We often discuss the early symptoms of being pregnant; since the novelty of being pregnant is so exciting and women look for those early signs with some anticipation.
Perhaps less is said and written about the later symptoms of being pregnant, which can be as interesting to look out for, as an indicator that all is progressing well with the pregnancy.
Knowing about the later symptoms of being pregnant will also reassure the pregnant woman that she is not alone in her experiences; that women the world over undergo much the same.
As a pregnancy progresses to the third and final trimester, the following symptoms of being pregnant may manifest themselves:
Shortness of breath: It isn’t just the fact that the baby is growing in size and putting pressure on the diaphragm thereby affecting breathing.
It is also the fact that the heart has grown in size and is having to work harder than ever before to provide nourishment for the entire body as well as the baby.
In the final stages of the pregnancy, when the baby’s head settles down into the pelvis in preparation of the birth, what is known as lightening, women may experience some relief from this symptom.
Backaches: As the belly grows larger along with the baby, and the woman continues to put on weight, her center of gravity changes and she will find that backaches become apparent.
It is important to maintain a good posture while sitting and avoid standing for too long as this will exacerbate this symptom of being pregnant. Use chairs with good back support, get a massage and use a heating pad or icepack to relieve the pain.
While high heeled shoes are a bad idea, even completely flat shoes may not be very comfortable. Low heeled shoes with good support may be best at this time.
Braxton Hicks contractions: These are practice contractions that are a preparation for actual labor. Although these start from near the beginning of a pregnancy, they make themselves felt fully only towards the third trimester. Typically weak contractions that come and go will be felt, and are nothing to worry about in most cases.
Fetal movement: During the third trimester, one of the most thrilling symptoms of being pregnant is feeling, even seeing the baby move.
While earlier the baby’s movement could be felt only by the mother, it can now be felt by anyone placing their hand on the belly. The tummy is even seen to undulate as the baby moves its limbs and changes position.
Towards the end of the pregnancy, a woman may see a lessening of this activity as the baby has less space to move about and stretch. No movement at all however may be a cause for concern and should be reported.
Breast changes: In preparation for breast feeding the breast gets bigger, and in many cases may gain as much as two pounds. They may also start leaking colostrums, a yellowish discharge that is so important for a newborn to consume.