Welcome to the third trimester, which goes from week 28 to 40 -- or until you give birth. By now, you may be feeling a mixture of excitement and apprehension as you near the end of your pregnancy. Some women sail through the whole 9 months symptom-free. Others watch their bodies grow and change in ways they never thought possible. Some women may have some discomforts that may creep up during this trimester. These may include:
- Shortness of breath. Your lungs have less room to expand due to the growth of your uterus.
- Problems sleeping. It's hard to find a comfortable position with the size of your belly plus a baby may decide to be active while you are trying to sleep!
- Minor aches and pains in your hips, buttocks, and thighs. Usually due to pressure from your uterus on the sciatic nerves.
- Minor vaginal pain. This pain is thought to be from your cervix slowly starting to dilate or getting ready to dilate.
- Skin discomforts or changes. Itchy, dry skin on the abdomen, worsening stretch marks, varicose veins and spiders veins. These are a result of the growth of the baby and pressure from your uterus enlarging.
- Bouts with leaking urine. From the pressure of your uterus on the bladder.
- Hemorrhoids. Due to the pressure from your uterus. Try to keep your stools soft so you don't have to strain while going to the bathroom. Straining can worsen your hemorrhoids.
- Breast colostrum leaking. This is normal, and it signals that your breast are preparing for breastfeeding.
Both the ACOG and the CDC recommend all women consider receiving a dose of Tdap vaccines against the pertussis disease (whooping cough) during each pregnancy. By getting the vaccine between 27 weeks and 36 weeks of gestation, your body may develop the protective antibodies and pass them to your baby so that the baby will have some protection at birth. Your doctor will discuss and may even offer you the Tdap vaccine in the beginning of the third trimester.
To top it off, you may have a long to-do list that includes finding a pediatrician, buying baby gear, preparing a birth plan, registering at the hospital and packing your bag, among others. No matter how you feel, remember this is a special time for you and your partner. So try to enjoy as you begin the final countdown and wait for the day when you and your baby finally meet face-to-face!