7 Third Trimester Discomforts and What to Do About Them
The third trimester of pregnancy is a super exciting time – you are so close to meeting your precious baby!
Let’s face it though, it can be rough. Those uncomfortable pregnancy ailments can feel worse than ever and make the final days and weeks drag. The good news is that there are some things you can do to help ease those discomforts. We’ve put together a list of the top seven third trimester discomforts – what causes them and what you can do about them.
Cause: In your third trimester your body produces approximately 60 percent more blood volume than usual. That’s a lot! Your growing uterus puts pressure on the large veins returning blood to your heart. This extra fluid pools in your lower limbs.
The pressure can also sometimes cause varicose veins (swollen or purple/blue coloured veins). Varicose veins usually return to normal once baby arrives (hooray!).
What you can do:
- Try to reduce the amount of time spent on your feet. If you do have to stand for a long period of time (i.e. for work), take a 10-minute break every couple of hours to sit down and put your feet up. This will help gravity pull fluid from your legs back into your circulatory system. If this isn’t an option, try wearing compression tights. Compression tights help move fluid up to the heart and keep them from pooling in your legs.
- After dinner, put your feet up (literally). Try propping them up on a couple of pillows on a coffee table, a few hours before bed (not right before bed). The reason for this is that the fluids returning to your heart will be filtered by your kidneys, resulting in needing to pee. Better to need to go before bed than after you have drifted off!
- Wear comfy shoes (jandals are great in summer!)
2. Sore Back and Hips
Cause: The increase in progesterone in your body during pregnancy relaxes your joints and muscles to accommodate your growing uterus. It also increases the flexibility of your pelvis and makes it easier for your baby to pass through the birth canal. The down side is that it can also cause you pain.
Your posture may have also changed during pregnancy due to the extra weight you’ve been carrying around. Leaning to one side more than another can cause hip or lower back pain.
What you can do:
- Try wearing a belly belt to provide you with support and take some of the weight off your hips and back.
- When sitting down, put pillows under your hips OR try sitting on a balance or yoga ball instead of a chair.
- Take a warm bath or use a warm wheat bag on your hips or back to help relieve the pain.
- Avoid wearing high heels. Your back (and feet) will thank you for it!
3. Heartburn/ Reflux
Cause: As your uterus gets bigger, it begins to push up on your stomach. The result? There isn’t as much space left for food. The sphincter between your stomach and oesophagus also doesn’t work quite as well during pregnancy.
What you can do:
- Eat smaller, frequent meals throughout the day and drink plenty of water. Find foods that make you feel less full without lowering your caloric intake. Try a protein shake for example.
- If you’re having problems with reflux, avoid foods that are spicy or acidic. Instead, choose foods that are creamy, such as yoghurt.
- Don’t eat within two hours of going to bed. Food needs time to leave your stomach before sleeping
- Elevate your head and don’t lie flat
- Sip organic heartburn tea
Cause: There are many. Your growing belly, sore back and/or hips, heartburn, needing to pee, your mind going into overdrive thinking about everything.
What you can do:
- Use a pillow between your legs, under your tummy and behind your back to support your body and get comfy. Pregnancy support pillows are especially designed for the pregnant body. They gently support your growing belly and bring your spine and pelvis into a neutral position to stop that dragging feeling. They can also prevent you from rolling forwards, which helps with lower back pain.
- Don’t watch TV or look at your phone for one hour before bed
- Take a warm bath before bed
- Sip warm milk or tea before bed
- Place a couple drops of lavender on your pillow, bath or body lotion
5. Needing to Pee All the Time
Cause: This could potentially be THE most annoying part of the third trimester. During pregnancy, the volume of fluid running through your kidneys doubles. As your baby grows, he or she also may put pressure on your bladder.
What you can do: Not too much about this one we’re afraid! It’s super important to keep hydrated, so don’t stop drinking liquids in order to avoid going to the loo. Dehydration can cause contractions, dizziness, and light headedness. The best thing you can do is prepare for needing to go more often. For example, if you’re at the movies, sit in the aisle seat.
6. Light Headedness/ Dizziness
Cause: Fluid pooling in your legs (instead of circulating throughout your body) can cause dizziness or light headedness. You might notice it more when you’ve been standing for prolonged periods or when you get up quickly.
What you can do:
- Compression tights can assist by pushing blood out of the legs and to your heart. If you have to stand for prolonged periods, keep moving to increase circulation. Try shuffling your feet or bending your knees by bringing your lower leg up towards your bottom a few times.
- Avoid getting up too quickly. When getting out of bed in the morning, sit up, put your feet on the floor, and wait a minute before you stand up and go.
- Stay hydrated at all times
7. Breast Pain
Cause: This is a really common one, due to hormonal changes preparing your breasts for feeding baby. You may find you go up a few cup sizes throughout your pregnancy.
What you can do: Go and buy a couple of new bras in your new larger size. You may need to do this a couple of times during your pregnancy. It will make you so much more comfortable wearing a properly fitting bra.
(Future tip: To ease breast discomfort when breast feeding, try out Booby Tubes – all natural breast packs made of organic cotton).
General Tips to Ease Third Trimester Discomforts
- Wear the comfiest clothes you can (sounds obvious, but can make a world of difference if overlooked!)
- Do some gentle exercise
- Use pillows to get comfy
- Get regular massages
- Use warm water to ease pain
- Try pregnancy yoga
- If you are feeling anxious or stressed, try sipping the calming Earth Mama Organic Peaceful Mama Tea, or Earth Mama Third Trimester Tea formulated with herbs and minerals especially for women in their third trimester
- Sit on an exercise ball and rock from side to side to ease pressure
The positive to all of this is that the end of your pregnancy is near. Try to rest as much as you can, grab a cuppa and catch up on some Netflix. Following these simple tips to ease third trimester discomforts can help to make you a bit more comfortable as you await the arrival of your wee darling. And it IS worth the wait, we promise!
Remember, if you have any queries or concerns, don’t hesitate to call your midwife or doctor.