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Third Trimester of Pregnancy

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Changes in Your Body continued...

Discharge. You might see more vaginal discharge during the third trimester. If the flow is heavy enough to soak through your panty liners, call your doctor. Close to your delivery date, you might see a thick, clear, or slightly blood-tinged discharge. This is your mucus plug, and it's a sign that your cervix has begun dilating in preparation for labor. If you experience a sudden rush of fluid, it may mean that your water has broken (although only about 8% of pregnant women have their water break before contractions begin). Call your doctor as soon as possible after your water breaks.

Fatigue. You might have been feeling energetic in your second trimester, but are weary now. Carrying extra weight, waking up several times during the night to go to the bathroom, and dealing with the anxiety of preparing for a baby can all take a toll on your energy level. Eat healthy food and get regular exercise to give yourself a boost. When you feel tired, try to take a nap, or at least sit down and relax for a few minutes. You need to reserve all your strength now for when your baby arrives and you're really not getting any sleep.

Frequent urination. Now that your baby is bigger, the baby's head may be pressing down on your bladder. That extra pressure means you'll have to go to the bathroom more frequently -- including several times each night. You might also find that you're leaking urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or exercise. To relieve the pressure and prevent leakage, go to the bathroom whenever you feel the urge and urinate completely each time. Avoid drinking fluids right before bedtime to cut down on unwanted late-night bathroom visits. Wear a panty liner to absorb any leakage that does occur. Let your doctor know if you experience any pain or burning with urination. These can be signs of a urinary tract infection.

Heartburn and constipation. They're caused by extra production of the hormone progesterone, which relaxes certain muscles -- including the muscles in your esophagus that normally keep food and acids down in your stomach, and the ones that move digested food through your intestines. To relieve heartburn, try eating more frequent, smaller meals throughout the day and avoid greasy, spicy, and acidic foods (like citrus fruits). For constipation, increase your fiber intake and drink extra fluids to keep things moving more smoothly. If your heartburn or constipation is really bothering you, talk to your doctor about what medications may be safe for you to take for symptom relief.

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