Pregnancy is a journey all its own. Each one is an adventure, and no two moms are alike. No two pregnancies are alike, either. They have their beautiful glowing moments, yes, but then… then there are those weird things that you can only understand if you’ve been there, done that. Here are 15 things you probably don’t know about the third trimester.
I also will include some tips and tricks I’ve used during both my pregnancies to help you out!
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What is the Third Trimester?
The third trimester is basically the last phase of pregnancy before contractions and childbirth. The second trimester of pregnancy ends at the end of week 26 and the third trimester begins at week 27.
This is the trimester where you feel the biggest, and while you may not feel the hormonal craziness that happens in the first trimester, the third trimester has its own strange symptoms.
Trust me–it gets a little weird.
If this is your first pregnancy, there are a few weird things you probably don’t know about during the third trimester. I’m not talking about all the pre-labor stuff. I’m referring to weird pregnancy symptoms that happen day to day during the third trimester.
Before we get started, pin this for later!
The Third Trimester: 15 Things You Probably Don’t Know
1: The Third Trimester Exhaustion
You may have heard about exhaustion during pregnancy. If you have, it’s most likely associated with the first trimester. Which is true. Then you get this grand awakening during the second trimester and you feel like a whole new person.
And then comes the third trimester exhaustion. No, it’s not that odd, hormonal fatigue that you’ve experienced during the first trimester. This exhaustion is a new beast. It’s a heavy, bone-weary feeling that isn’t always resolved with sleep.
Yep. It’s very common to go to bed tired… and wake up tired.
So what to do?
The best things you can do when you’re feeling this crazy exhaustion is:
- Drink lots of water
- Make sure you’re getting enough iron (check with your doctor)
- Listen to your body. If it’s screaming “SIT DOWN!” then do it
- Use a pregnancy pillow to stay as comfortable as possible at night
- Don’t push yourself too far. It’s much harder to recover in trimester 3
2: Random Spurts of Energy
So you feel exhausted almost all the time. Then, all of a sudden, you get this frenzied burst of energy.
What is that?
If it’s at the end of your pregnancy you’ve likely entered the “nesting phase.” But you can experience it before then, too!
Nesting is a rare bird that deserves its own dedicated post. But it is a thing, and it’s also common to experience random spurts of energy at any given time during the third trimester.
Be prepared. This explosion of energy comes with a sense of urgency that maniacally nags, “I’ve got to get this done! I’d better clean that! Oh, and I need to organize this closet!”
Just roll with it.
3: The Third Trimester Indigestion
Heartburn. Acid reflux. Whatever you want to call it. It comes alive during the third trimester.
Have you ever heard the old wives’ tale that lots of acid reflux means you’re having a hairy baby?
Well, I certainly had plenty of it during my first pregnancy and my child wasn’t any hairier than the next.
The second pregnancy, though… yow! The indigestion game is strong with Baby #2 for me. I’ll update you after he arrives and let you know how hairy he turned out, but don’t get your hopes up. I don’t put much trust in wives’ tales.
It makes more sense when you think about how your body has adjusted to make room for your baby. Basically, Baby lives the good life in the roomiest section of your belly while your innards squash themselves around.
Hence the heartburn.
What To Do About It?
- Ask your doctor about safe over-the-counter meds (you have options!)
- Avoid trigger foods that are spicy or fatty
- Sip on carbonated water
- Keep TUMS or Rolaids on hand
- Sip heartburn-relieving teas
2021 Update: My second baby boy is now a year old and has the average amount of hair. No insanely hairy child from my indigestion.
4: Weird Tummy Pains
One of the things you probably don’t know about the third trimester is that you get other pains aside from contractions.
Your body is stretching and moving, accommodating Baby. You’re growing bigger and bigger… and bigger. Don’t expect your body to massively change without complaining at least a little.
You’ll feel twinges in your tummy, achy feelings, even mild pain.
Don’t panic. All of this is normal! It doesn’t mean you’re going into labor. It means you’re pregnant. Like you really needed the reminder, right?
Always consult with your doctor or midwife if you have severe cramping, repeated contractions, spotting or fluid leakage, or even if you’re unsure or uncomfortable about something.
5: Braxton Hicks
During your first pregnancy, you’ll likely start experiencing Braxton Hicks during the third trimester.
You’ll likely experience them even earlier during your second or third pregnancies (or fourth, or fifth…)!
This doesn’t mean you’re going into active labor. Think of it as practice. If this is your first pregnancy, the difference between Braxton Hicks and active labor can be hard to tell, but by pregnancy 2 and so on it does get easier.
Braxton Hicks feel similar to contractions but they don’t form any sort of pattern. They come and they go. They can vary in intensity, too, which is why it can be disconcerting.
But don’t panic. If you’re not sure about what you’re experiencing, just time your contractions, get a big glass of water and sit down for a bit. You might even consider soaking in the tub for a little while.
You most likely were familiar with the idea of Braxton Hicks. But did you know that you can actually experience contractions during your third trimester, too?
Yeah… like real-feeling ones.
I found this to be more common during my second pregnancy… usually after overdoing it a bit.
The warning sign is when the contractions persist and form a pattern. Your doctor will give you guidelines of when to call or head over to be checked out.
If you find you’re experiencing what feels like a real contraction or two, sip some water and have a seat. Wait it out. Put your feet up. If it’s time, they aren’t going to go away.
If it’s a false alarm, you’ll notice they fade away. Think about your day’s activities. Did you push yourself a little too much? Are you drinking enough water?
While this seems like a hazy mix of Braxton Hicks and who-knows-what, just keep an open mind. You’re pregnant. All bets are off. Your body is going to do some strange things. Just keep in tune with it as best as you can and take care of yourself.
