Ask many people an unpleasant symptom of pregnancy and they will answer morning sickness. However, there are other discomforts that occur when expecting, especially during the third trimester. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to relieve the fatigue, aches and pains, and other trials and tribulations that often happen near the finish line.
At Habersham OB/GYN in Demorest, Georgia, Dr. Thomas Hatchett and Britteny Barron, our midwife nurse practitioner, provide compassionate, individualized care for women through all stages of their lives. In addition to state-of-the-art equipment and technology, we offer flexible scheduling and services that go above and beyond medical care, like childbirth education classes.
The third trimester runs from weeks 29 of pregnancy to 40, or the equivalent of months seven, eight, and nine. During this time, the baby continues to grow and by the time he or she is born at full term, will likely weigh between six and nine pounds and measure between 19 and 21 inches long. Other changes occur as well, such as the baby moving head-down into the pelvic area to prepare for birth.
While all of these developments are normal and expected in a healthy pregnancy, they can still result in discomfort.
The third trimester presents its own unique challenges, just as the other trimesters of your pregnancy. Here are the most common and some valuable tips to help you cope.
A number of factors can contribute to fatigue in the third trimester, including carrying extra weight, having to go to the bathroom several times a night, and all the preparations necessary for welcoming a new baby. Eating healthy meals and getting the proper amount of doctor-approved exercise can help with energy levels. In addition, rest or nap when you can — it is easier in the third trimester than after the baby is born.
Back pain can result from the baby's extra weight while loosening ligaments in preparation for delivery can cause discomfort in the pelvis and hips. Sitting up straight and having good posture can help reduce pain during the day, as can using a chair with good back support. Side sleeping with a pillow between the legs may help during the night. A heating pad can also aid in reducing discomfort.
Both these issues are due to an increased production of the hormone progesterone, which relaxes certain muscles in the esophagus and intestines. Episodes of heartburn may be reduced with smaller meals that avoid spicy, greasy or acidic foods. Eating more fiber and drinking more fluids can help decrease constipation.
The combination of increased blood flow through the veins around the anus coupled with the weight of the baby can cause an issue with hemorrhoids. A warm tub or sitz bath can assist in reducing itching and discomfort. With your doctor's permission, an over-the-counter hemorrhoid ointment or stool softener could help as well.
Pregnancy and having a baby can lead to many differences in your body and your life. Call our office at 706-229-4718 for an appointment today or book one online and let us help you navigate these new changes.