This article is part of the Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy.
The third trimester of pregnancy is an exciting time for a mom-to-be! The baby is growing by leaps and bounds and all that growing means growing for the mom too. Let's admit it, the third trimester can be uncomfortable - even as you're happily counting the days until you meet your little one.
Learn more about five common issues for women in their third trimester and a few tips to help with each.
Skin careStretch marks on your abdomen; skin discolorations such as dark areas on the face or a dark line below the naval; acne and other skin changes are common as hormone levels increase towards the end of pregnancy. Some of these will go away after the baby is born but there are a few things you can do to help in these final months:
- Use lotions to add moisture to dry, itchy areas.
- Avoid sun exposure.
- Watch your weight to help limit the stretch marks - often caused by rapid weight gain.
- Focus on a healthy diet with plenty of vitamin C to keep your skin toned.
HeartburnPregnancy muscles loosen the muscle that closes off the esophagus from the stomach. When this happens, stomach contents can back up into the esophagus causing a burning sensation knowing as heartburn. Combine that with a growing uterus that is squeezing the stomach and it's no wonder many pregnant women experience heartburn. Tips to help:
- Avoid high-fat foods, spicy foods, and caffeine
- Eat small, frequent meals
GETTING READY FOR A BABY? Register for classes at Logansport Memorial Hospital to learn childbirth preparation, breastfeeding and infant CPR. Check out upcoming classes and registration information.
Ankle or leg swellingMost pregnant women have some leg swelling due to the extra volume of blood providing circulation to the placenta and baby. The uterus puts pressure on the large blood vessels draining blood from the lower half of the body, which can cause fluid to pool in the legs. Tips to relieve discomfort:
- Drink plenty of water or noncaffeinated beverages each day
- Limit sodium from foods
- Rest with feet up
- Do not cross your legs
- Do not wear knee-high or thigh-high nylons with a tight elastic band
- Lie on your left side when sleeping
- Bend, stretch, and rotate your feet several times per day. You can do this while standing or sitting up. The light exercises will help circulate blood.
Varicose veins and hemorrhoidsVaricose veins on the legs and hemorrhoids often occur during pregnancy due to increased blood volume. While common, these problems can cause complications aside from just discomfort. Here are some tips to help if you're experiencing them:
- Prevent constipation. Eat a high-fiber diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Avoid straining during bowel movements
- Use a sitz bath after bowel movements to soothe hemorrhoids
- Drink plenty of fluids without caffeine
- Avoid prolonged periods of standing or sitting
- Remain active
Difficulty sleepingSome women have trouble getting comfortable when sleeping in the last few months of pregnancy. In addition, it may be hard to relax when you are worried about the baby, childbirth, and being a mother. Some women think of this as training for dealing with the first few sleepless weeks with a newborn. Sleep is important though, especially as you get ready for a new addition to your family. Some tips for better sleep:
- Take a warm shower before bedtime to relax
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid exercise late in the day
- Try to get comfortable with pillows - some women also find sleeping in a recliner to be more comfortable at the very end of pregnancy
NEW OB clinic: Rochester Health Center
As part of Logansport Memorial Hospital's expansion of our OB/GYN department, we are proud to announce the opening of our newest OB/GYN clinic in Rochester, Indiana. This clinic will focus on women's health and be staffed by OB/GYN doctors and nurses.
Schedule an appointment: Call (574) 223-3567