What to Expect in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

When you are 28 weeks pregnant, you enter the third trimester. On the one hand, as your body grows heavier, you will feel most uncomfortable during this part of your pregnancy. You will find it harder to sleep at night, will get short of breath, and feel generally more tired. On the other hand, as you know that it won?t be long before you have your baby, you will be feeling somewhat apprehensive yet very excited about the imminent birth.

Typical Third Trimester Symptoms

As you go through your pregnancy week by week, you will experience various symptoms, most of which are caused by the growing weight of your baby and the hormonal changes that your body undergoes as it starts to prepare for labour. Among the various phenomena that you may experience during those last trimester weeks are the following:

  • Shortness of breath. As the baby grows, your uterus also expands and pushes up against your diaphragm, making it harder to breathe. This can make walking quickly rather difficult, and you should be careful not to overexert yourself.
  • Leaking urine. This is caused by pressure on the bladder from your growing uterus. If you have done kegel exercises during pregnancy, this will hopefully not be too bad. Usually this problem rights itself after birth, but it is always helpful to do kegel exercises as often and regularly as you can to strengthen your bladder muscles.

For further information on kegel exercises, click here.

  • Varicose veins may get worse. If you already have varicose veins from previous pregnancies or you developed them only during this time, you will find that they get worse during the last trimester. You should consult a vein specialist during this time and follow his advice carefully. For example, if he suggests that you should wear support tights, follow his strict specifications as the wrong kind of pressure can make varicose veins worse. At the end of the day, when your veins feel the most swollen and painful, you should sit with your legs slightly elevated on a chair or stool, or lie down with them raised on a pillow. And you should never sit with your legs crossed as this will only make the veins worse.
  • You may find difficulty sleeping. Your growing stomach makes it uncomfortable to fall asleep, and your baby’s increasing kicks don’t help either. Shortness of breath can make sleeping difficult as well. You may find that you are only comfortable sleeping on your left side, and even then as you naturally roll over in the night, you will wake up again. As you are sleeping so badly at night, it’s a good idea to try getting some rest during the day. If you have other children, you may want to pay someone to watch them for an hour so that you can sleep.
  • Sex becomes more difficult towards the end of your pregnancy because it can bring on Braxton Hicks contractions, which can kill a romantic encounter very easily. Pressure on your swollen belly makes you feel uncomfortable, and various familiar positions become uncomfortable.

Using Your Third Trimester Productively

Now that you are in your third pregnancy trimester, you should use the time productively to prepare for labour. If you haven’t already done so, you should make sure that you are attending birthing classes so that you will be prepared and know what to expect when you go to the hospital. At the same time, prepare a labour bag.

Make a list of the essential items that you need and make sure that the bag is packed preferably a few weeks before your actual due date, just in case. You don’t want to be casting around for essential items when you should be leaving for the hospital.

Many women are superstitious either by nature or due to their cultural or religious beliefs and they don’t like to buy anything before the actual birth. If that is how you feel, then even if you don’t actually buy anything for your nursery, there is no harm in jotting down a list of the baby equipment that you need before you go into labour. That way, at least your partner will be able to quickly assemble what you need while you are still in hospital and make sure that everything is to hand when you come home. And of course, if you are not that way inclined at all, the last trimester is a good time to do some baby shopping so that you will be prepared for your little bundle of joy’s grand entrance into your home.

The third trimester may be a physically demanding time and is very different from the first trimester of pregnancy. It is possibly not quite what you expected when you began. But bear in mind that it is also an exciting time and that much of your discomfort is only a preparation for the next and most exciting stage of all – the birth of your baby.

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