While some blessed women love pregnancy from the moment the stick turns pink all the way up to the beginning of labor, many feel like they are just hanging on for dear life in the third trimester. The belly swells until mom can hardly remember what her feet look like, and odd aches and pains are accompanied by hot flashes and mood swings.
At 27 weeks, the new mama is saying farewell to the second trimester and entering into the final phase. It's both an exciting and exhausting time, and she continues to physically changing rapidly as the due date races closer. Because the system is changing so rapidly and significantly, what was once safe in the first and second trimesters may no longer be safe in the third. While the expectant mom no doubt has her hands full with checkups with the doctor, finalizing birth plans and a million little details around the home, it's important that she make the time to care for herself properly and stay in tune with what she is feeling.
Although a woman's system is uniquely and wonderfully designed to successfully create and nurture a baby and can do so under a variety of circumstances, there are things that can add to the risk that things might not go right—and some of those things might be surprising. Here's a list of 20 Things That Become A Hazard After 27 Weeks Of Pregnancy.
20 Dismissing The Dentist
Pregnancy can make a perfectly normal mouth a dental landmine. If mom struggled with morning sickness, the acid could have caused damage to her teeth, leaving her more prone to cavities, according to The Bump. As if it weren't bad enough to deal with swelling in the hands and feet, the pregnant mama's gums can also swell and are more likely to get inflamed because of plaque.
Even women who clean their teeth carefully can develop an infection very quickly.
So close to the finish line, mom might feel too busy to schedule a checkup with the dentist, but it's an important visit that shouldn't be skipped.
19 Back To Sleep
As pregnancy progresses and the weight of the uterus increases, getting into a comfortable sleeping position can be a tall order.
Now, researchers are cautioning women to reconsider falling asleep on their backs.
Three recent studies have made a connection showing that women in their third trimester who slept on their backs were more likely to suffer a stillbirth than women who slept on their sides, reveals CBS News. Scientists theorize that the growing uterus presses on the main artery that runs behind it, restricting blood flow for significant periods of time. Back sleeping could also contribute to sleep apnea, and researchers are exploring that link as well.
18 Standing For So Long
Sometimes standing for hours on end is part of the job, and many pregnant women continue working as long as possible. At 27 weeks, expecting moms are likely to notice an increase in swelling and may have more pain in the lower back and feet when standing for long periods of time, according to BabyCenter.
Women who are high risk could be at risk for preterm labor if they're standing for hours at a time.
Some research has suggested a link between standing for hours and a slowed growth rate in baby. Shifting positions, walking around, and regularly putting her feet up can alleviate some of the risk and discomfort.
17 Missing Mama's Checkups
It might be hard to believe, but some women don't make it to their scheduled prenatal visits after the 27th week, and that could be very dangerous.
Starting with week 28, most doctors want to see mom every two weeks, and beginning with week 26 it moves to every week.
Higher risk pregnancies may mean even more doctors’ appointments as the due date approaches. The doctor will continue to track mom's blood pressure and check for signs of gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, a potentially life-threatening antenatal condition. The doctor will also be watching baby for signs of distress and can answer any last minute labor and delivery questions.
16 Intense Exercise
With the popularity of intense workouts like CrossFit, people might be spotting more and more moms in the gym.
Experts are cautioning against intense workouts and some weightlifting after 27 weeks, especially approaching the final weeks and days before mom's due date, according to CNN.
Doctors do encourage pregnant women to work out, but they want them to focus on caution and modification to reduce the risk of injury. Even moms who lifted weights before becoming pregnant are urged to reduce the weight slightly and to avoid positions that have her bearing down or flat on her back, as this can significantly reduce blood flow to the uterus and her baby.
15 Sugar level Blowout
Sometimes women begin pregnancy with normal blood sugar levels, but after 27 weeks when they enter the third trimester, they're shocked to discover that their blood sugar is high and the doctor diagnoses them with gestational diabetes. Because gestational diabetes generally develops in the second half of a pregnancy, the doctor will run the test by the end of the second trimester, according to WebMD.
Moms may not realize they have it unless they undergo the screening, but gestational diabetes can put the health of mom and baby at risk if it isn't kept under control.
