OK, you’ve already undergone two thirds of the time and are now in the third trimester of pregnancy. Congratulations! It’s understandable that you feel anxious to give birth and to move on to the next stage.
Being pregnant can be very stressful, and you might begin to realize that you will be a parent soon. Many of the physiological changes coupled with emotional changes might make you feel tired, exhausted or overwhelmed.
But don’t give up just yet, as you’ll soon give birth to a new life that will make your own happier. Here are a few things you can expect in this stage and how to manage them better.
Your breasts have started to swell since the first few weeks. The pain might have passed, but it might have given way to increasing discomfort, since they now can way as much as 2 pounds due to the increased tissue. You might also start to see colostrum, which is the liquid your baby will be feeding on for the first few days of his life.
Increase in weight
The weight gain will be considerable in this stage, as you might weigh up to 35 pounds more. Besides the weight of the baby itself, the placenta, amniotic fluid, fat stores and enlarged uterus and breasts all contribute to the extra weight.
The extra weight gain will also put a strain on your back, especially since hormones will act by relaxing the pelvic area, thus putting more strain on the back. In order to alleviate the pain and avoid complications, you should try to stand very little, and choose good support for your back when sitting on chairs.
You should also wear shoes which offer good arch support. Applying ice or asking your partner for a massage might also help to make the pain go away.
Braxton-Hicks contractions will also start showing up. They are just a way of preparing your body for the real contractions when you’ll give birth. Most, however, should be mild in intensity and last for a short amount of time. You should only seek the attention of a health care provider if they are regular or especially painful.
Shortness of breath is a common symptom at this stage, and is mostly due to the enlarged uterus which is now applying pressure on the diaphragm, which is the muscle bellow the lungs, preventing them from functioning at full capacity.
Although you should feel better once the baby settles deeper just before delivery is due, until then, you should use pillows to keep your body elevated and to learn to keep a good posture in order to lessen the pressure on your lungs.
You’ve already become very familiar with this problem, only now it is getting much worse. You’re already losing many good nights of sleep because of frequent urination, and drinking fewer fluids probably isn’t helping much either. Your baby is getting deeper into the pelvis which increases the pressure to your bladder.
One of the best solutions is to use panty liners, especially since you might also leak urine when laughing or sneezing, and they can provide comfort during sleep.
You should be careful to prevent urinary tract infections and go to a doctor if you suspect something’s wrong, as if they go untreated, they can lead to further complications.
Swollen arms and legs
Your growing uterus in not only putting pressure on your bladder and lungs, as it also causes the veins from your arms and legs to swell, resulting in swollen ankles and feet. The swollen veins also apply pressure on nerves, which is why you might feel tingling or numbness in your arms and legs.
Your eyelids and face could also be affected, and if you want to alleviate some of the swelling, you should lie down more often or use a footrest when in an upward position. You should also keep your legs and feet elevated when sleeping.
Heavy vaginal discharge
In this period of time you might also start to see some vaginal discharge, especially when nearing delivery. If it gets heavy and you suspect it might be amniotic fluid, you should contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible.
The emotional changes during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy
During this period of time, your emotions will intensify. You might feel anxious and willing to get it over with, as the burden of being pregnant takes its toll not only on the body, but on the mind as well. As you get closer to delivery, you might start thinking that you’re about to become a parent, and you wonder if you’ll do alright, if it will hurt, and if you’re ready.
If you feel overwhelmed and concerned, you should try taking childbirth classes. You will meet others who are preparing for childbirth just like you, and you’ll be able to share your thoughts, emotions and fears with them.
You will also meet experienced mothers who will help you understand what you can expect and how to make it easier on yourself and the baby. You will also be able to talk to a healthcare provider and ask about pain relief options in order to relax knowing that you will benefit from the best treatment possible if needed.
Your mixed emotions will continue to cause you to go through opposing mood swings. You will be anxious to have a baby, but you’ll be concerned and have negative thought about things you think might go wrong. You should get them off your mind and relax.
A good way of doing so would be to write everything in your journal, and to write down what you think will be needed for your new baby. Start planning ahead, as this might provide comfort knowing you’re doing your best to prepare your new baby’s entrance into this world.
And most of all, be happy that you’ll start your role as a caring parent for the little one and help him or her make a way into this life.