, escalates the issue. This is a common problem and the basis of most pregnancy questions in any pregnancy forum.
As Marlav 1 posted in the BabyCentre forum, “At 31 weeks and my feet, as well as my hands, are swollen... I drink a lot of hot water. But now with the swelling on my hands, I am worried.” One may not be able to prevent swelling, but eating a balanced diet and gaining a healthy amount of weight may help reduce the problem.
15 A Backache and Pelvic Pain
During the last trimester, the baby bump drops and the baby’s head sits on the pelvic bone. For moms who have been here, it feels as if the baby wants to fall out when one is walking and the feeling can be quite uncomfortable.
It is even worse because that sensation leads to a lot of pain in the pelvic area and sometimes one has to sit or readjust their position to entice the baby to move from the pelvic bone and ease the pressure.
Coupled with this, as the baby nears his due date, he tends to pack on a few pounds which are all centered at the lower part of the belly leading to a backache. To ease this pressure, one is advised to use a belly band, as well as rest as much as possible.
14 You Eat... A Lot
Eating and pregnancy are two things that are quite hard to separate. It takes a woman of incredible power not to binge on everything junk as dictated by the pregnancy hormones.
Some crave fish sticks dipped in ice cream while for others it is hamburgers or donuts. Whatever your craving, that is nothing compared to the hunger one feels in the third trimester.
This is the month that most women pack on those pounds without even being aware that they are packing them on. Even with all the appetite at this time, moms are advised to ensure they do not eat for two because those buggers will come back to bite after the baby is born.
13 Bathroom Troubles
Running to the bathroom every two minutes to empty the bladder is nothing compared to what comes towards the end of the third trimester. Not only are the peeing runs just as frequent, they are a lot more and getting a thirty-minute nap becomes a thing of the past.
As if that is not bad enough, digestion slows down and the bowel movements become the stuff nightmares are made of.
Constipation in the third trimester is quite common but is blessedly resolved a few days before labor kicks. How wonderful to get the bouts of diarrhea that are common a few days before labor kicks in.
12 You May Lactate
Milk production starts as early as the second trimester but goes largely unnoticed. In the third trimester though, the breasts may start to leak yellow fluid known as colostrum. This milk is the perfect first meal for the child as it gives him antibodies, as well as nutrition.
For some of us, milk production takes a few days to kick in, but there are those who lactate through the third trimester. This is especially common for the women who have had a baby before. It is advisable to wear some nursing pads as it is possible to leak just by hearing a baby cry.
11 The Red Show
Most of us wait for the bloody show to tell us that labor is here. This is not really a prediction, although the mucus plug is different for everyone and most of us do not even notice it. For some women, the plug comes out instantly as a single piece, especially for those women who already have had children.
For first time moms, the mucus plug comes days earlier in the case of a halted labor and it rebuilds to protect the baby. It is advisable to see the doctor immediately one sees the discharge just to be sure.
10 Does It Ever End?!
Every pregnant woman knows the trimesters and when each is expected to end. By the time the third trimester starts, all the expectant mom wants is to go into labor. She has been counting down and at this juncture, she is praying for the baby to make an early appearance or at least be on time.
Unfortunately, the third trimester doesn’t have an actual end date. It may be 37 weeks, 38 weeks, 40 weeks or in some cases, it can go as far as 42 weeks or longer. By the time the pregnant woman gets to the 40th week, she feels as if she has been pregnant forever, but there is no consolation as a definitive end date for the 3rd trimester is elusive.
9 red Gums
Pregnancy gingivitis is common in about half of the female population. The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy are the cause for this mild gum diseases. It is also possible to develop a small nodule on the gums, which may bleed when one brushes.
One mom on the BabyCenter forum said, "I will be 35 weeks pregnant in 2 days. I was just sitting in our office and I notice warm fluid flowing from my gums mostly under my tongue my gums were bleeding for no reason for like 5 mins.”
Visit the dentist for a diagnosis and proper medication in case of bleeding gums.
8 Baby Gets Hair, You Get Heartburn
The one symptom that is universal for women is heartburn. The largest percentage of pregnant women were plagued by heartburn at one stage or the other during their pregnancy. This is because of progesterone whose work is to relax muscles in pregnancy. Unfortunately, even the stomach muscles are relaxed and acid finds its way up from the stomach.
