Third Trimester: Changes to Your Body

This is Part 1 of 3

Third Trimester body changesFinally the Third Trimester - months 7, 8, 9

As you enter your third trimester of pregnancy, the size and position of the baby can make it harder for you to get comfortable. This stage of your pregnancy can be physically, as well as emotionally challenging.

Make an attempt to stay positive during this trimester, you will soon be at the end of your pregnancy. Even though you may be getting tired of being pregnant, you will be soon be able to hold your baby in your arms.

Body Changes During Third Trimester

Some women have a very easy pregnancy and others not so easy. As your baby grows and moves more, this can cause an increase in the symptoms and discomforts of the third trimester.

You continue to gain weight. Expect to gain 25 to 36 pounds during your pregnancy. The weight of the baby does add weight, but also the placenta, amniotic fluid, the enlargement of your uterus, your breasts getting larger, increase in the blood flow, and extra fat stores, all add to the weight you gain. The extra weight gain can cause you to be more tired and exhausted than normal.

You typically gain about 2 pounds of breast tissue during your pregnancy, now for some that might be a blessing but for others it is not. As you get closer to your due date, your nipples start to leak. This leakage is called colostrum. The fluid is a yellowish color and is what nourishes your baby during the first few days after birth until your milk starts flowing. You might want to consider getting some breast pads for comfort.

Pregnant Tummy SupportAs your baby gets bigger, your uterus gets larger and expands beneath your diaphragm, which can cause you to be short of breath.

  • Posture – Use good posture. Slumping over does not help your breathing.
  • Bedtime – When you go to bed at night try sleeping propped up on pillows to help alleviate the pressure on your lungs.
  • Heartburn – During these 3 months, heartburn increases because of the stomach being moved over with the growth of the baby. Try eating small meals and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid fried foods, spicy foods, carbonated drinks, citrus juices, and fruits.

Backache – Between the pregnancy hormones and the weight gain, your backaches can get worse.

  • Use good support when sitting, apply a heating pad or ice pack to your back, and wear low heeled shoes.
  • If the pain increases and you have other symptoms, call your physician.

Your feet and ankles can swell because of the pressure that your uterus puts on the veins that return the blood from your feet and legs. If this persists, call your physician. You might try elevating your feet and legs while you sleep and if you can, try to swim or just stand in the pool. This can help reduce the swelling, ease the pressure of the weight, and help your back pain.

Frequent urination – As the third trimester progresses, you will experience more frequent urination. The extra pressure of the baby can cause leaking of urine when you laugh, sneeze or cough.

  • Panty liners – The use of panty liners can make you feel more safe and comfortable.
  • Urinary tract infection – Be aware of the signs of a urinary tract infection, such as burning while urinating, fever, increase in urination more than you have been experiencing, abdominal pain or backache.
  • Untreated urinary tract infection – If you have a urinary tract infection that is not treated, it can increase the risk of complications with your pregnancy.

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Childbirth ClassesChildbirth classes can help you know what to expect with the delivery of your baby. They also give you the opportunity to meet other moms-to-be and share your concerns and excitement.

There is no right or wrong way when it comes to having a baby, so tell yourself that you will do the best you can.

During the third trimester

  • The reality of parenthood starts to sink in and at times it can be overwhelming. Stay calm, enjoy the experience, and think about the joy of holding your baby in your arms for the first time.
  • Nursery – By this time you should have your nursery completed and your bag packed for the hospital.
  • Circumcision – If you know you are having a boy, you and your partner need to decide if you want him circumcised.
  • Checkups – Your physician will ask you to come for more frequent checkups and by the time you reach week 32, you will probably be going every week until delivery.

Your physician will talk with you about your desires and preferences for labor and birth.

  • Medications during labor – If you don’t want to take medications during your labor, now is the time to discuss this with your physician.
  • Baby check – The physician will check your baby for heart rate and size routinely and near the end of your pregnancy, vaginal exams can help the physician determine the position of your baby in the uterus.
  • Cervix – Another thing that is checked for during the vaginal exam is the cervix, to see if it has softened or dilated in preparation for birth.
  • Ask questions – As you get closer to your due date, ask questions, there are no silly questions. Being able to understand what is happening, helps you to have a positive birth experience.

Click Here to Read Part 2 or Part 3

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