Ah friends, we have been on quite a journey, have we not? It seems there is not a pregnancy symptom we have not covered.
In the previous posts of this series, we have talked about the fun, gross, weird, unpleasant, yet normal pregnancy symptoms of the first two trimesters of pregnancy. If this is your first time visiting this blog, welcome! I’d definitely recommend reading the other two posts first 🙂
- 8 Weird (But Common!) Second-trimester Pregnancy Symptoms
- 14 Strange First Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms
The third trimester is a tricky one. The honeymoon phase of the second trimester is fading away, and replaced with more unpleasant symptoms. But, unlike the first trimester where nobody knows you’re pregnant and the road ahead feels so. long., you’re rocking a baby bump and you’ll get to meet your little one soon!
I’m sure you are familiar with some of the well-known pregnancy symptoms all over movies and television. Every pregnant character seems to waddle around, complaining of how often they need to pee, and of being ‘uncomfortable’.
But what exactly is ‘uncomfortable’? What can you expect as someone who is not looks-six-months-pregnant-at-full-term Rachel Green from Friends? I am here to tell you!
You may know about this common pregnancy symptom, heartburn, or you may not. I know I certainly never had until my sister was pregnant, and even then I didn’t really understand the extent of it.
Heartburn during pregnancy feels like fire in your throat. It can be so bad that it will wake you up in the middle of the night, forcing you to chew on some tums while half-asleep. It happens with pretty much any food you eat.
There is an old wives tale that says heartburn during pregnancy means that you will have a baby with a full head of hair. So far, this tale has proven true in every single pregnant woman I’ve known. So, look forward to your hairy baby!
I wrote about this symptom in the second-trimester post as well, but it will likely ramp up in the third trimester or begin if you haven’t experienced it already.
In the middle of the night, you may be awakened by a terrible cramp in your calf. The best thing to do is to force yourself to relax, massage your calf, and flex your toes by stretching them out as wide as possible. Walk around if you can!
I’m not really sure if there is a remedy to this issue, besides staying hydrated. Maybe eat more bananas or mustard? Even so, don’t be alarmed if you experience a charlie horse in the middle of the night. It’s painful, but totally normal.
Sadly, at a time where everyone is telling you to get as much sleep as possible while you still can, it seems like all pregnancy symptoms are an attack on sleep.
Besides the heartburn and charlie horses, you may also experience insomnia.
This may look like being unable to fall asleep because you can’t stop going over your mental to-do list. Or, you may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall asleep… because of your mental to-do list.
Falling asleep can be difficult in general because you can’t get comfortable with your huge belly, and you are no longer allowed to sleep on your back, and you are told to sleep on your left side. Never before have you had so many restrictions on sleep!
As a back sleeper, I found this U-shaped pregnancy pillow incredibly helpful at keeping me on my side. If you are a side sleeper that needs help getting comfortable with the weight of your belly, I know many women who love this C-shaped pregnancy pillow. Just apologize to your husband – these things take up the whole bed.
Pressure… Down there
As you near the very end of your pregnancy, your baby will, in most cases, descend downward into your uterus. This is your body’s way of getting your baby ready to exit into the world.
Because you now have a large object weighing as much as a sack of flour in your pelvis (which your pelvis is not used to), you will feel downward pressure. This is one of the reasons why pregnant women are often seen waddling, or are uncomfortable in one position for too long.
An exercise ball like this one can help! Bouncing and doing figure-eight motions will soothe the pressure. As a bonus, these movements also help open the pelvis for birth, and you can use the ball to help with contractions during labor.
Swelling and feet growing in size
Because of all the extra blood and fluid circulating in your body, pregnant women often suffer from swollen feet. For that matter, you may suffer from swollen everything. Take your wedding band off before it’s too late!
What fascinates me, however, and I think is one of the strangest pregnancy symptoms, is that your feet may actually increase in size. As in, become longer. As in, you will need all new shoes. If your shoes seem tighter, it isn’t your imagination.
Shortness of breath
Your baby and uterus are growing, and your internal organs are running out of space. This is not just limited to your bladder and bowels; your diaphragm and lungs are also running out of room to expand! You should still be able to breathe, but this is why you will probably find yourself getting out of breath more easily.
If you are one of the people that continues to do CrossFit or run marathons in their third trimester of pregnancy, please comment and tell me how you deal with this issue!
I should also note that if you are a singer, you may be particularly bothered by this pregnancy symptom. Your voice will still sound lovely, but you may have to cut notes off sooner, or take breaths more often than you did before. Or, you may simply need to catch your breath once the song is over.
Numbness is a pregnancy symptom that I have never heard of before, and was shocked when I found this in my research for this post. I think this definitely qualifies as strange.
Because your blood volume is increased, nerves in your arms and legs may be compressed, leading to numbness in your hands and feet. If this is severe or comes on suddenly, tell your doctor. But, surprisingly, it is normal to feel like you have carpal tunnel in the third trimester.
I feel like I saved the best for last.
Pregnancy brain is a very real thing. For example, my sister couldn’t remember her address. Or I couldn’t remember which toothbrush was mine for a while.
When your spouse/friends/family start to make fun of your new spaciness, you can come back at them with this lovely fact: The volume of grey matter in your brain is reduced during pregnancy, and can stay this way for up to two years after birth. (Source and Source.) Your brain composition literally changes.
I should now say that the researchers who discovered these changes in brain structure believe that the decreased grey matter may help you care for your newborn baby. And, that this is not linked to memory or intelligence. They say that the forgetfulness of pregnancy is not directly linked to the grey matter.
But, hey, your friends/family/spouse don’t need to know all of these details. You, however, can rest assured that pregnancy brain is not in your head!
Leave a comment with your strangest pregnancy symptom!
I’m sure I have missed something – as I’m drawing on my own experiences and google for this post! But, I know of all the moms out there, you’ve experienced a totally weird pregnancy symptom that WebMD doesn’t list on their site! Leave a comment and tell me about it.
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