7: Unable to Sleep During the Third Trimester
By the third trimester and particularly toward the end of the third trimester, you’ll find that it’s more difficult to get to sleep.
It’s not for lack of exhaustion… that’s laughable! It’s mostly because it’s harder to get comfortable–and stay comfortable.
You’re pretty much confined to sleeping on your side at this point, which gets old. Getting in and out of bed is an interesting adventure, too!
Now, while this sounds hopeless, it’s really not! Having a good-quality pregnancy pillow to contort around you and support all those achy spots will make the difference!
Just trust me on that one. While your sleep may not be the greatest, you can still work with it to get some rest.
Don’t overdo it throughout your day. It add extra aches you don’t need in your life. Stay hydrated (be prepared to get up to go to the bathroom a couple of times throughout the night).
8: No Appetite
Another one of the things you probably don’t know about the third trimester is that you can actually lose your appetite.
But when you feel like you’re out of room, Baby’s out of room, innards are out of room, well, putting food down there too isn’t always appealing.
You still need to eat.
When you have those “I’m just too full” moments, snack on something light. You need to feed Baby even when you don’t necessarily feel like it.
When you feel like you can’t get much down, make what you do eat count. Go for protein-packed snacks and other healthy treats that will sustain you for longer periods of time.
And don’t forget water. It’s getting old, I know. But it’s crucial.
9: Huge Appetite
Do you feel like you’re getting bounced back and forth, yet?
While you’ll have your moments of feeling too full to eat, you’ll also have moments where you’re ravenous.
It’s like you’re a bottomless pit and can’t get enough to eat to feel satiated.
That’s all part of the adventure, Sister. Enjoy your third lunch!
Try to keep your choices on the healthier side, maybe veer away from 3 cheeseburgers and 2 servings of fries. You’ll thank yourself later.
10: Muscle Aches
So we’ve already talked about those gleeful twinges and aches in your belly, but there’s more!
Carrying Baby can make you a little sore in other areas, too. The most common area is the lower back. It just comes with the territory.
Don’t be surprised if you notice your legs, thighs and shoulders feeling achy and sore at times.
Even your arms can feel sore! I know–it’s so weird. But if your back is sore, you’re probably trying to give it relief by moving and carrying in other ways.
A pregnancy massage isn’t a bad idea. They’ll find all the knots you didn’t know you had and help you out. Soaking in Epsom salt is another good way to relax.
11: Random Emotions
Nope… all the weird hormonal things aren’t reserved for just the first trimester.
You’ll find that between the tiredness, aches, weird spurts of energy and not being able to see your toes, you just have had it at times.
You might be alone. Nothing may have happened to cause it. And boom. You feel the tears.
Just let it out.
That’s the healthiest thing in the world you can do. There are several good reasons why you might be feeling emotional, but I’ve found that it’s wisest to not analyze why you’re feeling that way but to simply just feel it, get it out, and then carry on.
Keep your tissues handy. Make your favorite tea. Laugh at yourself through your tears, and then feel all the millions of hugs from all of us mamas out there who’ve done it, too.
You’re one of us.
12: Belly Growth Spurts
Think you’re as big as you’re gonna get? Well, think again.
Until Baby arrives, you’re going to keep growing.
Until Baby arrives, they’re going to keep growing! They’re continuing to fatten up in the end, right up until D-day, and that means you’re going to see it, too.
One of the best things you can do is come to terms with the fact that you grow, grow grow. Your belly grows, and in most cases, so does everything else.
Guess what? That’s normal! It’s healthy!
So don’t fight it, Sister. Just pat your tummy and congratulate your little on their good growth spurts.
13: Big… Just Big
This goes right along with your belly growing. Every mama grows and changes in her own way, some more than others.
But no matter who you are or how you change, you have this feeling of just being big at the end of your 3rd trimester.
It’s a feeling that you can’t truly relate with until you’ve experienced it. You could be one of those tiny ones who barely changes, but you’ll still feel it.
Or, you can be like me–quite round with plenty of love to spare–and feel it, too, for sure.
It’s a feeling of fullness, of sharing a very cramped space with another human.
Which makes sense, doesn’t it?
With that full feeling comes a heavy feeling, too! I mean, think about it. You’re carrying another person inside you and that little person is growing.
Not only that but your belly will tend to drop as you get closer to your due date. Baby is descending and getting ready to make their beautiful arrival.
Don’t be surprised when you sit down and feel your belly rest solidly on your legs.
You’re not weird. You’re just very pregnant.
Don’t be surprised when bumpy starts to feel heavy. It can make you feel a little off-balance. Just “hang” in there. Soon that weight will be a sweet little bundle in your arms!
15: Belly Movements
This is the point where Baby moves and your belly does the weirdest stuff, too!
At first, those little flutters are so sweet and endearing. Then, they become these amazing kicks and stretches that just melt your heart.
Then, by the third trimester, Baby is using your tummy as a trampoline (seriously, they’re getting stronger for birth) and your bladder as a punching bag.
Your belly will be lopsided at times, or have a crazy lump. This is all totally normal, and it’s still endearing, too.
While it may get uncomfortable at times, try to remind yourself it won’t last forever. Baby will be on the outside very soon, and all those movements will be a memory.
I’m purely convinced my baby has a dance routine. He does the wave with his back, then proceeds to raise the roof on my bladder while doing a moonwalk across my upper abdomen, tapping across my ribs.
It’s a lovely reminder that I can’t wait for him to be born.
The Third Trimester is Just Plain Weird
While some are comical, some are a chore and others are plain weird, it all goes to show that pregnancy is an adventure with it’s own twists and turns.
But it’s also a reminder of just how incredible we are, how capable and how strong. We are totally equipped to handle this!
Best of all, it’s all a promise of what’s to come. More adventures, and yes that can go both ways, but there truly is nothing better.