You’ve finally reached your third trimester — you’re nearly there! It’s the final three months of your pregnancy, and it’s likely that this will be the time when you experience the most physical discomfort. Your body is preparing for the birth of your baby, and your baby is getting ready as well. So there are going to be some physical sensations and issues that can be uncomfortable as you and your baby get ready to meet.
Your baby is going to be a lot more active during this time. He or she will be moving around more than ever, and those movements are going to feel and often even look obvious. The baby’s movements are bound to have an effect on you, so be prepared for that.
It’s likely that you will experience an increase in how often you urinate as your baby moves lower in your body, pressure on your bladder increases. So you will feel the need to urinate more often, and you may even experience some leakage when you laugh, sneeze, or cough. Leakage isn’t a serious problem for most pregnant women, and simple panty liners can take care of it. You may also experience an increase in vaginal discharge, which again should be easily remedied with panty liners. If you are concerned that either problem is becoming too frequent or that too much liquid is escaping, be sure to give your obstetrician a call.
You may already feel like your breasts can’t possibly get any bigger, but you’re probably wrong. The truth is that your breasts can gain up to two entire pounds by the time your baby is ready to arrive! During the third trimester, you are likely to notice a yellowish fluid leaking from your nipples. The closer you get to your due date, the more likely that is to happen. The fluid is colostrum, the first milk that your body produces. This kind of leakage is normal, and breast pads can be slipped into your bra to absorb it.
Your body is going to be subject to more aches and pains during this time as well. Backaches are common as your baby continues to gain weight and shift position. Muscle pain in the hips and pelvis is also likely, as the ligaments there are stretching in preparation for delivery. Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs can alleviate these muscle aches. Wear comfortable shoes for walking, and make sure that you sit in chairs that have good lower back support. If your doctor okays it, you can take regular over the counter acetaminophen for the pain.
Another pain you may experience as your due date gets closer is contractions. You already know that contractions will be part of the delivery process, and you may feel a bit panicked if they begin before your due date arrives.
Contraction pains during your third trimester well before your due date are most often Braxton-Hicks contractions. They are more mild than delivery contractions, but they can certainly feel like labor. The main difference to remember is that labor contractions get closer and closer together, and are far more intense than Braxton-Hicks. If you feel intense pain or are out of breath after contractions, call your doctor — your OB-GYN can help determine if it’s just Braxton-Hicks or not.
Other symptoms you may experience during your third trimester include heartburn, constipation, fatigue, and swelling in the hands and feet. Resting comfortably as often as you can may help, and you can certainly ask your doctor about dietary changes you can make that can help lessen heartburn and constipation. Sometimes, constipation and other pressures on your body can result in hemorrhoids or varicose veins in other parts of your body, such as your legs. Your doctor will tell you the best way to deal with those issues; he or she may suggest sitting in a warm bath or trying over the counter creams.
Your body will experience many changes as you get past these final few months to your due date. This is one of the best times to communicate with your obstetrician regularly, and never hesitate to ask about anything that concerns you or seems out of the ordinary.
Your baby is nearly here! Let your body do what it needs to do as that wonderful day approaches, and let our obstetricians here at Southlake OB-GYN do all we need to do to get you to your due date in the healthiest way possible. Remember to make all your appointments so we can monitor you and your baby, and help you prepare for the big day.