Best Way to Understand the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

The third or last trimester is from Week 27 to Week 40, or the sev­enth, eighth, and ninth months. This is the final phase of the pregnancy before the birth of your baby. In this stage, you’ll experience many physical demands on your body. Every activity may seem to require a lot of effort.

  •  You’ll probably feel as though you can’t get enough air in your lungs. This shortness of breath is due to the fact that your uterus is large enough to begin pushing up on your diaphragm—the flat muscle that lies beneath your lungs and abdomen—and the pressure on your diaphragm prevents your lungs from completely filling up with air. You’ll have enough air for you and your baby, but until your baby moves down into your pelvis in preparation for delivery, you may feel uncomfortable when trying to take deep breaths.
Third Trimester of Pregnancy Best Way to Understand the Third Trimester of Pregnancy
  •  You may experience frequent heartburn. In fact, “heartburn,” a burning pain in your chest area, is a misnomer because it does not involve the heart at all. In late pregnancy, digestive juices from the stomach may escape into the esophagus because preg­nancy hormones have relaxed the smooth muscle around the valve at the top of the stomach that normally holds these juices down. Eating snacks or dividing your eating into more frequent, smaller meals will keep food in your stomach constantly. The food should absorb the digestive liquids and keep them from bubbling up. Heartburn is usually not a serious condition and should go away after the birth of your baby. Your health care provider may have some other suggestions if your heartburn is getting worse instead of better.
  •  Another problem you may encounter is constipation. Pregnancy hormones have caused the muscles involved in digestion to relax, and as a result, they can’t move food through your system as effectively as before. Also, your growing baby is reducing the space for your intestines. And finally, your body is demanding more fluids. All of these factors affect normal elimination and can result in constipation.
  • Tip: To prevent constipation, drink more water, continue with light exercise, and eat foods high in fiber such as raw vegetables. You may want to try eating two servings of bran cereal a day. Talk to your doctor or midwife if these strategies don’t help.
  •  You may gain the most weight during this part of your pregnancy. About one pound a week is normal. Some of your maternity clothes may no longer fit, and your shoes may feel too tight. Each trimester takes a lot of work, but this one takes the most effort. You’ll definitely feel the physical demands of this pregnancy—as if you’re carrying 20 to 30 pounds of luggage around with you every­where you go for three months. You are likely to tire more easily and more often, and need more time to do routine tasks. You may experience backache from carrying the extra weight of your pregnancy, most of which is in front. It’s also because of the loosening of your ligaments. General pregnancy backache can be eased by doing pregnancy exercises and stretches, yoga or water aerobics, heat, massage, and by resting more frequently.
  •  You may have episodes of sciatica, which occurs when the weight of your pregnancy presses on nerves lying close to the spinal col­umn. The nerves become swollen and cause pain in the buttocks and down the legs. Sciatica pain is eased by back-strengthening exercises, alternating applications of heat and cold packs, and sometimes with pain medication. YourOBprovider may refer you to a physical therapist.
  •  You may find it difficult to sleep because you can’t find a com­fortable position, particularly if, when not pregnant, you usually sleep on your front or back. By the third trimester, your large belly will make it impossible to sleep on your front, and sleeping on your back is not recommended since this position may restrict blood flow to your uterus. Try lying on either side, with a pillow placed between your knees or try placing a small pillow under one hip to tilt your uterus to one side.
  •  Your blood pressure may rise, causing your feet and ankles to swell. Your face may also look puffy. Continue to have your blood pressure monitored during prenatal visits to ensure that you’re not developing pregnancy-induced hypertension. PIH occurs more often in women who have had hypertension before preg­nancy or who have a family tendency toward hypertension, but it can occur without these factors. If your doctor or midwife is concerned that you may be developing PIH, he or she will give you precise directions about how you can moni­tor your blood pressure and when to report symptoms.
  •  You may feel clumsy, and simple tasks may seem impossible. Just bending over to tie your shoes or to shave your legs will be more dif­ficult with a large belly. Ask your partner for help with these tasks.
  •  As you approach the end of this last trimester, your lungs will have more room because your baby will drop deeper into the pelvis. Unfortunately, this preparation for birth puts greater pres­sure on your bladder. In other words, your shortness of breath will improve at the expense of your bladder. You’ll find yourself having to go to the bathroom often, even during the night. Remember, if you have any pain when urinating, a persistent lower backache, or a strong need to go to the bathroom but only a slight amount of urine, you may have a bladder infection. Report these symptoms to your doctor or midwife.
 Best Way to Understand the Third Trimester of Pregnancy
  •  You’ll feel more frequent and stronger movement from the baby for most of this trimester. In the last few weeks, your baby will be approximately 6 to 7 pounds and 18 to 21 inches long. Your baby now has very little room to move around. But though his or her movements tend to decrease, it’s important that you feel the baby moving every day. Your doctor or midwife will be able to tell you the amount of movement you should expect.
  •  You may begin to feel a few contractions. Occasional contrac­tions are normal in the last trimester. Your uterus is flexing in preparation for labor. If these flexing sensations, the contrac­tions, become more frequent and regular and you are in the earlier part of the third trimester, they could be a sign of preterm labor. Let your doctor or midwife know about them. In fact, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor or midwife about any new sensations.

Leave a Reply