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Third Trimester of Pregnancy

(continued)

Changes in Your Body continued...

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.

Hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are actually varicose veins -- swollen veins that form around the anus. These veins enlarge during pregnancy because extra blood is flowing through them and the weight of pregnancy increases the amount of pressure to the area. To relieve the itch and discomfort, try sitting in a warm tub or sitz bath. Ask your doctor whether you can also try an over-the-counter hemorrhoid ointment or stool softener. 

Shortness of breath. As your uterus expands, it rises up until it sits just under your rib cage, leaving less room for your lungs to expand. That added pressure on your lungs can make it more difficult to breathe. Exercising can help with shortness of breath. You can also try propping up your head and shoulders with pillows while you sleep.

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