How will I feel during the 3rd trimester of my pregnancy?

Dr. Deborah Raines, MSN
Nursing Specialist

Many women feel a mixed sense of excitement and anxiety at the realization that the baby's birth is quickly approaching. The woman also experiences a number of symptoms related to the pregnancy hormones and the increasing size of the fetus. These symptoms include:

  • Stronger fetal activity: The fetus is moving throughout the day. Sometimes the movement is a strong punch or kick and other times it is a wiggle or stretch. Fetal activity often increases after meals or when the woman is relaxing or lying down.
  • Flatulence: The growing uterus places pressure on the rectum which can lead to uncontrollable passing of gas.
  • Constipation: The growing uterus and pressure on the intestine can slow bowel function resulting in constipation.
  • Bleeding gums: The pregnancy hormones and increased blood flow can result in gums that are swollen, inflamed, and even bleeding.
  • Stretch marks: As the skin stretches to accommodate the growing uterus, pink or red streaks known as stretch marks become visible.
  • Mild swelling of ankles and feet: The presence of swollen or puffy ankles and feet are a result of the increased pressure in the abdominal area.
  • Fatigue: The growing fetus is putting more demands on the woman’s body, and interrupted sleep may result in increased levels of fatigue.
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sciatica nerve compression: Resulting in shooting pains in the legs

The healthcare provider can suggest strategies to minimize some of the discomfort.

During week 28, when you enter the last trimester of pregnancy, you'll begin to realize that the time of your delivery is fast approaching! Typically, women gain between one to two pounds per week over this last trimester, so you may feel that extra weight. Here are some other things to watch out for:

  • Leg cramps and restless leg syndrome
  • Constipation, flatulence and bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Supine hypotensive syndrome - a change in heart rate and blood pressure that causes you to feel dizzy while lying on your back
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Shallow breathing
  • Forgetfulness and clumsiness

You could also be feeling more emotional than before as your discomfort heightens and hormones levels are changing. Ask your doctor about the safest ways to relieve these symptoms.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.