Third Trimester Body Changes


 

During the third trimester, you may notice your baby responding to the heat and bright light of being outdoors. As your baby grows, your uterus stretches along with your baby she can’t really run out of room. But now that she is nearly ready to be born, your baby takes up more room in your uterus than she used to. You may notice your baby settling into a favorite position, and you may begin to easily identify where those little kicking feet and tiny stretching arms are. As the third trimester progresses, babies often settle into a head-down position and move lower into the pelvis. After that time, your baby may be more cramped for space and the movements you feel will be different.

Changes in Your Body

  • Hemorrhoids
  • Stretch marks
  • Increased vaginal discharge (call your health care provider if discharge is watery, bloody or has a bad odor)
  • An uncomfortable, itchy rash on your abdomen that may spread to your legs or arms

You may:

  • Feel dizzy and lightheaded. The weight of your baby and uterus on major blood vessels can decrease the blood return to your heart, causing low blood pressure which can make you feel dizzy. Change positions slowly, drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, and avoid lying on your back.
  • Feel uncomfortably bloated or swollen. Increased blood supply to the vagina is normal, but it can cause swelling. The pressure of your growing baby and uterus can also cause a feeling of pressure in your groin.


Tips for Alleviating Groin Pressure

  • To improve the flow of blood to your heart, rest with your hips elevated on pillows.
  • Do your Kegel exercise to improve circulation.
  • Place an ice pack on your bottom to numb the tissue and temporarily decrease the amount of blood flow to the area.
  • Put your feet up for several rest periods during the day.
  • Go for a swim.


Constipation

Constipation is perfectly natural during this point in your pregnancy.

Here are some tips to help avoid it:

  • Drink warm water.
  • Increase your fiber by eating whole grains, beans or lentils and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of fluids a day.
  • Try to exercise more.
  • Ask your health care provider if a stool softener or other measures might help.


Heartburn

Your growing uterus is taking up more abdominal space. This, combined with increases in the hormone progesterone, can create the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus.

Here’s how to minimize it:

  • Avoid greasy, spicy foods and large meals, especially before bedtime.
  • Sleep with your head elevated to decrease the flow of secretions up into your esophagus.
  • Drink milk.
  • If you plan to take an antacid, check with your health care provider.


How You May Feel Emotionally

You may feel anxious about labor. You may be increasingly aware of your dependence on your partner. You may be impatient for your baby to arrive. You may be worried that you’ll never see your feet again. This part of your pregnancy you may feel like you are on an emotional roller-coaster.

Share your feelings with other mothers-to-be in your childbirth classes may help relieve your anxiety. Remember to communicate to your partner how you are feeling.