The following is an excerpt from our new guide, What to Expect During the Third Trimester of Your Pregnancy. To download the full guide, click here.
By your third trimester, you’ve already gone through a number of physical changes in your body. You’ve experienced the first emotional changes that came with your body producing pregnancy hormones. You’ve seen your breasts swell and become tender. You’ve made it through morning sickness, and you’ve watched your stomach become convex and develop a beautiful, round baby bump, but you still have a few changes ahead of you, and so does your baby.
During the first few months of your pregnancy, you probably didn’t notice any issues with your back, but with the weight you’ve gained, there’s added strain on your lower back. At the same time that your back is supporting this extra weight, the ligaments around your pelvis are loosening to prepare for childbirth. This can add pelvic discomfort and hip pain, as well.
The good news is this is all normal. Your back is strong enough to bear the weight of your baby, and your ligaments need to be loose and limber when you give birth. To ease your aches and pains, pay attention to your posture. Try to keep your back straight when you’re walking, standing, or sitting.
At night, try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees to ease the strain on your spine. You may also want to ask your doctor if he or she recommend any lumbar support cushions or other aids to help keep your back healthy and strong. And you should definitely consult your doctor before taking any pain relievers, as some can be unhealthy for your baby.
Continued breast changes
Your breasts may not feel quite as tender as they did in your first trimester, but you will notice that they have continued to grow throughout your pregnancy. It’s not unusual for a pregnant woman’s breasts to grow by as much as 2 pounds during her pregnancy. It’s important to wear supportive bras in an appropriate size to avoid more pain in your back and your breasts.
You’ve probably already been warned that your feet and ankles will swell some during your pregnancy, especially during your third trimester. You may also notice some swelling in your fingers and hands. Your rings may feel a bit tighter than usual. Your face may also appear somewhat bloated. All of this is normal during this part of your pregnancy, as your body is retaining more water than it would under normal circumstances.
If swollen feet are bothering you, sit or lie down, take your shoes off, and elevate your feet for a while. You can even rest them on ice packs or drape them with cool, wet cloths for additional relief. This should alleviate the swelling and help you relax. If you experience sudden swelling or more swelling than usual, don’t hesitate to call your doctor.
Braxton hicks contractions
During your third trimester, especially toward the end, you may experience mild contractions that do not signal the onset of labor. These are called Braxton Hicks contractions, and they’re normal and natural. Essentially, when you experience these contractions, your body is preparing your uterus to give birth.
Keep a record of your contractions. If they are infrequent and random, and they aren’t getting closer together, they are most likely Braxton Hicks contractions and nothing to worry about. If your contractions build in intensity and frequency, it’s probably time to call your doctor, especially if you are out of breath after your contractions.
CarePoint Health is dedicated to providing you with the individual care and attention you need so you can relax and focus on what is most important — the birth of your new baby. Contact us today to learn more about our obstetrics and maternity services.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.