By the time the third trimester rolls around, you are accustomed to the various transformations your body has gone through. Unfortunately, it isn’t over yet. Many of the changes you noticed in previous months persist, though some come at a more rapid pace. Here are some changes you may notice during the remainder of your pregnancy.
Belly and weight gain
Yes, your belly keeps growing, believe it or not. Your baby is growing fast now, so your belly continues to make room for your baby. At the time of delivery, most women have gained at least 20 pounds. Some of this is your baby, but most of it is due to larger breasts, the placenta, amniotic fluid, and increased blood volume.
Your breasts are also still changing and enlarging. By the time your third trimester begins, you have an additional 2 pounds of breast tissue. This is also the time when your nipples start leaking a yellow fluid called colostrum. Colostrum helps nourish your baby after its born.
Skin changes and swelling
The skin changes and swelling you experience continues to show in your third trimester. Swelling is often worse because as your uterus grows, it puts pressure on your veins. This causes swelling in your feet, ankles, and legs. Elevating your feet helps with swelling. Other skin changes include possible varicose veins, spider veins and a darkening linea nigra down your abdomen. Your stretch marks also darken as your abdomen grows.
Cramps and pain
Your cramps and pain may go from occasional to more regular in the third trimester. Not only are your feet hurting by now, but so is your back. Your pelvic bone joints are relaxing to prepare for delivery, which means your back picks up all the slack.
Heavy vaginal discharge is also common in the third trimester. It usually isn’t an issue, but if it’s enough to fill a panty liner in a couple hours, it could be amniotic fluid, and it's best to contact your doctor.
Shortness of breath
As your uterus continues to expand, your diaphragm is struggling to take in the same amount of oxygen. This often leads to shortness of breath in the third trimester. As you prepare for delivery, your baby moves deeper into your pelvis, and this calms down some.
While the shortness of breath is improved with your baby moving deeper into your pelvis, your bladder is another story. This places a lot of pressure on your bladder and causes you to urinate more frequently resulting in making many trips to the restroom.
In general, some symptoms you experienced in the last trimester are fading away, while others worsen. This may not be the most comfortable trimester, but every day brings you closer to delivery!
Third trimester tools, calculators, and quizzes
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Third Trimester Checklist
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The Third Trimester from the Male Perspective
All pregnancy trimesters
- Pre-Trimester (preconception)
- First Trimester (up to 12-13 weeks)
- Second Trimester (up to 26-27 weeks)
- Third Trimester (up to delivery)
- Fourth Trimester (postbirth or postpartum)
- Fifth Pregnancy Trimester (going back to work)