Common Complaints: Third Trimester

As your pregnancy approaches the end there are still a few more symptom plagued months to go. Each woman is unique and each pregnancy is unique so it goes without saying that no two pregnancies are exactly alike. Even with textbook pregnancies there are always a few differences. Your doctor will likely talk to you about you can expect given your specific situation, prior symptoms, and any special difficulties you may in your pregnancy.

It is always helpful though to have some idea about what you may be able to expect as your third trimester approaches, or whether the things you are currently experiences are “normal”. Here are a few of the common complaints of women in their third trimester.

Braxton Hicks contractions: These are contractions that are basically your body’s way of warming up for the real thing. You will notice a tightening of your belly and uterine muscles, designed to get those muscles ready for what will come during real labor. Typically you will start experiencing Braxton Hicks around the 28th to 30th week of your pregnancy. If you are concerned about the contractions you are feeling or they appear to increase with frequency and rhythm be sure to call your doctor immediately.

Pain in your back, pelvis, and hips: As the baby grows and as your body continues to get itself ready for the baby’s delivery you will notice pains in your back, pelvis, and hips. The growing baby is putting more and more pressure on your back causing an increase in the back pain many women experience throughout pregnancy. Your pelvic region is changing in preparation of the birth which inevitably causes pain in the hips and pelvis. Try sleep positions and exercises that help alleviate the pain and discomfort.

Heartburn: The hormones of pregnancy cause the digestive system to slow down, which results in an increased occurrence of heartburn. Doctors recommend that you eat several smaller meals throughout the day instead of the typical 3 large meals. They also recommend that you avoid eating close to bedtime and when you do go to bed that you prop yourself up on pillows as this helps alleviate heartburn.

Difficulty sleeping: As your body grows and changes you will inevitably become more uncomfortable, which certainly won’t help you sleep. Also, you will find that you have to get up several times a night to use the “little girl’s” room. Not to mention the baby moving throughout the night since he is not in a normal wake/sleep cycle. Be sure to get as much sleep as you can. You may find you need to take little naps during the day to help compensate for the lack of sleep at night.

Again, these are just a few of the common complaints of women in the third trimester, a few of the things you have to look forward to.

As with anything during pregnancy, if you are concerned about something you are experiencing talk to your doctor. If anything is bothering you or seems abnormal be sure to call your doctor so you can be checked out and you can discuss your concerns with your doctor.

What symptoms and complaints did you have during your third trimester? Anything in particular that really bothered you?

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40 comments on “Common Complaints: Third Trimester

  1. You know after so many pregancies I’m convinced there’s a reason that things get so uncomfortable that last trimester–by the time you make it through those last weeks of leg cramps, back pain, constipation, heart burn, lack of sleep, bleeding gums, hemorrhoids, swollen ankles and the like the prospect of enduring childbirth doesn’t seem near so bad. After 40 weeks I’m ready to go through anything to have that baby out 🙂

  2. the one thing I remember that you didn’t mention (it’s been a few decades) was an inflamed gall bladder from sonny boy moving my insides around a bit. Uncomfortable, but not terribly dangerous. My doc was able to convince me that both of us would get over it!

    Oh, and being unable to reach around the belly to put my shoes on. I wore the lovliest slip-on slippers everywhere, lol!

    Great addition to the Carnival of Family Life!

  3. You know Lisa, those pains in the back never went away for me and my oldest is now 24 and the youngest 11.

    Your post made me remember what back ache labour was all about.

    I agree with Michelle, that last trimester is a warm up and an enticer to get the baby out.

    Thanks for visiting my site Lisa and leaving a comment on my How to spell F.A.M.I.L.Y article.

    Megan from Australia here via the Carnival of Family Life.

  4. I’m 31 weeks right now, and I tell you what…the 3rd trimester definitely is the hardest and longest of all. I was pretty comfortable during my 2nd trimester, I miss those weeks!! My biggest complaint so far is the baby’s head pushing down on my bladder. It’s sending sharp pain down there and it’s not comfortable! I sleep good though, I advise every expecting mother to get a tempur pedic cover for the top of their mattress. Has worked wonders for my sleep!

  5. My complaint third trimester is the sharp pains that come and go in the lower belly, possible Braxton Hicks, and the constant trips to the bathroom. Seems like the minute I have my pants pulled up from going, I’m going again! I would love to feel some relief. I agree with the others, I am willing to go through anything to get the baby out (in due time!). Felt so good all along, and the third trimester is definately the most uncomfortable I think.

  6. I’m 38 weeks and this final trimester has been a major whirlwind of discomfort. One thing you forgot to mention: Pre-milk leakage and added embarrassment. Those breast pads certainly have been life savers.

  7. I am in the seventh month and having hard time coz am still vomiting and this worrying ne because im becoming more weak. please advise.
    worried kate

  8. Kate,

    You should probably bring you concerns up with your doctor. It is always best to keep your doctor informed about what is going on with you. Your doctor is a great resource and can help figure out if something maybe wrong or not, and how you can resolve the vomiting.

  9. Im in my 36th week. I constantly get the pain from him sitting on nerves either on the inside of my left leg, or all up my back. Its really annoying. Plus the ankles are so swallen i look somehwat like an elephent. my feet are so fat and puffy i can push down about 1/2 an inch before i feel bone haha.

  10. Ooh, I’m at 26 weeks and I just started getting terrible lower back pain. I didn’t have this with my other pregnancies. I can generally handle pain, but I can barely walk (I’m at work and seriously considering wheeling my desk chair down to the bathroom). Anyway, thanks for all the other posts reminding me of all the other lovely things we preggos have to go through 😉

  11. I’m 30 weeks pregnant and my upper back it killing me, as are my shoulder blades, really weird. I think it must be my posture, belly in front has put my spine out of whack. Haven’t had any major problems until the third trimester.

