The third trimester of pregnancy starts from Week 28 and lasts till Week 40. This emotionally and physically challenging phase for mums can be hard to understand. The approaching due date can make mums-to-be anxious about the process of labour and delivery. It also comes with its fair share of pains and problems. You may feel tired soon. Your body aches a lot more in all the places. It is harder to fall asleep at night, and you can experience swelling in your feet and legs. While you cannot wait to meet your little one, everything feels confusing and out of your control.
Learn about your body
Mums can be a lot more prepared if they try to understand what is happening in their bodies. You can learn all about what changes you should expect in your body during the final trimester of your pregnancy. Know what is normal and what isn't so you know when to seek medical attention in case of a problem.
In the third trimester, your baby is growing at a fast rate and gaining weight. The baby's growth causes mum's weight to increase for several reasons. There is an increase in the amniotic fluid, your blood and body fluids increase, and there is a higher amount of fat storage.
The best way to manage weight and stay healthy during pregnancy is to remain active and avoid unhealthy food. Mums are encouraged to maintain weight gain during pregnancy to avoid health issues. Extreme weight gain can cause high blood pressure, premature birth, heavy birth weight, and gestational diabetes.
A growing baby causes less space in the belly. Hence, during the third trimester, mums feel their babies kicking more often. Although these baby movements can be uncomfortable, they are not painful. During the end of the third trimester, the baby can move further down, which can lead to severe sciatic pain for most mums. Your body can also ache from the weight gain and softening of bones. Many mums feel pain in their necks, lower backs, and knees during this trimester. Discomfort and insomnia can cause you to lose sleep at night. Resting and using a warm or cold compress helps ease the pain. Other conditions include heartburn, shortness of breath, haemorrhoids, and Braxton Hicks contractions. Always follow your instincts and seek immediate medical attention if you feel that something is wrong.
Vaginal and Breast Changes
In the third trimester, vaginal discharge appears more mucous-like and can have a reddish tint due to blood in it. Passing a big blob of mucus can be a sign of nearing labour and thinning of the cervix. Seek immediate medical attention for vaginal discharge that is cheesy, yellow, or thick, or if you notice blood discharge. You will experience surprising changes in your breasts. They will grow a few cup sizes larger because you'll gain breast tissue. They may leak a yellow fluid, called colostrum, that contains nutrients for your baby.
Frequent urge to urinate
You may be running to the toilet every few minutes. The baby has dropped into your pelvic region, which puts pressure on your bladder. Manage frequent urination by trying not to drink fluids a few hours before you go to sleep at night. Although it can feel annoying, this is not a problem. If you have any severe back pains or blood in your urine, seek immediate medical attention for a possible urinary tract infection.
Mums-to-be can experience swelling in their legs and ankles during the last trimester. Your body retains extra fluids that cause pressure and develop varicose veins or spider veins. Prevent this by avoiding salty foods and drink water to prevent water retention. Support stockings and lifting your feet can help ease the pain. Contact your GP if you notice sudden swelling, high blood pressure, headache, and abdominal pain on the right side.
While the last trimester can be confusing, it is also the time of preparing for your newborn. Take care of your health and be aware of what is normal to have a safe and happy birthing experience.