What to Expect in Your Third Trimester

When you enter your third trimester, there's an anticipation that the end is near. Some moms might feel the need to try and get everything done before the baby arrives while others just can’t wait till they deliver. The third trimester is a time for new or even more intense pregnancy symptoms. So read the following to prepare yourself for what you may have to face during your third trimester!

20 Fatigue

By the time your third trimester is here, your energy level will decrease. Your fatigue might cause you to wake up throughout the night which lowers your energy level. Try to rest or even nap when you’re tired during the day. This is important since the truth is you won’t be getting much of it when the baby is born. Some other alternatives are eating healthy and regular exercise which will help to elevate the fatigue.

19 Varicose Veins

Entering your third trimester means that your body is circulating more blood. This extra blood flow can cause tiny spider veins to appear. As the pressure gets worse, the veins tend to swell which is why they look blue and purple. Once your pregnancy is over these veins usually disappear.

There are a few ways to keep the veins from getting worse. It may be difficult but keep moving throughout the day, prop up your legs when sitting and lastly wear support hoses. All of this will help your vein discomfort.

18 Backache

At this point your growing belly has shifted your center of gravity. Once this happens most women will experience back pain. If this happens to you, sit in a chair that provides good back support, use a heating pad and ice pack. When you're walking wear shoes that have arch support to help.

Lastly, this is the perfect excuse for your partner to give you a lower back massage. But if the pain persists or if you have a shooting pain from your back to your legs, it might be a sign of sciatica.

17 Heartburn and Constipation

Heartburn and constipation are caused by the extra production of progesterone. This hormone relaxes muscles, specifically your esophagus that keeps acid from your stomach down. The best way to manage heartburn is to eat smaller meals and avoid greasy and acidic foods. For constipation pick food that is high in fiber and if it persists, it is safe to take a Tums to help relieve the discomfort.

16 Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks are contractions that can start as early as 20 weeks. The difference between these and real contractions are that they are irregular and will ease up when you change positions. Compared to real contractions which will last 30-70 seconds and get stronger as your labor progresses.

To help ease discomfort drink plenty of water as dehydration can cause the contractions. The only positive note of suffering from Braxton Hicks is it gives expectant moms a chance to practice their breathing techniques.

15 Breast Growth

Hello boobs! By the time you deliver your breasts will have grown by 2 pounds. For some women this will cause discomfort and back pain. This is why it's essential to wear support bras to help with the pain. Some women might on the other hand love their new boobs, and so will their partners.

14 Frequent Urination

Since your baby is bigger, they will be putting more pressure on your bladder. This means you will likely have to urinate all the time. When in bed you will be getting up several times a night. If this happens, try not to drink any liquids before bedtime to help keep the late night bathroom runs down.

On top of always having to pee all the time comes lack of bladder control. So don’t be surprised if when you sneeze, laugh or even cough and you pee a little. If this happens wear panty liners to help ease your worries.

13 Vaginal Discharge

As you get closer to your due date, there will be an increase in the amount of vaginal discharge. The mucus plug is like a stopper for the cervix, this tends to shed at the end of a pregnancy. This too can be the cause of increased discharge. If you notice any tinted vaginal discharge or spotting, this can also suggest the mucous plug has shed. Which you should let you doctor know at once.

12 Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath will be more noticeable in the last trimester. The reason is that your uterus expands and will sit right under your rib cage. When this happens your lungs have less room to expand which leads to shortness of breath.

While this is normal, there are things you can do to be comfortable. First when you sit make sure you are straight and keep your shoulder back (remember good posture) as this will give your lungs space to expand. When you're sleeping use extra pillows to prop your body up which will also give you some extra help.

11 Swelling

Third trimester swelling can occur in multiple areas such as your hands, feet, ankles and even face. The swelling is due to fluid retention called edema. It’s important to lessen the swelling by elevating your feet . A second way is to keep cool, especially in the summer. If sudden swelling occurs, you should seek medical attention quickly as it could be a sign of preeclampsia.

10 Weight Gain

During the last trimester it is normal to gain ½-1 pound a week. By the end of your pregnancy you will have gained between 25-35 pounds. This extra weight makes up the placenta, amniotic fluid, the baby weight, added breast tissue and your increased blood volume. Each one of these things is essential to the baby’s development. Your doctors should monitor your weight gain to ensure your health.

9 Crazy Dreams

It’s common for women to dream throughout their pregnancy. But, in the third trimester they tend to become more vivid and specific. These dreams can be about your babies gender, name or the most common problems during childbirth.

First-time mothers are the most prone to having nightmares about labor and motherhood. But regardless of the content of the dream, it's helpful to talk about them with your partner, and if necessary, your health care professional.

8 Clumsiness

The larger you get the more likely you will fall. As your pregnancy progresses, your ligaments loosen and your posture shifts. It’s important that you realize and accept that you aren’t as balanced as you once were.

Some precautions you can take are to slow down and not to put yourself at risk for a fall. This means no climbing ladders or chairs. Wear flat shoes with rubber soles and be careful walking on wet, icy or uneven surfaces. When going up or downstairs hold onto the handrail.

7 Leaky Breasts

Big boobs that leak!? Before your baby is born it is common for your breast to leak. This liquid is called colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk your baby will receive when born. The protein in this milk is what your baby needs the first few days after its birth. To manage your leaking boobs, investing in nursing bra pads is a great idea.

6 Stretch Marks

Stretch marks happen when your body grows faster than your skin. If this happens the elastic fibers break causing stretch marks. Many factors play a role into getting stretch marks such as genetics. Gaining too much weight too quickly is another reason woman get them as well. These marks can be on your belly, breast, thighs, upper arms and even butt. During your pregnancy these marks will be red or even purple, but over time they will fade to white or grey.

5 Bloody Show

The bloody show is actual a string of mucous discharge that has a tint of pink or brown which is blood. If this happens do not panic, it means your cervix is opening. When this happens you should be prepared to go into labor in the next several days or even hours. If your discharge is bright red or more than two tablespoons, call your doctor at once as it could be a sign of Placenta Previa or Placenta Abruption.

4 Lightening

Lightening is also known as baby dropping to most people. At the end of the third trimester your baby will drop lower into the pelvis. This can happen anywhere between 2-4 weeks before delivery. Some women may notice a change in shape of their belly once the baby has dropped, but some do not. Other clues of lightening are being able to breathe easier or an ease in heartburn. The bad news is once your baby drops you will most likely have to pee more often from the increase in pressure.

3 Water Breaking

For each woman, how their water breaks will happen differently from another woman. Some women - myself included - say it feels like a gush. If that’s the case, then the water doesn’t usually stop and continues even with contractions.

Other women say it’s more like a pop. When your water “pops” you may even hear a loud pop before your water breaks. Regardless of when your water breaks, the end result is the same your baby will be arriving.

2 Labor Contractions

When you are having labor contractions, certain events will have occurred to give you warning. Any of the following will need to happen; passing the mucous plug, water breaking, dilation of cervix, lightening and contractions. True contractions of the first stage of labor last between 30-70 seconds and get closer together as time goes on.

No matter what position you are in, the contractions will continue. During labor you will feel the contractions first in your lower back and they will move to the abdomen.

1 Abdominal Aches

In your final trimester your round ligaments will begin to stretch. This stretch is to make space for your growing baby. With this stretching will come slight cramping or even a sharp pain. This discomfort will not be all the time and if mild, it should pass. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to do about these types of aches.

More in Did You Know...