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Pregnancy - Body Changes

Third trimester

The third trimester lasts from week 28 to the birth. Many women have some discomfort during this time as their belly gets bigger. You might have trouble getting comfortable so you can sleep. And you might have a few other aches and pains.

Common symptoms you may experience during the third trimester include:

  • Braxton Hicks contractions, which are "warm-up" contractions that do not thin and open the cervix (do not lead to labor).
  • Fatigue.
  • Back pain.
  • Pelvic ache and hip pain.
  • Hemorrhoids and constipation.
  • Heartburn (a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD).
  • Hand pain, numbness, or weakness (carpal tunnel syndrome).
  • Breathing difficulty, since your uterus is now just below your rib cage, and your lungs have less room to expand.
  • Mild swelling of your feet and ankles (edema). Pregnancy causes more fluid to build up in your body. This, plus the extra pressure that your uterus places on your legs, can lead to swelling in your feet and ankles.
  • Difficulty sleeping and finding a comfortable position. Lying on your back interferes with blood circulation, and lying on your stomach isn't possible. Sleep on your side, using pillows to support your belly and between your knees. Later in your pregnancy, it is best to lie on your left side. When you lie on your right side or on your back, the increasing weight of your uterus can partly block the large blood vessel in front of your backbone.
  • Frequent urination, caused by your enlarged uterus and the pressure of the fetus's head on your bladder.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 04, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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