Third trimester of pregnancy : What to expect
The end of your pregnancy is near. You are tired of being pregnant and eager to see your baby. This can be the most challenging part of your pregnancy. During this trimester your baby
- can detect light
- practices breathing
- can hear and may be able to recognize your voice when you sing to him
What to expect during the third trimester ?
Breast enlargement : By the end of the third trimester, your breast would have grown as much as 2 pounds. You nipples may start leaking colostrum – a yellowish fluid that will nourish your baby during the first few days of breastfeeding. Wearing supportive bra can help ease any discomfort.
Braxton hicks contractions: These types of contractions prepare you for the real thing. Braxton hicks contractions are not as intense as real labor . They usually come and go unpredictably. If labor starts getting close together and becomes more intense, call your doctor right away.
Backaches : The extra weight you have gained puts extra pressure your back. This makes your back ache and feel sore. Choose a good chair that supports your back when you sit. You can also apply heating pad or ice pack to your back. At night, sleep on your side and tuck a pillow in between your legs. You should also wear low heels with good arch support.
Shortness of breath :As your uterus expands, it sits right under your rib cage. As a result there is less room for the lungs to expand making it difficult for you to breathe. Propping your head and shoulders up with a pillow while you sleep will help.
Heartburn and constipation : The production of the hormone progesterone relaxes certain muscles including those in the esophagus which usually keeps food and acids down in the stomach and those that move digested food through your intestines. To avoid heartburn,
- eat small meals several times a day instead of 3 large ones
- drink lots of fluids in-between meals
- avoid fried foods, spicy foods and citrus foods and drinks
Eat food high in fiber and increase your fluid intake to decrease your risk of constipation.
Frequent urination : During the latter part of pregnancy, the baby moves deeper into the pelvis. As a result you feel more pressure on your bladder. This may cause you to urinate more than you usually do. It may cause you to leak urine when you cough, laugh or sneeze. Use panty liners if you are worried of leaking fluid. If you experience symptoms such as burning sensation or pain during urination, this could be a sign of urinary tract infection. Contact your health care provider right away.
Vaginal discharge : Heavy vaginal discharge is common at the end of pregnancy. If the flow is heavy enough to soak your panty liners, contact your health care provider. This discharge could be leaking amniotic fluid.
Spider veins, varicose veins and hemorrhoids : Increased blood circulation causeS spider veins (tiny , red veins ) to appear on the skin. You may also notice blue or reddish lines beneath the surface of the skin especially on the legs. These are known as varicose veins. Varicose veins may also occur in the rectum. This is known as hemorrhoids. Elevate your legs and wear support stockings to ease the discomfort of painful varicose veins. You can also prevent hemorrhoids by preventing constipation. Eat food high in fiber and drinks lots of fluids to prevent constipation.
Fatigue : The extra weight you are carrying, the frequent trips to the bathroom as well as the anxiety of preparing for your baby can all have a toll on you. Eating healthy and exercising can help boost your energy.
Swelling : You may experience mild swelling due to fluid retention. Your ankles, feet and face may look bloated. This is because the growing uterus puts pressure on the veins that return blood to your feet and legs. Put your legs on a stool or box whenever to sit to ease swelling. It is also good to elevate your feet while you sleep. If you have to stand for long periods of time, try to move around a little bit. Note that if swelling is sudden , it may be a sign of preeclampsia. If it accompanied by other symptoms such as headaches, vision changes or pain on the right side of your abdomen below the ribcage , contact your doctor right away.
Weight gain : During the third trimester, you should gain about half a pound to 1 pound every week. You should have put on a weight of about 25 to 30 pounds at the end of your pregnancy. Depending on whether you are overweight to underweight , your doctor may demand that you gain less or more weight. Your baby is responsible for some of this weight and so is your amniotic fluid, placenta, larger breasts and uterus, extra fat stores, and increased blood and fluid volume.
These signs could be an indication of something fatal. Call your doctor immediately when you experience them
- abdominal pain and cramps
- severe nausea and vomiting
- severe dizziness
- rapid weight gain or too little weight gain
- pain or burning during urination
Third trimester of pregnancy : what to expect. Mayo Foundation. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20046767?pg=1. Accessed August 10, 2015
Your baby’s development : Third trimester. American Academy of family physicians. http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/pregnancy-newborns/fetal-health/your-babys-development-the-third-trimester.html. July 9, 2015