Being in the third trimester means you are in the home stretch of pregnancy. (Cue angels singing hallelujah). For some women, this time is relieving and welcomed. For others, it is actually a time filled with great anxiety and trepidation surrounding the birthing process and life as a new mom. There is also a concern when experiencing physical symptoms and sensations that kind of freak you out. Most are pretty normal, but there are a few third trimester red flags that mean you should call your OB right away.
After months of pregnancy pain, I was ready for my little human to be out of my body. Even though I gave into all of my food cravings, I tried to exercised almost every day. Then one day, a gush of fluid leaked from my vagina while walking briskly on the treadmill. I was newly in my third trimester and thought for a moment, maybe I just peed. I called my OB-GYN who insisted that I come in right away for an exam "just to be safe," she said. It turns out, I was leaking amniotic fluid, which altered how the rest of my pregnancy played out, including my child's birth.
That's the problem with pregnancy, sometimes you just have no idea what's normal and what isn't. Every pregnancy is unique and so is every body. Thankfully, there are nine universal signs to look out for that often ride a fine line between being normal and worrisome to help guide you.
1. You Notice Vaginal Bleeding
Bleeding at any time during your pregnancy is anxiety inducing, especially during the third trimester. According to Web MD, even a little spotting could be a sign of a serious problem called placenta previa, where the placenta somehow separates from the uterine wall. The blood could also be the sign of preterm labor. Either way, call your medical provider right away if you see blood.
2. You Have Swollen Hands Or Face
Swelling to some extent is to be expected, but you may want to pay close attention to a swollen face or hands, as it could be a sign of preeclampsia, according to The Bump. Severe swelling in feet and ankles is also a big sign of this serious condition. As explained on the site, early detection is paramount, so call your OB right away if you notice major puffiness.
3. You Are Having Abdominal Pain
Most every pregnant person will complain of aches and pains now and then. Your body and muscles are stretching exponentially, and the extra weight can hurt your back and in your stomach area, but if you're really hurting that may be cause for concern. According to Parents, abdominal pain in the third trimester could mean miscarriage, pre-term labor, placental abruption, preeclampsia, urinary tract infection (UTI), appendicitis, and gall stones. All of these conditions require prompt medical evaluation.
4. You're Experiencing Rapid Weight Gain
Weight gain is no biggie while pregnant and, in many cases, it's encouraged. The concern is if you're gaining more than four pounds in one week, which could be a sign of preeclampsia as noted on The Bump. If you're putting on the pounds fast in the last trimester you may want to alert your doctor.
5. You Itching A Lot
Itchy skin is pretty normal during pregnancy with skin stretching or being pregnant in winter. But Baby Center noted that severe itchiness could be a sign of intrahepatic cholestasis (ICP), according to Baby Center. ICP is a liver condition that's caused by bile not flowing normally. It effects one percent of pregnant women, and sometimes itchiness is the only symptom.
6. Your Vision Is Blurry
According to What To Expect, blurry vision is most often caused by pregnancy hormones and is pretty normal. In some cases though, it's not normal and may be a sign that something else is going on. As explained on the site, if you notice blurriness, dimming spots, and floaters for an extended amount of time, gestational diabetes or high blood pressure could be the causes. Both conditions can be harmful for mother and baby and need to be evaluated right away.
7. Baby Isn't Moving
During the third trimester you are most likely doing kick counts on a regular basis. If you notice that your baby's movements are much less than what's normal for him or her, it may be time to ring your doctor, as recommended on The Bump.
8. You're Super Wet Down There
Sure, things may have felt like a slip and slide with all those pregnancy hormones working in overdrive. But gushes of fluids are a cause for concern, especially if your a ways away from your due date. According to The Bump, gushes of fluid from your vagina or constant wetness may be a sign that your water has broken. If you suspect it has, it's best to get examined right away.
9. You're Having Intense Contractions
False labor pains called Braxton Hicks are pretty typical in pregnancy, especially in the third trimester as explained on Web MD. The concern is if they are intense, taking your breath away, coming in fairly regular intervals, and intensifying. If any of those things are happening, you may actually be in labor and it's imperative that you let your medical provider know ASAP.
These signs are not meant to induce severe anxiety in you, they're simply mentioned as a caution. Being pregnant is fraught with so much uncertainty because every pregnancy is so different. Listening to your body and staying observant will help you figure out when to be adequately concerned, and when to relax. Sometimes, calling your OB-GYN when you're unsure, is simply good for peace of mind, which is advantageous to all pregnant women.