6 Unexpected Symptoms of the Third Trimester

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Fatigue, heartburn and carpal tunnel, oh my! Here’s what you can expect as you head into the home stretch.

The last three months of pregnancy are often exciting, nerve-racking and physically demanding.

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While you may feel like you couldn’t possibly get any bigger, baby isn’t done growing and neither are you. And with the additional weight comes a whole new host of health issues to contend with. Be on the lookout for these six symptoms.

1. Back Pain

There are two things working against you: Your growing belly can throw off your posture, and the hormone relaxin, which is prepping your joints for delivery, can exacerbate the stress on your back. Try prenatal yoga or spring for a massage to help relieve the pain.

2. Frequent Urination

This is one of those pregnancy symptoms that will get worse before it gets better. That’s because your uterus is putting pressure on your bladder most heavily during the third trimester, so you might find that you have to go more now than ever before. Cut back on caffeinated drinks, which increase urination.

3. Increasing Fatigue

Your expanding uterus is making it difficult to catch your breath, you’re lugging around an extra 20 to 30 pounds (or more) and you’re waking up at night to use the restroom — no wonder you’re exhausted! Keep energy levels up by continuing to exercise, eating well and resting whenever you can.

4. Heartburn

Almost half of all moms-to-be deal with heartburn, especially in the third trimester when your uterus is taking up most of the space in your abdominal cavity and pushing your stomach up near your throat. Swap out your three big meals for six smaller ones, and avoid eating too close to bedtime to help combat the burn.

5. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Swelling combined with repetitive motions like typing can cause carpal tunnel, making tingling, numbness and pain in the hands common for many pregnant women. Change or avoid these repetitive activities if possible, or wear a wrist splint at night to help keep your wrist straight.

6. Precontractions

As your body begins to get ready for labor, you may experience a few rounds of practice contractions, known as Braxton Hicks. They can be alarming at first, but they’re totally normal and typically not very painful. How do you tell the difference between these and real labor?

Real contractions typically start in the back and come around to the front of the body, while Braxton Hicks tend to be felt in the front of the abdomen.

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