March 31, 2008

All You Need to Know About The Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Posted in Category : Women's Health

The third trimester of pregnancy includes weeks 28 to 42 of your pregnancy. At this point in time there will be no mistaking the baby growing within you. Most mothers claim that this is the most tiring trimester during a pregnancy and the rapidly growing weight of your child is a definite contributing factor. This is the period when your baby is almost completely developed and its brain is getting more active as evinced by the constant squirming and kicking movements.

During this time you will notice certain symptoms becoming more pronounced. 3rd trimester symptoms of headaches, backaches and heartburn are common. The latter is caused by the pressure exerted by the growing uterus on the stomach which pushes it up against the diaphragm. The enlarged uterus also exerts increased pressure on the bladder, pelvis and legs, while the increased weight causes lower back pain.

This is the point when most doctors would suggest that you take things easy and conserve your energy. While that may be sound advice for many, it may be impractical for many working mothers. However, even working mothers will need to slow down to a certain extent.

Other symptoms that may be experienced during the third trimester include shortness of breath, swelling of the legs, nausea and changes to the body such as enlarged breasts. Of these, swelling of the legs and ankles is a common phenomenon and is usually caused by the enlarged uterus interfering with the flow of blood to the legs and ankles. Shortness of breath is the result of the pressure exerted by the uterus on the diaphragm but may improve towards the end of the pregnancy when the baby descends lower into the pelvis.

One symptom that should be reported immediately to your doctor is bleeding from the vagina. This may be caused by the placenta detaching itself from the walls of the uterus. While this is an uncommon occurrence usually affecting 1 out of 150 pregnancies, it is still a cause for concern. At times only a part of the placenta detaches while at other times the complete placenta detaches prematurely resulting in heavy bleeding. The condition is known as placenta abruption and is one of the leading causes of fetal death in the last trimester. Remember to report any signs of bleeding, no matter how minor, to your doctor immediately.

As such there are no home remedies for ensuring a normal delivery. There are however, certain precautions that need to be taken during the third trimester of pregnancy that will increase the chances of a healthy and normal delivery.

The first regards your diet. Eat small meals at regular intervals and ensure that your diet is a well-balanced one which includes plenty of foods and vegetables. Drink enough water to keep your body well hydrated. Consult your doctor if you feel too tired as it could be a sign of anemia.

Exercise is a must. Aerobics can help you to overcome breathlessness apart from helping you to keep fit and avoid putting on too much weight. This is important, for as all mothers will tell you, shedding those excess pounds after childbirth can be an extremely difficult proposition. Performing Kegel’s exercises will help strengthen your pelvic muscles and make labor a much easier proposition to deal with. If possible, join a prenatal yoga class under the guidance of an experienced instructor.

To help with your back pain and other aches and pains try doing some pelvic tilts. This can be done by kneeling down on all fours and rocking your pelvis while maintaining a straight back. While sleeping, put some extra padding beneath your back for support. For swollen legs try keeping a pillow under your feet so that they are elevated.

And lastly, quit smoking if you haven’t already and avoid drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages.