When I was pregnant with my son, I was miserably nauseated from day one until the day I delivered. While it was slightly better with my daughter, I can't imagine a pregnancy where nausea isn't a near-constant struggle. This isn't the case for everyone, though. Some women get bouts of nausea during their pregnancy and some women never even feel queasy. We call them "blessed." But it's easy to see how if you've not had major problems with nausea that it would concern you. You might find yourself wondering, is nausea in third trimester normal?
Nausea is the most common complaint of pregnancy according to the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP), with up to 75 percent of women experiencing the symptom at some point of their gestation. However, nausea is most prevalent during the first 13 weeks when your body is flush with the rapidly multiplying hormones of pregnancy and it's working on managing its shifting equilibrium. As your body tries to find a new homeostasis, it's a bit like being on a rocking boat of hormones and increased blood volume, and you just need to ride it out. During these hormonal shifts in the pregnancy, another bout of nausea is not uncommon, but if it is a new symptom, or if it comes on quickly or severely, or both, it needs to be addressed by your provider, noted the AAFP. Turns out, complications like preeclampsia can present with nausea and vomiting.
As it turns out, there are a lot of reasons why you might find yourself a bit queasy towards the end of your pregnancy, and most of them are just more of the banalities of regular physiological changes of pregnancy. There are a few complications that are cause for concern, but mostly, it is what it is.
I spoke to family nurse practitioner Deirdre Loudermilk, and asked her if nausea is normal during the third trimester. She tells Romper, "Most of the time, it's completely normal. It could be because you are just a mom who gets a lot of nausea. It could be because of the position of your baby." She says that the slowed digestion due to progesterone in your body can be worsened by a uterus that is pressing up against the stomach or parts of the digestive tract that alter the shape of the sphincter regulating the direction of the food through your body. "It could also be the increased estrogen spike that happens around the time you're getting ready to give birth. A lot of women get nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea right before they go into labor."
Because childbirth isn't fun enough on its own, apparently. It also needs a sideshow.
Occasionally, though, it could be something more than just the quotidian craptastic symptoms of pregnancy. There are complications like HELLP Syndrome (hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelet count), or preeclampsia, a potentially fatal blood pressure condition, that can cause severe nausea and vomiting. "If your nausea is ever accompanied by pain, or if it's more severe than you're accustomed to, or if it's a new symptom, call your doctor immediately," Loudermilk says. She notes that the pain may feel localized to your upper abdomen in the case of HELLP, or might be a severe headache in the event of preeclampsia. Either way, any pain or any new symptoms needs to be assessed as soon as they present themselves because the best treatment for these dangerous conditions is delivering the baby.
However, if it's just your everyday nausea and vomiting that you've had on and off for 40 weeks, you probably know the drill by now. Small meals, plenty of rest, a bath in a sea of saltines and dry toast, and a cup of peppermint or ginger tea. It's all about managing your symptoms and counting down the days until it's over. At least if you're in your third trimester, you're almost there.
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