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3rd Trimester

You’ve made it! Congratulations on making it to your 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

At this point in your pregnancy there are many emotions that you may be feeling. Excitement and nervousness are probably the top two emotions that you’re experiencing. There are probably some nerves that have begun to kick in and definitely some nesting is taking place. All of this is normal and quite common for women to experience. Just remember to take care of yourself and listen to your body, as it will tell you if you are doing too much.

The 3rd trimester is the stage during which the most dramatic growth change in the fetus occurs. By the 7th month, the fetus is approximately 2 ½ lbs and up to 15 inches long. In the following month you will see the fetus almost double it’s weight and add another 2-3 inches in length. The 3rd trimester is truly the stage of rapid growth. Your baby finished most of its development by the end of the 2nd trimester and so the 3rd allows for the weight gain to flourish. This is also the time where your wrinkles begin to smooth out as your body fat increases. The baby will begin to respond to light and can open and shut its eyes. You will notice that between weeks 37 and 40, the head of your baby will shift and settle into the pelvic canal (ie. engagement or lightening). Unfortunately for your bladder that also means you will have to use the washroom more often!

There are also some discomforts that you may have now, since your belly has gotten bigger and there is more pressure on your lower back. Here are some of the main irritants and some helpful suggestions:

  • Back Pain: Try massaging the area or have your partner do it. A rice sock and a bath may work as well.
  • Insomnia: Use your evening to calm down and relax in whatever way works for you. Try to avoid caffeine and anything that will keep your body alert. Light exercise earlier in the day may work as well.
  • Leg Cramps: Speak to your doctor about a possible lack of potassium, which can sometimes lead to leg cramps. Another idea is to stretch the muscles out.
  • Shortness of Breath: This is a tough one to deal with as the baby may be pressing down on your diaphragm, giving you less room to breathe. Try to stretch it out and sleep on an angle or in a chair if it gets really bad.
  • Heartburn: As awful as this or gas can be, it means that your baby is growing healthy. The only thing you can do is stay away from foods that cause it or try having a glass of milk. Your practitioner may have a suggestion as well.
  • Linea Nigra: Basically a dark line that runs vertically from your belly button to your pubic bone. It is common and is not a cause for concern.
  • Frequent Urination: Many women complain that they need to use the bathroom more than usual. It is important to listen to your body. Holding in urine for too long can lead to bladder or urinary infections.
  • Braxton Hicks: It is important to realize that the contractions that you may think you are having may only be Braxton Hicks. However if they continue to get more painful and closer and closer together, you should consult with your doctor as you may be in early labour. Braxton Hicks are harmless and are actually an important part of your body getting ready for labour.

It is important to watch for any signs that may be early labour and/or stress that the baby may be under. If you experience any discomfort over a period of time, then you should always contact your doctor.