Third Trimester

Third Trimester, 28 weeks-Delivery

This point in the pregnancy is the most physically and emotionally demanding. Women can be plagued with many aches and pains, many of which are normal caused by your growing baby but hurt nonetheless. Sleep is but a memory, and you cannot help but feel anxious to finally meet your new son or daughter. As anticipation grows, fears about childbirth might become more persistent. How much will it hurt? How long will it last? How will I cope? Take heart that we will help you through this time and that no question is too insignificant.

Oh my, how big we have grown?

By your due date, you are expected to weight 25-40 pounds more than prior to pregnancy. Your baby accounts for some of the weight gain, but the placenta, amniotic fluid, uterus, extra fat stores, and increased blood and fluid volume do as well. As delivery approaches, your nipples might begin leaking colostrum, the yellowish fluid that will nourish your baby during the first few days of life. If your breast discharge is bloody or clear, please let your physician know.

Are these Braxton Hicks contractions?

These contractions are warm-ups for the real thing. They are usually weak and come and go unpredictably. True labor contractions get longer, stronger and closer together. Braxton Hick contractions go away with a hot bath, lying down or even walking sometimes, but if you are having contractions that are painful, regular, or persistent, contact your physician.

Why does my back hurt?

As your baby continues to gain weight, pregnancy hormones relax the joints between the bones in your pelvic area. These changes are tough on your back. To help ease the pain choose chairs with good back support. Apply a heating pad to the painful area. Ask your partner for a massage. Wear low-heeled — but not flat — shoes with good arch support. If the back pain does not go away with rest, massage or heating pad please contact the office.

Why do I feel like I cannot catch my breath?

You might get winded easily. This happens as your uterus expands beneath your diaphragm, the muscle just below your lungs. This might improve when the baby settles deeper into your pelvis before delivery. In the meantime, practice good posture and sleep with your upper body propped up on pillows to relieve pressure on your lungs. If you cannot catch your breath, this may be a more serious condition; please contact the office.

Why does everything give me heartburn?

During the third trimester, your growing uterus might push your stomach out of its normal position, which can contribute to heartburn. To keep stomach acid where it belongs, eat small meals and drink plenty of fluids between meals. Avoid fried foods, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits or juices, and spicy foods. If these tips do not help, ask your doctor about antacids.

Where have my ankles gone?

As your growing uterus puts pressure on the veins that return blood from your feet and legs, swollen feet and ankles might become an issue. At the same time, swelling in your legs, arms or hands can place pressure on nerves, causing tingling or numbness. Fluid retention and dilated blood vessels might leave your face and eyelids puffy, especially in the morning. If you have persistent face or eyelid swelling, contact your physician.

To reduce swelling, lie down or use a footrest. You might elevate your feet and legs while you sleep. Drink plenty of water and reduce the salt in your diet. It can also help to swim or simply stand in a pool.

Why am I getting spider veins, varicose veins and hemorrhoids?

Increased blood circulation causes tiny red veins, known as spider veins, to appear on your skin. Blue or reddish lines beneath the surface of the skin (varicose veins) also might appear, particularly in the legs. Varicose veins in your rectum (hemorrhoids) are another possibility.

If you have painful varicose veins, elevate your legs and wear support stockings. To prevent hemorrhoids, avoid constipation. Include plenty of fiber in your diet and increase your fluid intake.

Why do I always have to go to the bathroom?

As your baby moves deeper into your pelvis, you will feel more pressure on your bladder. You might find yourself urinating more often, even during the night. This extra pressure might also cause you to leak urine, especially when you laugh, cough or sneeze. Continue to watch for signs of a urinary tract infection such as increased urination, burning during urination, fever, abdominal pain or backache. Left untreated, urinary infections increase the risk of pregnancy complications; let your doctor know about any of these symptoms.

Why am I having an increase in vaginal discharge?

It is common to have potentially heavy vaginal discharge at the end of pregnancy. If you saturate a panty liner within a few hours or if the discharge is watery or unusual smelling, contact the office immediately.