Having a baby is a life-changing experience. But it also comes with changes to your body and new symptoms that can be scary at first.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common third-trimester pregnancy symptoms so that you know what’s normal and what might be a cause for concern.
8 Symptoms in the third trimester of pregnancy
Braxton Hicks contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions are practice contractions that your body uses to prepare for the real thing. They can be painful and uncomfortable, but it is normal to experience Braxton Hicks contractions in the third trimester. About 50 percent of women do.
The good news is that these last few months are often when you’ll feel more energetic than you did earlier in your pregnancy. However, don’t let your energy distract you from what’s happening inside!
Pelvic discomfort is joint during pregnancy.
It may feel like a dull ache, cramp, or pain in the lower back and pelvis. The pain may be worse when you sit, walk or lie down. You might also feel a pulling sensation in your groin area that worsens when you cough or sneeze.
Pelvic discomfort usually subsides as you approach your due date and continues to subside after your baby is born.
Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest that frequently occurs after eating or lying down. It is exacerbated by stomach acid backing up into the esophagus.
Overeating can make heartburn more likely to happen. This is because it puts extra pressure on the stomach, which may cause more food to move up into the esophagus. Eating too quickly also puts extra pressure on the stomach and may lead to heartburn if you don’t chew thoroughly before swallowing.
Heartburn can be made worse by caffeine, alcohol, and smoking. This is because they relax muscles in your abdomen and allow more acid from your stomach to mix with bile. This helps break down fats in food before it reaches your small intestine for digestion.
Lower back pain
Lower back pain is a common symptom in the third trimester of pregnancy. It can be caused by:
- weight gain
- hormonal changes
- the baby’s growing size.
You can reduce the pain by regular exercise, getting plenty of rest, and taking care of your posture.
As your baby grows, it puts more pressure on your spine. This can cause muscle strain that leads to discomfort in the lower part of your back or around your pelvis area.
You may also experience lower back pain if you’re not moving around enough during pregnancy.
Reduced bladder capacity
As your baby grows, your bladder capacity is reduced.
This means you will need to urinate more frequently than in previous trimesters. The bladder muscle weakens, making it harder for you to hold back urine.
To avoid this, drink more water and try to go to the bathroom before the last minute. You may also need to use the bathroom more frequently at night when your baby’s movements are less predictable and tend to be stronger than during the day (when they’re smaller).
You may be urinating more frequently in your third trimester. This is normal, but if you are concerned, consult your doctor.
You may be breaking down and eliminating more fluid through your urine than usual due to the following:
- Dehydration (from being overheated or not drinking enough water)
- Excessive sweating (common during pregnancy)
- Overactive bladder syndrome (OSA). If you have OSA, your body has trouble controlling the muscles used for urination. As a result, even with an empty bladder, the urge to go can suddenly strike and cause urgency or frequency of urination.
Swelling of the feet, legs, and hands
Swelling of the feet, legs, and hands is joint in pregnancy.
This can be caused by fluid retention or your body preparing for labor. See a doctor if you have swelling that interferes with your daily activities.
Sleeping well is essential for both you and your baby. Getting enough sleep will leave you feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to face the day.
If you’re having difficulty sleeping at night, try these tips:
- Keep a regular schedule. This helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythm (internal clock), so you can fall asleep more easily at night.
- Daytime naps should be limited to 30 minutes or less. Napping for extended periods may make it difficult to fall asleep at night.
- Avoid caffeine or alcohol within six hours of bedtime; they can disrupt sleep patterns.
You may experience a range of symptoms in the third trimester
In the third trimester, your baby’s size will be tripled, and your belly will be much more significant.
There is no specific time when you enter the third trimester; instead, it is a period that lasts at least 28 weeks (around nine months).
You may experience a range of symptoms in the third trimester. Some of these can be uncomfortable or painful but usually won’t harm you or your baby. If you have any concerns about any symptoms, talk with your doctor.
The following are some common symptoms of pregnancy in this stage:
- Braxton Hicks contractions are practice contractions when womb muscles tighten to prepare for birth. They’re often felt as a tightening sensation in the lower abdomen or back between 6 weeks and 3 months before labor begins. However, they don’t cause any pain or discomfort.
- Increased sensitivity to smells: You might notice that you’re more sensitive to smells now than before.
- Increased vaginal discharge: A thick white mucus called leukorrhea may come out from either opening of your vagina during pregnancy.
- Heartburn and indigestion: Your growing uterus puts pressure on other organs, including those involved with digestion. This causes heartburn and indigestion.
- Heel pain (plantar fasciitis): This condition causes pain underfoot where ligaments attach to bone at heel bone attachment sites where they meet tendons (bands of tissue). Pain can occur suddenly while walking/running steadily over time while standing still intermittently throughout the day every day.
It’s important to remember that all of these symptoms are entirely normal and can be relieved through rest.
Try some natural remedies like acupressure, massage, or acupuncture. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe pain or shortness of breath.
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