Surviving Your Third Trimester

You’ve already made it through nausea and morning sickness. You’ve handled swollen breasts and swollen ankles. You’ve made it through the crazy emotions and even crazier cravings. Your baby’s been moving and grooving in your tummy for a few weeks and your baby bump is bumping. The rest is downhill, right?

Not so fast. Most women find the second trimester to be the most enjoyable part of pregnancy. The third trimester? Not so much. By the end of the third trimester, most women are more than ready to be done being pregnant.

Don’t let that scare you, though. You’ll make it through. Here are some of the symptoms you’re likely to deal with during your third trimester, along with some helpful tips for dealing with them:

  • Backaches. You’re carrying around an extra 30 pounds or so in your front, with most of the weight born by your lower back. That’s like strapping on two bowling balls and leaving them there, all day, every day. This is the time to put your partner to work. He helped make the baby. The least he can do is to massage your back until it doesn’t ache (in about three months).
  • Heartburn. As your uterus grows inside you, something has to make way. Unfortunately, that ends up being your stomach. When the stomach gets pushed aside, it pushes back by giving you heartburn. The best way to deal with this is to avoid it by keeping your meals small, eating often, and making sure you get plenty of fluids.
  • Having to go. Your stomach isn’t the only organ that gets squeezed out. Your bladder gets plenty of pressure, too. You may find yourself needing to run to the bathroom constantly. You may even leak when you sneeze or laugh. If you do, panty liners can help. Otherwise, your best strategy is to make sure you always know where an open bathroom is.
  • Swelling. You’ll retain fluid during your third trimester, which can cause swelling in your legs, ankles, feet, arms, face and hands. This can even cause a tingling or numb sensation at times. If swelling becomes a problem, the best solution is to lie down and prop your feet up.
  • Contractions. It’s important to know the difference between real contractions and Braxton-Hicks contractions. Braxton-Hicks vary in the time between them and strength. Real contractions get stronger, longer, and closer as they progress. Your health care provider will explain this in more detail. Knowing which you’re experiencing can save you some anxiety and help you know when it really is time to get to the hospital.

The good news is that the pregnancy is almost over and the baby is almost here. The third trimester can be tough, but you’ll make it through.

Leila Pereira
Leila Pereira
I work in occupational therapy and occupational science. I specialize in early intervention pediatrics for children from birth to three years old; with an emphasis on children with autism. My goals are to support the achievement of developmental milestones in your child while collaborating with caregivers & parents; including play skill development, education, leisure, rest and sleep, feeding, nutrition and social participation. Licensed by the California Board of Occupational Therapy

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