At the end of the second trimester and almost into the third, women wonder what the final phase of this journey into motherhood has in store for them. You’ve been told that it’s similar to the not-so-pleasant first trimester. It is true.
The homestretch of your pregnancy can be quite challenging. But, don’t worry! Knowing how your body changes and learning the techniques to cope with them will reduce the bumps in the ride.
This article explains the different symptoms you should expect in the third trimester of pregnancy. The symptoms prevail until the birth of the child.
Backaches – Backaches are one of the most common third trimester symptoms. The growing baby puts a lot of stress on the mother’s body. As the belly grows it changes the natural arch of the spinal cord which causes it to ache. Also at this time, the body releases a hormone Relaxin. It loosens the joints in preparation for delivery. The hips and pelvis also becomes sore.
How to cope: Sit straight in a chair with good back support. Sleeping on the side proves to be the most comfortable position. Place a pillow between your legs. Wear low heeled shoes with good arch support.
Fatigue – Energy levels drop during the third trimester. Around this time, pregnant women carry additional weight; almost 20 pounds more. Besides, inadequate sleep in the last months makes one lethargic and sluggish.
How to cope: Eat healthy foods. Snack on fruits, dried fruits and nuts. Divide the total calorie intake in smaller meals. Space your meals properly. Exercise regularly. Rest at least two hours during the day. If you feel too tired, you may be suffering from anemia.
Braxton Hicks Contractions – During the third trimester you may experience mild contractions. These contractions are called Braxton Hicks contractions. It is a way in which the body prepares itself and the uterus for real contractions occurring at the time of delivery. Braxton Hicks contractions do not follow a regular pattern and are not very intense, but they tend to make you uncomfortable.
There is no need to worry unless the contraction gets closer, more frequent and more intense. In addition to this, if your face turns red and you experience breathlessness after the contractions visit a doctor immediately.
Enlargement of the Breasts – By the eight month, your breasts will grow significantly in size. Besides, as the due date nears your will notice a yellowish discharge from the nipples. It is called colostrum. This is the thick milk you will feed the baby in the first few days following childbirth.
How to cope: Shop for nursing bras with adjustable cup sizes. They offer support to the back as well.
Vaginal Discharge – There may be an increase in vaginal discharge during this period. It is normal, but excess- it passes through your party liners, is a warning signal. If the discharge has a clear, thick consistency with a slight red tint, it means that the mucus plug has been released and the cervix has started dilating. A sudden rush of fluid is an indication that the water has broken. Go to the hospital immediately.
Frequent Urination – The pressure of the baby’s head on the bladder increases your need to use the bathroom often. One may also experience incontinence. Urine leaks when you sneeze, cough, laugh or exercise.
How to cope: Reduce fluid intake just before bed. Use the bathroom whenever you feel the urge to urinate. Panty liners will help absorb urine leakage.
Swelling – You may observe that your rings don’t slip down your finger or the footwear gets too tight. Puffy ankles, swollen fingers and a bloated face are commonly observed symptoms in the third trimester of pregnancy. Swelling is caused because of fluid retention in the body.
How to cope: After prolonged hours of standing or sitting, raise you feet slightly. The swelling will subside.
Weight gain – You can expect rapid weight gain during these last three months of pregnancy. Women tend to put on almost 1 pound per week. The weight gained in the last trimester accounts for the increased baby weight including the placenta, amniotic fluid and the breast tissue.
Shortness of breath– The added pressure on the lungs causes difficulty in breathing resulting in shortness of breath. Exercise helps deal with shortness of breathe.
In addition to all the third trimester symptoms mentioned above, women may also suffer increased instances of heartburn and constipation. They may also develop hemorrhoids and varicose veins.