6 painful truths about the last trimester

Get tips on dealing with pesky third tri pregnancy pain that could suck the fun out of your final lap.

6 painful truths about the last trimester


Your third trimester is all about anticipation — you’re just weeks away from delivering your bundle of joy. But if you imagine that you’ll be coasting during this home stretch, think again!

Quite likely, you’ll be plagued by issues like insomnia and fatigue, which can make for an unpleasant end to your pregnancy journey. SmartParents expert and Gleneagles Hospital ob-gyn Dr Christopher Chong suggests ways you can manage the pain:

 

1) You’re losing sleep

WHY? Dr Chong cites several reasons for sleep troubles during the last trimester. These include your foetus moving about routinely, discomfort because of your bump, cramps, heartburn and breathing difficulties.
WHAT YOU CAN DO Meditation can help you get your mind off your aches and pains, so you can fall into a deep slumber. If your baby bump gets in the way of you sitting upright, try lying on your back, shutting your eyes and taking relaxing deep breaths. Otherwise, listening to calming music or white noise — sound at any frequencies with equal intensity — may help you fall asleep, too. Do make sure to keep your bedroom a gadget-free zone to remove any distractions.  

To reduce swelling in your legs, place your feet on a stool or box if you sit for an extended period.

2) You’re always peeing

WHY? Your uterus is exerting greater pressure on your bladder, causing you to urinate frequently in your last trimester. The baby’s increased weight and movement down into the pelvic area — as a result of ripening — also increases the frequency of peeing.
WHAT YOU CAN DO While you can’t avoid the urge to keep peeing, you can save yourself loo trips by drinking only water. This is because certain beverages like coffee, tea and soft drinks have a diuretic effect. So, make sure you always drink enough water as you need to be properly hydrated for your and your baby’s sake. 

3) You swell everywhere!

WHY? While you love flaunting your bump, the swelling in different parts of your body is no picnic. From your fingers, ankles, face and even breasts, every part of your body seems to be growing in size during your third trimester. You should expect mild swelling — a condition known as oedema — as you may have fluid retention in your body. Your boobs will also grow in size in readiness to nurse your newborn when he arrives. However, excessive swelling is a known symptom of preeclampsia. This condition is marked by high blood pressure and an unusual amount of protein in your urine. Preeclampsia is also known to be a top cause of premature birth, so be sure to see your doc if you experience excessive swelling.
WHAT YOU CAN DO To reduce swelling in your legs, place your feet on a stool or box if you sit for an extended period. Raising your legs when you lie on your back is another solution. Dr Chong adds that you should also watch your diet. Start an exercise routine as well. Moving around improves blood circulation and eases water retention. Also, get fitted for a bra that offers good support, so that you don’t put pressure on your back as a result of baby’s added weight.

 

6 painful truths about the last trimester 
4) You’ll feel hangry all the time!

WHY? The additional weight you’ll be carrying around can increase your daily calorie intake and if you’re exercising during this period, you’ll naturally need to consume more food.
WHAT YOU CAN DO Sticking to a balanced diet and exercising where possible will help you avoid health problems like gestational diabetes and high blood pressure — which can put your pregnancy at risk. Dr Chong advises, “Peristalsis [the process where food moves along your digestive tract] slows during pregnancy, especially in the later trimester when the enlarged womb rests on the intestines blocking the passage of food and increasing reflux.” So, remember to eat several small meals instead of three big ones.

Being active during pregnancy will help you cope physically, mentally and emotionally with the final lap of your journey to being a mother.

5) You have nagging aches and pains

WHY? The extra pregnancy weight places additional pressure on your back, neck and shoulder, causing aches and pains. In turn, these muscle aches may cause you to lose sleep if you don’t resolve it. Dr Chong adds that water retention can worsen the swelling of your joints — in areas such as your wrists — too.
WHAT YOU CAN DO Exercise. Dr Chong says doing anything from simple stretching exercises to yoga and even swimming can help ease your muscle aches. Otherwise, get your hubby to give you massages that help you relax, which can boost the quality of sleep.

6) You’re becoming a hermit

WHY? In your third trimester, you’ll realise that you’re less nimble, so moving around isn’t exactly a walk in the park. So, you’ll prefer to stick around at home and laze on the bed.
WHAT YOU CAN DO Unless your ob-gyn has ordered you to go on bed rest, head out regularly for fresh air and exercise. If you’re afraid to sweat it out under the hot sun, meet your girlfriends for dinner or indulge in some window shopping. Being active during pregnancy will help you cope physically, mentally and emotionally with the final lap of your journey to being a mother.

Photos: iStock

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