By the time your third trimester rolls around, you feel like you’ve finally gotten this whole pregnancy thing down. You’ve experienced the morning sickness, the sleepless nights trying to get comfortable with your bulging bump, and your impressively large boobs. But just when you think that the next big surprise won’t come until your water breaks, the third trimester sets in with new symptoms you typically wouldn’t associate with pregnancy. From the shape of your eyeballs changing and the pitch of your voice dropping to potentially getting carpal tunnel and varicose veins thanks to compressed nerves, the third trimester isn’t just baby showers and nursery decorating.
Check out these 15 unexpected symptoms that moms experience during their last weeks before baby.
1. Veins Start Bulging
It’s common for pregnant women to experience varicose veins and hemorrhoids, especially during their third trimester. This is because of a combination of factors, including the increased weight that your growing uterus puts on the veins between your legs and your heart, which slows down the blood circulation. Pregnancy hormones can also relax the walls of veins, which can lead to swelling, and an increase in fluid retention also plays a role.
2. Aching Pelvic Pain
As your uterus and pelvis begin to expand in preparation for delivery, your intrauterine ligaments begin to stretch. This process, which can be excruciating for some, is caused by a hormone called relaxin that relaxes the ligaments surrounding your pelvis.
3. Your Belly Gets a Lot Bigger — Fast
When you consider all of the fluids you’re retaining, the increase in blood volume, the growth in your breasts, the placenta, and the amniotic fluid, it’s no surprise that many women can easily gain between a half a pound to a pound during each week throughout their last trimester.
4. Vivid Dreams Begin
Many mamas-to-be experience intense dreams as they approach their due date. It’s believed that pregnancy hormones may cause these crazy dreams during the last trimester of pregnancy.
5. Your Levels of Calcium Drop
Women have less serum calcium in their body during their third trimester than they did during their first. At this time, a developing baby is transforming cartilage into bone and getting all of his or her calcium from mom.
6. The Waddle Sets In
Many women begin waddling by 36 weeks but not because of the sheer size of their bumps. During this time, the baby is dropping in mom’s pelvis in preparation for birth. This repositioning can make it harder for mom to walk without the waddle.
7. Increased Clumsiness
When a variety of pregnancy symptoms collide during the third trimester, it can make the mom-to-be much more clumsy. From a big belly messing with your balance to surging hormones playing with your mind, it’s hard to keep it all together during the last months and weeks before the baby is born.
8. Even More Breast Growth
Just when you think it isn’t possible for your breasts to get any larger, they continue you to surprise you. This rapid increase of breast tissue during the third trimester adds to the two pounds of weight that many women experience by the end of pregnancy.
9. Lack of Bladder Control
The extra weight that your pelvis is trying to support makes incontinence a likely experience during the end of pregnancy. Not only does gravity put more pressure on your bladder thanks to the weight of your baby and the amniotic sac, but the stretching and weakening of your perineal muscles can also lead to some unpleasant accidents.
10. Leaky Breasts Begin
Not only are your breasts rapidly growing during this stage, but they are also getting ready to feed the baby once he or she is born. Some moms-to-be experience leaks of yellowish liquid, called colostrum, which is the first substance your baby will nurse after birth.
11. The Pitch of Your Voice Changes
Pregnant ladies shouldn’t be alarmed if they notice a change in their voice during the third trimester. Thanks to increased fluids and mild swelling of the vocal folds, some women experience a slightly lower voice for the remainder of their pregnancies.
12. Eyes Change Shape
Your belly isn’t the only thing changing shape — so are your eyeballs! Tiny factors, like water retention causing the thickness of your cornea to increase as well as hormones, can cause blurred vision that is typically temporary.
13. Bring on the Heartburn
The joys of digestive troubles aren’t reserved for the first trimester of pregnancy. As the due date gets closer, a growing uterus pushes your intestines and stomach up to make room. With the discomfort from their organs being in a different position, some women lose their appetite and even a few pounds during the last weeks.
14. Nerve Problems
The pressure that a growing uterus puts on nerves can also cause numbness and tingling in limbs. Luckily, these symptoms typically resolve after the baby is born.
15. Feeling Short of Breath
Women intake 20 percent more oxygen during this stage as they work harder to breathe. Not only is the uterus growing upward, which gives lungs less room to expand, but your little one is also metabolizing more from you as well.