As women enter the third trimester of pregnancy, they know they are on the home stretch. The birth of the baby is in sight! However, when women look back on their feelings and their baby bumps in the first trimester, it can seem like a lifetime ago.
The dramatic changes in our body and our emotions can be overwhelming. Hormones invade our bodies and cause so much change, not all of it pleasant. We may feel tired, sick or fearful of losing the baby.
As we approach the third trimester, we may feel huge, exhausted and fed up with carrying the weight of the baby around. We may be suffering from stretch marks, varicose veins, gas, and constipation.
These physical ailments are a ‘yet’ for those in the first trimester. Excitement about being pregnant may overtake any worries about the later stages.
In the last trimester, worries may be focused on the birth and how it will go and how to cope as a parent. It doesn’t matter how many books we read and how many moms we talk to, nothing can really prepare us for pregnancy or labor. It is a long but wonderful journey of three trimesters, each one with a new set of challenges, but the end result is worth them all.
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20 Morning Sickness Blues
The first trimester of pregnancy is a full-on attack of hormones on the body. The baby is growing at a faster rate than at any other time in the pregnancy. By the end of week twelve, it has gone from a cluster of cells to a recognizable human being.
These hormones, the effort the body puts in and fatigue all contribute to many women getting morning sickness. This feeling of nausea and occasional vomiting can last all day and for many women doesn’t disappear until the second trimester. Fortunately, by the third, it should have completely gone, unless the mother is suffering from hyperemesis gravida, which is permanent sickness all through the nine months.
19 Feeling Light And Free
In the first trimester mothers are generally pretty much the same size they were pre-pregnancy, with a slight bump forming towards the end of the three months. Fatigue and sickness may prevent any vigorous moving about, but the baby’s size certainly won’t.
By the third trimester, women are feeling big and heavy, particularly as the due date approaches. Loosening joints and muscles and the baby pressing down on the pelvis can make movement very challenging and it is time to slow down and prepare for the birth.
18 The Girls Feel Swollen And Tender
One of the first signs of pregnancy is often finding that the breasts are sore and swollen. The hormones that are running riot in the woman’s body increase the blood flow and fill the breast out more, making them larger and more tender.
Breasts continue to grow throughout pregnancy, although by the third trimester this might not be so noticeable as the baby bump gets so large. They continue to fill out as the body prepares to produce milk and the areola and nipples may become darker as well, according to Healthline. It’s also possible to get stretch marks on the breasts in the third trimester as the skin stretches with the extra tissue.
17 The Flat Tummy
It’s a good idea to make peace with the idea of not having a flat stomach for nine months when you find out you are pregnant. Although the stomach might not grow much in the first trimester, by the end of the twelfth week, many women notice a small bump, especially if it is not the first pregnancy she has experienced.
By the third trimester, the baby is so large that the stomach will protrude and the skin on the stomach will have stretched to accommodate it. The bump will remain more compact if the mother has good muscle tone pre-pregnancy, but even this is no barrier against a large, growing baby.
16 A Comfortable Sleep
Women in the first trimester may feel extreme tiredness as the body copes with the dramatic impact of coping with a pregnancy. It is one of the first symptoms that many women feel and getting up in the morning can be a challenge.
By the third trimester, the baby is pressing down on the bladder, meaning that sleep is interrupted by frequent visits to the bathroom. Women find it difficult to get comfortable in bed with the large bump in front of them and this can interrupt good sleep as well. Add heartburn into the mix and the third trimester can be a hard time to catch a long rest.
15 Good Balance And Coordination
While it’s safe to do gentle exercise all through pregnancy, with a doctor’s approval, by the third trimester, anything other than a gentle swim might be out of the question, according to Web MD.
Certainly, nothing that involves contact should be attempted as the baby could be injured. In the first trimester, women are advised to continue the level of exercise they undertook pre-pregnancy, but whether or not they want to is another matter.
The third trimester brings balance issues with it as well, so cycling and anything that requires good balance and coordination may need to be put off until after the birth.
14 Happy, Sad, Happy, Sad
The hormones progesterone and estrogen are the main culprits for mood swings in pregnancy, American Pregnancy reports. These are most strongly felt in the first trimester when the hormone injection is massive and the body is adjusting to the new state. This is also a time of mixed emotions around the pregnancy, ranging from sheer joy to utter terror. Tiredness adds to the mixture of feelings.
By the third trimester, the body has adjusted somewhat to the hormones. While they are still very much present, the mother is more used to the idea of being pregnant and the main worries may concern birth and suitability for parenting.
13 Properly Fitting Into Clothes
By the third trimester, most women have said goodbye to their old wardrobe. Stretchy waistbands, pouched trousers, and bigger tops are added, while the tight, slim fitting dresses and skirts are at the back of the wardrobe.
In the first trimester, many women remain able to wear their normal clothes, with perhaps a few adjustments to the waistbands. However, if it is a subsequent pregnancy, women may find that they are expanding a little quicker than the first time, due to loss of muscle tone in the abdominal region.
Bounty recommends investing in a ‘capsule’ maternity wardrobe to ensure maximum wear out of clothes while not spending a fortune.
12 Always Hungry
Growing a baby is hard work for the body. It takes a lot of fuel. The baby will always take what it needs from the mother. This means that the mother may be permanently starving in the first trimester as the baby takes the nutrients and fats from the mother’s bloodstream.
Unless a woman has extreme morning sickness, most moms-to-be find that the first trimester is a time of constant hunger. To avoid putting on too much weight, it is best to keep to a healthy diet and make sure that it is rich in nutrients.
By the third trimester, the stomach is so squashed that only small meals may be palatable. Many women find that they lose some weight in the run-up to the birth.
