Third Trimester Symptoms
During months 7 through 9, prepare to have lots of symptoms as you enter the homestretch. Here's what to expect in the third trimester. Plus, pick your baby name while you wait
Since your uterus puts pressure on your bladder most heavily in the third trimester, this means you'll probably have to go to the bathroom more than you ever did before. What's even more annoying is that you might have sudden, uncontrollable urges to urinate, called urge incontinence (over 40 percent of first-time moms experience it). Try to urinate on a schedule (every hour or two), so that you go before you feel an overwhelming need. After a week or so, gradually extend the time between bathroom visits until you're urinating every three hours (or you reach the goal set by you and your doctor). It's also important to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to stay properly hydrated and to eat plenty of high-fiber foods to prevent constipation. And avoid caffeine, a diuretic that can make urge incontinence worse.
Nearly half of all moms-to-be will be plagued by heartburn. Thanks to all the hormones circulating through your body during pregnancy, the muscle at the top of your stomach -- the one that usually prevents digestive acids from splashing into the esophagus -- relaxes, allowing those harsh juices to go back up. What's more, by now your uterus has taken up most of your abdominal cavity, pushing your stomach up toward your throat, which makes the burn more noticeable. How can you get relief? Try to:
* Steer clear of classic heartburn triggers, like highly seasoned, spicy, or acidic foods (think chili); greasy, fried, or fatty foods; and caffeine. Other possible culprits include fizzy drinks, citrus, and some dairy foods, such as milk or ice cream.
* Trade in your three square meals for six easier-to-digest mini ones, eat them sitting upright, and avoid lying down right afterward and eating too close to bedtime.
* Ask your doctor first, but it's usually fine to take Tums, Rolaids, Mylanta, Maalox, and Zantac. Swollen feet, legs, and varicose veins Edema, the technical name for swollen feet, ankles, and legs, is caused by fluid retention in the lower half of the body. Varicose veins, those blue lines running up and down your legs, are caused by blood valves that soften, causing the blood to pool and form painful bulges. Though the swelling will subside, some of the varicose veins are there to stay (surgery is one way to remove them, but it's costly). To ease the discomfort of both:
* Put your feet up often, switch standing and sitting positions frequently, and never cross your legs. Lie down whenever possible, preferably on your side.
* Wear support hose, which may help soothe the aches and diminish the appearance of varicose veins. Just avoid wearing anything that cuts off circulation (like knee-high stockings).
* Don't limit fluids to try to minimize puffiness; your body will respond by hanging on to liquids even more.
* Soak in the tub. Studies show that the pressure of even a foot of water reduces discomfort.