It usually gets better once mom's hormones return to normal after baby is born.
14 Nausea's Not Good
Extreme nausea that can last throughout the pregnancy is called hyperemesis gravidarum, and if not monitored or treated it can lead to serious problems by the third trimester, as per Parents. Sometimes women think that even extreme nausea is a part of pregnancy and so downplay the severity of the problem to their doctor. Others feel fine and then, in the final weeks, begin vomiting and are unable to keep anything down. Whether mom is dealing with hyperemesis or has another issue like food poisoning or an infection, speedy communication with medical professionals is key to preventing dehydration and even organ failure.
13 Beware Of spotting
Any bleeding after 27 weeks is cause for concern. Spotting or small amounts might be the result of the more frequent cervical checks or—near the very end—might be a sign that labor is beginning. Heavier blood loss is more worrisome, as it can be the result of placenta previa or abruption, or a rare but serious uterine rupture, explains the Mayo Clinic.
Any spotting should be reported to the doctor—it's better to head to the hospital than to ignore it.
Even light bleeding could be a signal mom is going into preterm labor, which—if caught in time—can often be held off to allow baby more time to grow.
12 Worst Headache Ever
Whether mom has experienced headaches throughout her pregnancy or not, a sudden and severe headache after 27 weeks could be cause for alarm. An extreme headache could be a sign of preeclampsia, explains the Albert Einstein College Of Medicine. Pregnant moms often get no other warning signs that this dangerous condition is developing, and doctors have established that this severe headache is a reliable indicator that they should immediately begin checking for preeclampsia. There may be no other symptoms that accompany the headache; so it's best if mom reports an extreme headache just to be on the safe side. She'll also be checked for high blood pressure, which is another warning signal.
11 Infections Like Influenza
Influenza—or the flu—goes around every year and also changes every year. Some years, the most common strains are relatively mild, but other years the flu can be more severe—and therefore more dangerous—for pregnant women. Doctors do advise that the flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women, but many are still hesitant. Even those that do get it could still be infected with the flu virus. Pregnant moms are more likely than other non-pregnant adults their age to be hospitalized due to complications of the flu—including pneumonia—according to What To Expect. A sudden fever spike should be brought down with non-medical interventions if possible. Keep in mind that the flu vaccine has never been tested for safety during pregnancy, it's efficacy rates are generally around 18 to 20 percent for a given year, and it has been linked to miscarriage, as per the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.
10 Giving High Heels The Heave-Ho
It's fashion, baby—but it's also hazardous. While stilettos might look fierce in the office or on a night out, they're dangerous to mom and her ever-changing center of gravity and should probably be put away for a while, explains Trimester Fashion. A pregnant mama after 27 weeks just isn't as steady on her feet and is more likely to fall and injure herself if she's tottering around on heels. It's a fair bet that she's also struggling with swelling, which can make the already tight shoes incredibly painful. High heels make falls more likely, and falling can cause sprains and fractures more easily with the wobbly joints of late pregnancy.
9 Pass On Planking
Right down the center of the pregnant mom's abdomen is a line that separates abdominal muscles on the left and right sides. As her belly swells, the muscles stretch and sometimes begin to pull apart, stretching that membrane between the two muscle panels. In many women, the muscles clearly separate, resulting in diastasis recti. Many abdominal exercises that women are used to doing are no longer safe and can exacerbate the abdominal muscle separation, as per Self. Planking and crunches or sit-ups can make the condition worse or can cause the membrane to tear, which causes a hernia and can make pushing during labor nearly impossible.
8 Avoid Unripe Papaya
Even seemingly healthy fruits and vegetables could potentially cause problems during pregnancy. After 27 weeks, it's especially important for mom to avoid unripe papaya, because it contains papain, which can cause premature labor by inducing contractions, according to Livestrong. Papain could also weaken the membranes in the uterus. Although fully ripe papayas contain little to no papain, doctors advise women to avoid eating papaya during pregnancy no matter how ripe the fruit may seem. Women who are already dealing with preterm labor issues need to be sure to avoid any contact with papaya, as even tiny amounts can cause contractions in the uterus.
