The third trimester will be full of surprises, anticipation and excitement. Here are 10 things you can except, from stretch marks to strange dreams.
The third trimester is when you will likely feel the most anticipation. Your baby will be growing rapidly, and your body will still be going through a number of changes. And though it may feel like you are getting very close, there are a few things you will want to prepare yourself for. Here are 10 things to expect during your third trimester.
The third trimester is when you will start to really see your baby mature. Throughout these last weeks, it will become fully grown and your bump will become more and more prominent. It is completely normal to see stretch marks appear during this time – in fact around 80% of women will notice the on their body. These may show across your belly, breasts, arm and legs. Don’t be alarmed if they appear rapidly (even overnight) – this can happen sometimes!
Stretch marks shouldn’t be painful, but they can be itchy or become irritated, so don’t hesitate to use a soothing cream to manage this. Remember that expensive does not mean better.
Abdominal pain is very common during the third trimester. The strain that your baby places on the ligaments and muscles around your abdomen may cause sharp pains or some mild cramping. Rest and take it easy if you do experience this.
You may even experience Braxton Hicks contractions (also known as false labour). This is when the muscles in your uterus tighten, making it feel a bit like a contraction. This is completely normal, however, if they become regular or painful, get in touch with your doctor immediately. It could be a sign of preterm labour.
As you enter your third trimester, you may notice veins in your lower body begin to bulge. This is due to all the extra blood you are pumping, and the extra pressure your baby places on the major veins that connect your legs and your heart. These can be managed with compression tights and they will usually go away after you give birth.
Bigger (And Leaking) Breasts
While you will have noticed your breasts get bigger during your second trimester, you will see more very rapid growth as you enter these final weeks.
Towards the end of your second trimester, you may have noticed a small amount of fluid leaking from your breasts. This is even more likely in your third trimester as your milk ducts continue to develop. But if it doesn’t happen, that’s fine too.
By now you will be carrying quite a bit of extra weight – so fatigue is to be expected. On top of this, your body is still busy taking care of your body and preparing for labour and the pressure of being pregnant and juggling your day-to-day life is mounting – so it’s completely understandable if you feel exhausted on some days. The only way to combat this is to rest, eat well, and keep active.
Constant Urination and Incontinence
As your baby grows inside your uterus, it places more and more pressure on your bladder. This will mean you will likely need to use the bathroom at every possible opportunity. You may even find it a little hard to keep your pee in (especially if you cough or sneeze) – this is because of the increased pressure on your pelvic floor muscles. Try some kegel (pelvic floor) exercises, this can help you better hold on!
There are two reasons that you may experience backaches in your third trimester. First (obviously) is your baby weighing you down in front. The second reason is the release of the pregnancy hormone ‘relaxin’ which causes the joints in the pelvic region to loosen.
Pregnancy hormones (combined with the anxiety and anticipation of becoming a mum) can also cause you to have strange or vivid dreams in your third trimester. These may be trivial – something about your baby’s name, for example; or they may be dark and a little morbid. Both are totally normal and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. They certainly won’t harm or cause mental illness in your baby.
Fluid retention during the last few months can cause your hands, feet, calves, and ankles to become swollen and uncomfortable. To help, try getting off your feet and elevating your legs above your heart. A little time with your feet up in the middle of the day can be a welcome relief from the pressure of swollen ankles (if you can manage it…).
Shortness of Breath
In the same way that your uterus can place strain on your bladder, it can also press against your diaphragm, causing shortness of breath. Again, rest and take deep breaths and take it easy if this happens.
If you have any questions regarding your pregnancy or would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Dr Brown is one of the most trusted obstetricians in Sydney and will be more than happy to give advice and compassionate care in every way possible.