Third Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms

As the birth of your baby nears, the third trimester can be filled with anticipation and anxiety about the birth experience.  It can also be filled with physical discomfort as your growing baby puts strain on your body.

Shortness of Breath

The shortness of breath you may have begun to experience in the second trimester may become worse in the third trimester. As your baby grows larger, so does your uterus. And your expanding uterus puts pressure on your diaphragm which can cause you to feel more easily winded.

Relief may be experienced a few weeks before the baby is born as the baby drops deeper into your pelvis. The good news is that in the meantime there are a few things you can do to help reduce that winded feeling. Be aware that even if you follow these suggestions, you may not be able to entirely get rid of the shortness of breath.

Aerobic exercise can help relieve this symptom, but it's important to make sure you get approval from your health care provider. When doing aerobic exercises, be aware that your body isn't in the same condition it was pre-pregnancy so you need to be careful not to push yourself too hard. This is true for your daily activities as well.

Posture can help relieve shortness of breath. Good posture creates as much room as possible for the lungs to expand making it easier to get the oxygen you need. Keep your shoulders back and your head up. Practice good pregnancy sleeping habits to combat shortness of breath and pregnancy fatigue. Try propping your upper body up on pillows to relieve pressure on your lungs.

Shortness of breath is a common third trimester pregnancy symptoms and, in most cases, is harmless. However there are times when the shortness of breath could be a serious problem. If you have an underlying physical condition like pneumonia or asthma, the shortness of breath could become severe enough to cause chest pain, a persistent cough, a rapid pulse with heart palpitations, or a blue tinge around your toes, fingers or lips. Seek immediate medical help if you notice these symptoms even if you don't have an underlying medical condition.

Hemorrhoids, Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

You might notice that you're starting to get small reddish spots on your face, arms or neck. These are more noticeable in those with fair complexions and are caused by increased blood circulation which causes the blood vessels to get bigger. Many pregnant women experience varicose veins which are reddish or blue lines beneath the surface of the skin on your legs. They are unattractive, but often go away after pregnancy. Some people are more susceptible to getting them. To reduce your chances of getting them, or to reduce the severity of varicose veins, try wearing support stockings and frequently elevating your feet.

Varicose veins can happen in your rectum as well. These are called hemorrhoids. You have more control over hemorrhoids and can often prevent them by eating a diet high in fiber and drinking plenty of water. Try not to strain during a bowel movement.

Swollen Feet and Hands

In the third trimester, your growing uterus is putting a significant amount of pressure on your veins. This can cause swollen feet, legs and ankles. Sometimes the pressure is so heavy that the nerves are slightly pinched which can cause numbness and tingling. Reduce swelling with cold compresses. Raising your feet when resting can help relieve ankle swelling. Try elevating your feet and legs.

A small amount of swelling is common, but persistent face and eyelid swelling could be a sign of a serious condition called preeclampsia. It's pregnancy-induced hypertension that is potentially life threatening to both mother and baby.


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