7 Done With Deadlifts
A deadlift is when a motionless weight is lifted off the ground in strength training, and many women and experts extol the virtues of this seemingly simple exercise, as per Nerd Fitness. When strength training mamas become pregnant, experts aren't always so sold on continuing deadlifts. After 27 weeks, deadlifts and other heavy strength training workouts might need to be scaled back or modified, because other factors like diastasis recti can come into play. Even hardcore CrossFit moms don't recommend deadlifts if mom is new to strength training or isn't low-risk, according to CNN. Bad form during a deadlift can be dangerous, and women with high-risk issues should avoid deadlifts altogether.
6 She's A Super Sweller
After 27 weeks, it's a rare pregnant mom who doesn't experience some edema, or swelling, in her lower legs and feet. When mom should be really concerned is when the swelling is accompanied by other problems, explains Today's Parent. If one leg is more swollen than the other, there could be a potentially dangerous blood clot. Swelling in the face is one symptom that often heralds preeclampsia. Even when swelling is just swelling, it's important to try to relieve the pain and discomfort as much as possible. The pregnant mama can put her feet up, get a gentle massage, and yes—stay hydrated.
5 Think About Travel Restrictions
No two pregnant women are the same, and newer guidelines regarding travel after 27 weeks seeks to address that. The biggest concern for women traveling during the third trimester of pregnancy is actually stress, according to Healthy Pregnancy. The worry and stress of the travel itself can be a problem, or if mom begins to go into preterm labor and is in the air during a long flight or far from home and her own doctor. What it means is that women should assess their own comfort level and consider whatever health conditions and risks they're already aware of regarding their pregnancy, then make the travel decision based on that.
4 Fever Fervour
Fevers are a sign that our immune systems are working on an infection problem, but they could also be cause for concern during pregnancy. Multiple fevers after the first trimester and even continuing after 27 weeks have been linked to a marked increase in the risk of autism in the children of those mothers, according to CBS News. Many of the women who experienced fevers in the study took acetaminophen to reduce the fevers but still experienced the increased risk. Just because mom is rapidly approaching the due date, it doesn't mean that baby's development still can't be influenced by what happens to mom.
3 Deli Meat
Many pregnant women are told to avoid deli meat and unpasteurized cheeses but don't receive a good explanation as to why. The reason is that these products—along with some unwashed or uncooked produce—could be contaminated with the bacteria that causes listeriosis, according to the FDA. Women entering the 28th week of pregnancy are officially in their third trimester and especially susceptible to infection. Symptoms can be mild or confused with other conditions, so many moms don't know they're infected, or they can be severe and life-threatening. Listeriosis can be passed to the baby and cause a wide range of developmental problems.
2 Braxton Hicks Or Preterm Labor?
After the 27th week, Braxton Hicks contractions may begin to occur. Many women worry that they can't tell the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and preterm labor. Preterm labor is when real contractions begin before the 37th week. Braxton-Hicks contractions generally come and go and probably won't hurt, according to Healthline. They shouldn't last very long and are usually inconsistent and don't increase in intensity. Preterm labor contractions often begin with a tight feeling in the top of the uterus, then settle into a regular pattern. Moms who aren't sure should call their doctor or go in to get checked out. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
1 It's Too Quiet In There
During the second trimester, mom gets used to a moving and kicking baby jostling around. After the 27th week, as baby grows and the womb is more crowded, the movements may change or seem too slow. Often, pregnant moms feel like once they've passed through the worrisome first trimester and sailed through the second that the third is the home stretch and everything will be okay, but doctors warn Mom that very little movement or none at all could be a serious issue, as per Health And Parenting. If it's been hours since the last movement, doctors advise coming in for a check, just to be safe.
References: The Bump, CBS News, BabyCenter, WebMD, CNN, WebMD, Parents, Mayo Clinic, Albert Einstein, College Of Medicine, What To Expect, Trimester Fashion, Self, Livestrong, Nerd Fitness, CNN, Today's Parent, Healthy Pregnancy, CBS News, FDA, Healthline, Health And Parenting, CIDRP