In the last trimester, the baby starts to grow hair everywhere and one myth tells us that this is the reason the pregnant woman gets heartburn. For most women, the last trimester has the worst kind of heartburn that can be triggered by anything including a glass of water.
7 Braxton Hicks Or Contractions?
Braxton hicks occur from the first trimester, but they largely go unnoticed. The frequency and severity go up towards the end of the pregnancy. According to BabyCenter, Braxton hicks are contractions that come intermittently and can be quite disconcerting in late pregnancy, especially for the first time moms.
Braxton hicks are not easy to distinguish from the real thing but one should never decide that what they are going through are Braxton hicks without expert opinion.
If Braxton hicks come with symptoms of preterm labor, it is advisable to call the health provider immediately to prevent a parking lot baby.
6 Consistent Movement
During the last trimester, most women report that the baby’s movement reduces with some speculating that the reason could be due to reduced space in the uterus because of the size of the growing baby.
This is a misconception and the truth is, that the baby’s movements should not change.
The intensity may change because it is true he does not have enough space to move around, but the baby should continue to move as frequently as before. In case there is a change in this, the mother should see a health provider as it may be an indication that there is something wrong with the baby.
5 Hemorrhoids Sprout
Pregnancy brings with it a lot of bathroom issues, from frequent urination to constipation. This is because the pregnant woman’s digestive system slows down during pregnancy. The trip to the bathroom becomes a nightmare and it is this that leads to the sprouting of hemorrhoids.
While most hemorrhoids correct themselves after pregnancy, some of them go beyond the pregnancy.
Eating a lot of fiber, avoiding fatty foods and a healthy intake of water has been known to somewhat relieve the problem. If this does not work, moms-to-be are advised to see a doctor before the problem escalates.
4 Itchy Stomach
In late pregnancy, a pregnant woman may feel like there is an itch deep down in the tummy and no amount of scratching seems to get it out.
If you are among those who suffer from this problem, you are not alone. According to BabyCenter, over 20 percent of pregnant women have itchy skin.
One mom on BabyCenter revealed, “I had severe itching at the 2nd and 3rd trimester and all tests came out normal. I tried many things but what seemed to relieve my skin more was simply Witch Hazel. Too bad I discovered the remedy on my last 2 weeks, but it works wonders for me.”
3 Feet Get Bigger
A woman’s feet grow during pregnancy and according to Jane Anderson, a podiatrist who spoke to BabyCenter, in the third trimester, a woman finds that her feet start to grow bigger.
As one mother attested. “Three babies, two and a half sizes bigger thus far total! This is number 4 and I'm hoping I get a break this time. It's not fun shopping in the 12 1/2 - 13 section.”
Expectant mothers are advised to refrain from buying shoes in the third month of pregnancy because chances are her feet will grow. It may be a size larger or even a half size larger, but the shoe one loved prior to pregnancy will definitely not fit.
2 Nausea That Isn't Confined To Morning
We always think that the first trimester is usually the end of nausea and vomiting. For those who have been there, this is a misconception as most women find themselves kissing the toilet bowl all over again.
According to the Essential Baby, third-trimester nausea is quite uncommon. It comes about because the gastrointestinal muscles in the stomach relax leading to slowed digestion which forces food to back up into the esophagus.
Nausea could also be as a result of the weight of the growing baby in the uterus as well as fluctuations in hormones. Unfortunately, this trimester is long or short and quite unpredictable.
1 Snoring... Much To Your Partner's Bewilderment
Most of us snore, but pregnant women snores get louder and scarier as the pregnancy comes to a close. According to the Sleep Foundation, most pregnant women snore due to increased abdominal girth, nasal congestion and because the uterus is pressing on the diaphragm.
An estimated 30 percent of women who are pregnant snore because of swollen nasal passages leading to blocked airways.
Snoring does lead to high blood pressure, as well as sleep apnea. Pregnant women who experience excessive snoring are advised to see a doctor. Do not check it off due to pregnancy and remember, ignoring the problem may make it worse.