  12. I am 33 weeks and I keep getting this sharp pain at the top of my stomoch on the right side.It is really starting to bother me and I dont know whats the cause.I dont mind going back and foth to the restroom. But I do have a hard time sleeping through the night.

  13. I am 27 weeks and I have just started to get the most terrible lower back pain. It is focused on my right side. I can barley walk and I am always having to heat it. SHould I be worried or is this just the growing pains of the third trimester?

  14. Crissy,

    It sounds like typical late pregnancy pains. It may be your sciatica nerve, a lot of women have problems with that late in pregnancy. I would mention it to your doctor at your next appointment, he or she may have some tips for you on helping to ease the discomfort. Massage helps, I had a late pregnancy massage and it worked wonders for my back pain.

  15. thanks for the reply lisa,

    My husband had to take me to the hospital that night though as I was just in too much pain. Turns out that I have a UTI ( urinary Trac infection ) that spread in my blood and kidneys. baby is ok aswell as I. I suggest however, that anyone with this type of focused pain get checked out immediately as a UTI can harm the baby.

  16. Hi Jayne,

    I have been experiencing the same thing! It is terrible. I first got it in the middle of the night when I was 28 weeks and am now 39 weeks and have had it 5 times. I told my doctor and she doesn’t seem too concerned but hasn’t given me any idea of what it could be. I have done a bit of research and I think it is to do with the gallbladder or gall stones. It comes suddenly and there is nothing you can do to ease the pain. I feel it in my ribs all the way around to my back between my shoulder blades. Then the pain just disappears. Is this what it is like for you too?

  17. I’m 31 weeks into my first pregnancy and with all the lack of sleep, back pains, pelvic pressure, heartburn, and not to mention the fact that I never got over my morning sickness, all I have to ask is: How can anyone enjoy pregnancy??? I mean don’t get me wrong I love my baby and I’m glad I’m having him but where’s all the enjoyment everyone keeps talking about? I’m exhausted, sore, crabby, and over sensative not overjoyed like most pregnant women claim to be.

  18. Amber,

    Don’t beat yourself up, not every woman enjoys pregnancy. For some women, especially those who have difficult and uncomfortable pregnancies, being pregnant isn’t any fun. The end is just around the corner for you and believe me, when you see that little bundle of joy all the aggravations of your pregnancy will be worth it.

  19. i am 33 weeks pregnant and my breast have started leaking today and last weekend i was in the hospital with contrations 6 minutes apart! wondering if the milk leaking means ill deliver soon? i hope not! this is my second pregnancy!

  20. Michelle,

    With second and subsequent pregnancies your milk does start to come in sooner, often in late pregnancy rather than after the baby arrives. Just be sure you keep on top of your symptoms and talk to your doctor about anything you are concerned about.

  21. Lower back and pelvic pain develops due to the release of relaxin – o horman which increases laxity in the ligaments to prepare you for childbirth. Try a tight belt or pelvic belt (just under your tummy), this helps supprt the lax joints and should decrease pain.

  22. I will be 27 weeks on sunday and seriously the Braxton contractions are killing and discomforting. Please let me know if there are things I could do to get comfortable. Again I have difficulty in breathing every night especially after any meals taken from 6pm down. How do I get to breathe better? I love this sight. You’re doing a great job.

  23. Nonie,

    Drink lots of water and try resting while laying on your left side to help relieve the braxton hicks contractions. As for not being able to breath well at night, try sleeping semi-inclined, add a few extra pillows. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any and all symptoms so they can monitor you and so they can give you some tips and tricks as well.

  24. Wow! I’m glad I didn’t have this much discomfort i was just wondering what the pelvic pressure I have when I walk fast but goes away when I rest i’m 33weeks and my first child I told my mom I must seem like a old prego lady because I dont really worry about much

  25. Oh my God! Third trimester has been the worst. I’m 36weeks and the baby’s movements along with BH is killing me.I haven’t been able to sleep my hips are so sore just moving is painful, as well as lying on one side all night Burns. I want him healthy but I want my body back. Then I’m GB so he’s a big baby measuring two weeks ahead. I’m due October 18th but I feel like I won’t last through September. I read that the movements should slow down by now but mines haven’t he’s really working me overtime.

  26. Oh and the sharp pains in the lower abdomen Ugh painful. This is my third kid I thought it gets easier. My first was a breeze also didn’t complain about anything. She’s eight now and I have a four year old both girls. My first boy so maybe boys are harder to carry.

  27. Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of.

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  28. Hi I’m 32weeks. I was wondering about leaking. This is my 2nd pregnancy n I am not. I did not leak 4 my 1st preg. I also didn’t produce much milk n by 6wks my boy was fedup. I really want to try and breastfeed again but for longer. Is leaking before delivery a sign that one will produce a lot of milk? I was told I have to “prepare my breast”. Idk.
    Confused :/

  29. I’ve never heard of preparing your breasts before. After the baby is born it is important to get and maintain a good latch and nurse frequently to establish good supply. I suffer from over supply where my breasts produce more than my babies can drink and I have not leaked before they were born. I don’t believe that is an indicator at all. I would recommend talking to your doctor and perhaps a lactation consultant to help you prepare and hopefully succeed at Breastfeeding.

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  31. Sometimes, the relaxin hormone leads to abnormal motion in various new joints of
    your body, thus leading to swelling and pain. The
    problem isn’t in your muscles; it’s in your brain, the organ of learning and the center
    of long-term reflex actions, such as postural reflexes.
    Incidences of the problem seem to increase with age-up to the middle or late

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