11 Metallic Taste In The Mouth
One of the early symptoms of pregnancy that many women suffer from is an odd, metallic taste in their mouth. There is a medical term for this – dysgeusia, and it is very common. Over 90 percent of pregnant women report a change in their taste buds during pregnancy.
Hormones are once again to blame for this odd phenomena, and as they are rife in the first trimester, this is when the odd tastes will be noticed most. By the third trimester, the hormone levels will have settled according to What to Expect, and this symptom disappears.
10 The Need To Take Folic Acid
Doctors recommend that women who are planning to get pregnant or who are in the early stages of pregnancy, take a daily dose of folic acid. This is because it helps to form a healthy fetus and can reduce the chances of having a baby with spina bifida.
Since the spine develops in the first trimester, this is the time it is vital for the mother to be to take the supplement, in a measure of around 400 mg per day.
By the third trimester, it is not necessary to take such a high dose, although folic acid is present in many commons foods such as green leafy vegetables and breakfast cereal.
9 The Fear Of Loss
Many women are very worried about miscarriage in the first trimester and indeed until the first sonogram reveals a healthy, moving baby, this can be a constant concern.
By the third trimester, mothers should feel their babies moving daily and as the baby becomes viable at 28 weeks, there is less concern about losing the baby.
Miscarriages are still a mystery to the medical profession but are very unlikely to be caused by something the mother did wrong. It is most likely that there was an abnormality in the baby that made it impossible to live. Cutting out smoking and drinking and maintaining a healthy diet are all recommended to be on the safe side.
8 Curiosity About The Baby’s Appearance
Parents-to-be wonder endlessly what their baby will look like and wait anxiously to get a glimpse of the baby in the first sonogram. By the time the third trimester arrives, they will have seen the baby and hopefully, have a photo to give an idea of the baby’s profile.
Some parents even invest in a 3D sonogram that gives a more accurate picture of how the baby will look. Whatever parents choose to do, by the third trimester they have a vague idea of the baby’s features and the first real view is just around the corner.
7 Anxiety About The 12th Week
Parents are naturally worried about miscarriage in the early stages of pregnancy. The temptation to tell family and friends is often resisted for fear of something going wrong. Women sometimes choose to wait until the first sonogram before confirming the pregnancy, particularly at work. Sometimes there is fear that their symptoms will give them away before the bump does.
However, by the third trimester, there is absolutely no hiding the fact that the baby is on its way. The bump will be clearly visible to all and there are only a scarce number of women who give birth with little sign of a pregnancy bump.
6 The Glowing Hair Changes
The first shock of hormones has a dramatic change on a woman’s body in the first trimester. Aside from the more well-known symptoms of sore breasts, feeling sick and tiredness, women may not expect a change in hair and skin.
Some women benefit from the ‘glow’ of pregnancy. Hair loss slows down, so hair appears thicker and glossier. Not so nice changes include pigmentation changes, so dark skin patches may appear on the woman’s body. Some women react to the hormones with acne or reddening of the skin, known as rosacea. While these changes might be a shock to begin with, by the third trimester women have usually adjusted to the odd ways the hormones affect their bodies.
5 The Tiger Stripe Shock
The first stretch mark that a woman sees and the first sight of a varicose vein may be shocking and distressing. No one wants these scars of pregnancy, but sadly there is nothing we can do about them once they arrive.
By the time a mom arrives at the third trimester, these physical signs are part and parcel of the changes in the body and the arrival of a new one is less of a shock. As the body grows and stretches quickly, the skin scars in its middle layer and causes the lines of scar tissue that we know as stretch marks.
As blood volume grows so much, blood can pool in the veins in the legs. The bulges known as varicose veins can appear in some pregnant women.
4 More Hormones = Darker Skin
Pregnancy hormones affect all parts of the body and, as noted, the skin is no exception. The increase in hormone levels can cause dark patches of skin to appear on the face and body. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘mask of pregnancy.’
It may be a shock to a newly pregnant woman to see these blotches appear on the face, however by the third trimester a woman is more used to the strange effects the rush of hormones has had on the body. Once the baby is born and the hormone levels return to normal, these patches of dark skin usually fade.
3 Toe Troubles
Every part of the body seems to grow with pregnancy. Feet seem to suffer a good deal. There is an increased flow of blood in a pregnant woman’s system, which means that there is more weight to squeeze into every bit of clothing.
Not only that, but by the third trimester some water retention in the sluggish circulatory system may give a woman swollen, puffy ankles. If they are able to bend down far enough to put shoes on, it may be a tight fit. If ankles become very swollen, elevating them can help to force the water and blood back toward the heart a little, and standing for long periods is to be avoided if possible.
2 Satisfying The Travel Bug
While many couples relish the thought of a trip abroad before the baby arrives, this is only possible in the early months. In fact, some airlines refuse to allow women to fly if they are very advanced in their pregnancies because of the risk of going into labor. Even a car journey may feel like a chore. That’s if the mom can fit behind the wheel and reach the seatbelt over the bump!
If a woman feels up to it, there are no restrictions on flying in the first trimester. However, because of feeling tired and ill, most women say the second trimester is when they felt most up to having a holiday, according to The NHS.
1 The Pre-Pregnancy Frame
Yes, the days of sashaying down the road with a taut stomach have to be put on hold a bit during pregnancy. This can be a bit of a shock to newly pregnant women who might try to pull their stomach in and fail. The jeans that used to fit so nicely are now more than snug.
By the third trimester, all thoughts of washboard abs have long disappeared. The bump is well and truly there to stay and even if a woman has managed to keep her pre-pregnancy frame, there is no doubt that slim is the last thing she will feel.
References: Healthline, Webmd, Bounty, Whattoexpect, NHS