You’re closing in on your due date, and your body is continuing to change at a crazy pace.
The third trimester doesn’t have as defined a timeframe as the first two because there’s a five-week range when it could end: your baby could be born anywhere between 37 weeks and 42 weeks, which is the range of “normal.” From 36 weeks onward, you’ll probably be having weekly visits with your doctor or midwife, and just when you think your belly couldn’t possibly get any bigger, it does.
Here are some other things you might experience:
1. General Discomfort
Depending on how big your belly is and how tall you are, you might be starting to feel like a beached whale. Getting up from a soft, comfy couch might require assistance. Getting comfortable in bed is a challenge, and changing positions in bed is a commitment.
2. Back Pain
You’re front heavy and it’s putting a lot of pressure on your back. Pregnancy hormones are also relaxing the tissue between your bones so there isn’t as much support. You might also be leaning backwards to help with balancing the weight, which can add to the aches and pains. Take the pressure off by putting your feet up, and taking baths.
3. Shortness of Breath
Your growing baby and uterus are crowding everything else inside you, including your lungs. This can lead to a shortness of breath when doing things like climbing stairs or walking a little faster than usual. Take it easy, and listen to your body.
4. Braxton Hicks Contractions
Think of these as practice contractions. Your uterus gets tight and hard, but the contractions are irregular in pattern, don’t hurt, and aren’t producing any cervical changes.
5. So Much Peeing
The added weight on your bladder makes your body think it’s full and leads to a near-constant urge to pee. Yet, often when you sit down on the toilet, nothing more than a drip or two comes out. Ironically, thanks to all that weight that your pelvic floor is supporting, you might feel a bit of pee come out if you sneeze or laugh – or maybe for no apparent reason.
Kegel it up, buddy. A daily regimen is a good idea, now and in the postpartum.
6. Stretch Marks
As your skin stretches at a quick pace, these marks will appear. They are mostly due to genetics, and some women never get them. They can also feel a bit itchy. Moisturizing can help with the discomfort.
Something kicks in towards the end of pregnancy and women often go into a preparation frenzy. For some, this means cleaning the house like it’s never been cleaned before, decorating the baby’s room, and cooking meals to freeze so they’re loaded up for the postpartum. I’ve also had a few clients who decide to move just a month or two before their due date. There’s no stopping a nesting pregnant woman!
8. The Same, But More
All of those not-so-fun symptoms you were experiencing earlier are still around, just more so: varicose veins/hemorrhoids, forgetfulness, heartburn, inflammation and swelling.
You might have had a break from this symptom during the second trimester, but it usually comes back towards the end. Your body is working hard to grow that baby, and it’s using up a lot of your resources. On top of that, add the fact that you’re probably not sleeping well because of discomfort and the frequent urge to pee.
10. All the Feelings
Your emotions are probably still running wild, and you might be feeling a bit anxious or even scared of labor and birth. Sometimes, women also feel a bit emotional about the transition and the end of one chapter – whether it’s becoming a parent for the first time, or your first born no longer being an only child. Don’t worry – all of these feelings are normal!