During the third trimester, you may experience aches and pains that vary from mild to intense. These are generally caused by your growing baby and changing body. There are many ways to ease discomforts, but always ask your healthcare provider before taking any medications for relief.

Watch the video to learn more. Then, click on the "Take Note" box to read about the causes and treatment of the most common late-pregnancy discomforts.

play video 3rd Trimester Discomforts : Learn how to ease common late-pregnancy discomforts, including insomnia, swelling, and Braxton-Hicks contractions.

3rd Trimester Discomforts
view text Learn how to ease common late-pregnancy discomforts, including insomnia, swelling, and Braxton-Hicks contractions.

(Narrator) During your third trimester, your discomforts are mainly caused by your now-large baby pressing on your other organs, as well as how your body changes to prepare for labor.


(Narrator) Fetal Fact! In the days or weeks leading up to labor, your baby might drop into a lower position in preparation for birth, which is called lightening. Having your baby lower in your pelvis can alleviate some discomforts like shortness of breath and heartburn, but can cause uncomfortable pelvic pressure and backache. And, as your bladder becomes your baby’s new pillow, you’ll probably be making more frequent trips to the bathroom—and you might even have some leakage when you laugh or cough! Doing Kegel exercises might help prevent this kind of leakage.

(Narrator) If you’re up at night watching the numbers change on your clock, avoid having caffeine and exercising late in the day.

(Jasmine) I have to toss and turn sometimes for five to ten minutes just trying to find the right position; putting pillows into my legs, stuffing the blankets by my stomach and stuff like that.

(Narrator) Try to relax yourself before bedtime by listening to music, doing some relaxation exercises, or taking a warm bath. To get comfortable, try lying on your side, and place a pillow between your knees and one under your belly. Or, use a whole-body pillow.

(Narrator) Once you do fall asleep, one thing that can wake you up is getting a bad leg cramp, which is common in the last half of pregnancy. If this happens, straighten your leg and bend your foot toward you.

(Krislen ) My feet throb by the end of the day, ‘cause you’re on them all day, carrying the weight, and, uhm.. with the heat, that, uh.. means you’re pretty swollen by-- by the time night rolls around.

(Krislen, nat snd) Hey Ty, can I have some water please?

(Narrator) If you experience swelling, put your feet up throughout the day, and elevate them higher than your heart for about a half hour when you can. This can also help if you have varicose veins. In addition, drink more water and juice to help flush extra fluid out of your system. While almost all women experience some swelling, it can be associated with high blood pressure, so be sure to talk to your caregiver when you are experiencing it.

(Narrator) During your third trimester, and even earlier, you might feel Braxton-Hicks contractions, which is your uterus tightening and releasing to warm itself up for labor. Breathe through the contractions if they’re uncomfortable. You can also empty your bladder, drink a big glass of water, and lie down to try and make them subside.

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Take Note

Ease Common Discomfortslearn how

Take Note

Ease Common Discomforts


Definition: Pain or discomfort in the back

Cause: Strain on the back from the extra weight being carried; awkward postures can lead to further discomfort

How to help:

  • Use good posture and body mechanics
  • Do back stretches and strengthening exercises
  • Wear an abdominal support garment
  • Apply warm or cold compresses to the sore area
  • Sleep on a firm mattress on your side, and tuck a pillow between your legs
  • Get a prenatal massage

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