Congratulations, you are now in the last few months of your pregnancy and the arrival of your baby is imminent!
For many women, the third trimester can be tiring and challenging, both physically and emotionally. As your body changes and your baby grows, it may be hard for you to get comfortable. Try to remain positive as you look forward to the end of your pregnancy where you will hold baby in your arms! In the meantime, here is what you may experience.
Swelling – it is common to experience some swelling of the ankles and feet at this time. Try and keep your legs elevated when sitting or lying or use a foot rest to reduce swelling. Try and avoid prolonged standing.
Backache and pelvic discomfort
Frequent urination – Your growing uterus puts pressure on your bladder and you may experience small amounts of leakage with coughing and sneezing. Additional symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain and stinging or burning during urination suggests infection : let your obstetrician know.
Braxton-Hicks contractions – these are ‘practice’ contractions, they are painless and unpredictable. Real contractions are longer, painful and more frequent. Talk to us if you have concerns
Heartburn – this is caused by your growing uterus pushing on your stomach. Eating smaller meals and sleeping with the head of bed elevated can help. Antacids can safely be taken for relief.
Difficulty sleeping – it may be difficult to get a good night’s rest as it may be hard to find a comfortable position.
Haemorrhoids and varicose veins – Avoid constipation, drink lots (around 2.5 litres of fluids a day) and increase your fibre intake to prevent haemorrhoids. For varicose veins, keep your legs elevated when sitting, avoid prolonged standing and wear support stockings.
Breast changes – there will be continued breast growth during this period and you may notice colostrum (a yellowish fluid that precedes milk production) leaking from your breasts.
Emotional changes – feeling excited and anxious about the birth are normal. Talk to your midwife and obstetrician about your feelings and we will share your excitement and help you with your concerns.
How often will I see my obstetrician?
We would usually see you every 2 weeks from around 32 weeks onwards and every week from 36 weeks onwards. You will have a blood test at 28 weeks to exclude diabetes of pregnancy and another blood test at 36 weeks to check for anaemia.
Your birth plan will be discussed with you by your specialist around 36 weeks. 95% of all babies are born within two weeks of their mother's due date. But do not worry if baby does not arrive by your due date. Only 5% of all babies are born exactly on the due date.
When should I call my obstetrician?
Call your obstetrician if you experience:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Leaking or gushing of fluid from the vagina
- Abdominal pain that is persistent
- A noticeable decrease in baby’s movements
- Headache which is severe, persistent and does not settle with paracetamol
- Severe swelling of hands, feet or face
- Visual disturbances such as seeing flashing lights or spots