What are the Third Trimester Changes in Mom?

Photo Credit: koadmunkee (george ruiz) from Flickr

The Third Trimester Changes are Physical and Emotional

The third trimester changes in mom are both physical and emotional. While the expectant mother may be excited that she will soon be meeting her baby, she may also begin experiencing new symptoms of pregnancy. While a growing abdomen and increased weight gain are a few of the most common changes in the third trimester, there are other symptoms the mother-to-be may experience.

Physical Changes

Women usually gain about 25 to 35 pounds by the end of their pregnancy. Some women not only experience a growing abdomen, but they also gain weight in other parts of their body, such as the breasts, face or legs. Weight gain is not only caused by the growing baby; it also includes amniotic fluid, increased blood volume and extra fat stores in the expectant mom’s body. As the mother’s body retains fluids, she may also experience swelling in the hands or feet. The mom-to-be may notice stretch marks on her stomach or legs, as well.  Some of the most surprising third trimester changes are hair growth and changes in skin color. The mom-to-be may notice hair and discolored patches of skin on her face. She may also notice a dark line forming on her stomach; this is normal and usually disappears a few months after delivery.  The mother-to-be may also notice that her breast begin leaking. This is colostrum, which is a premilk substance that is rich in antibodies for a newborn baby.


Some women will be startled when they first experience contractions in the third trimester; however, they are usually caused by Braxton Hicks contractions. Women may feel a tightening sensation that spreads across the abdomen. Some women do feel pain during the contraction; however, the pain should not become intense or increase in strength. The contractions will usually stop if a woman changes positions, rests or walks around.

Emotional Changes

As the delivery date draws near, many women go through emotional changes. They may feel scared, excited and overwhelmed all at once. Hormonal fluctuations and anxiety over the birth can cause the mother-to-be to experience many emotions. Many women find it helpful to attend birthing classes; seek support from their spouse, friends or family; discuss the birth with their doctor or midwife; and create a birth plan during this time.

Discomforts in the Third Trimester

As the mom-to-be’s abdomen grows and increased pressure is put on certain parts of her body, she may experience a few different discomforts. The mom-to-be may experience backaches or sciatic nerve pain (sharp pains that run from the lower back down the leg). She may also experience frequent urination from pressure on the bladder. She may have heartburn and shortness of breath from the placenta pushing on the stomach and lungs. Some women also notice an increase in vaginal discharge, which may be uncomfortable, but is usually normal. The mom-to-be may also experience hemorrhoids during the later stages of pregnancy.

Have your say