Pregnancy: Discomforts of the Third Trimester

Updated on April 20, 2016

The third trimester of pregnancy is a whole new ball game in pregnant. There are some similarities to the first and second trimester, though most of them are amplified in comparison. In this hub, I want to go over some of the less talked about discomforts and symptoms.

We've all heard of the regulars; frequent peeing, heartburn, nausea, weight gain, swelling, mood swings, ect, ect... Though as just about every woman finds out, there are some other very common symptoms and discomforts that are not talked about very often.

Leg Cramps

I'm not just talking about the discomforts of restless leg syndrome. I'm talking about wake you up at any time of the night, catch you any time of day, excruciating leg cramps that make your blood curdle. Some confuse them with the passing of a blood clot, while others feel like a snake has just crawled under their skin and is tearing it apart.

These type of leg cramps and spasms are not discussed as often as they should be. They don't signal any heightened danger, but they can make you scream bloody murder until they stop and they can hit at any time. These leg cramps are also a signal from your body that means you are low on potassium and a bit dehydrated. So even though they aren't life threatening to you or baby, it's good to be aware of them.

Excessive Hunger

Even without the potential for gestational diabetes and other complications that can increase your hunger, you are still likely to suffer through the discomfort of being constantly hungry. Not just in a dull hunger that always sit there, but a hunger that feels like you haven't eaten in weeks, even if you just had a feast. This excessive hunger is a sign that you aren't getting a nutrient or vitamin that your body needs, but it can be hard to pinpoint just what it is that your body needs. Mostly because we often mistake a craving for a cheeseburger as a need for a cheeseburger, when really, we need more iron. Or a craving for something chocolatey as a need for more magnesium.

Even if you manage to figure out what your body needs, because you are preparing for the birth of your baby, your body is constantly changing it's needs based on what you are doing and the baby is doing. So you might still feel hungry all the time, even if you get it all right.

Body Temperature Malfunctions

You're too cold when you sit up, too hot when you lay down. You feel really hot, but your skin is cold to the touch. You sweat when your cold or shiver when you're too hot. If you wear clothes you feel like you'll spontaneously combust, but not wearing anything makes you feel like you're in an ice box. These are just some of the crazy ways your body temperature can go haywire when you're in your third trimester of pregnancy.

It can get so bad that it disturbs your sleep, makes you wonder if you have a fever or makes you wonder if you're just plain crazy. Take heart though, because all this craziness will go away soon after baby is born. It happens because a few of your pregnancy hormones are effecting a part of your hypothalamus that control body temperature. Your womanly body is super amazing, but it can't always do everything all the time, so there are some regular functions in your body that won't work as well as they should. This often makes a woman grateful for certain normal body functions she would otherwise take for granted.

Pelvic Pains

Round ligament pain is no fun, but your round ligaments aren't the only muscles in your pelvic region that are being stretched, pulled and kicked. You will probably also notice clitoral pains, vaginal pains, hip pain, abdominal muscle pain or even pains in your butt. They might strike at any time, or just be there constantly through your third trimester. Massage is often helpful, though it is all too common for many women to just have to get used to it.


You've read through a novel, walked around the neighborhood, take hot baths, bought new sheets, stared at the wall, meditated, drank hot milk, ate a hot meal. Yet nothing seems to be working because you're still wide awake...

Pregnancy insomnia is very common in the third trimester. Sometimes it comes about because you can't get comfortable when you try to sleep, have body temperature issues, are anxious or sometimes it just happens and can't be explained. It's a tough part of the third tri, because not sleeping can make you even more anxious, even if there isn't anything wrong with you. It's one of those issues you just have to try to calmly deal with, because taking sleep aides is not a good option. Remember though, if you're body isn't knocking you out, it might just be a time when you don't need sleep, even if you feel exhausted.

Sense of Impending Doom....

The sense of impending doom can varying for each woman as she nears the birth of the baby, though some of the most common anxieties are:

*Feeling like something is going to fall out (mucus plug, baby, ect..)

*Feeling like you're going to go into labor with no warning signs

*Feeling like you're water is going to break

*Feeling like you're going to be sick

*Feeling like you're going to have contractions

*Worrying that something might be wrong with the baby

*Worrying that you might have the baby too early or too late

The sense of impending doom is a crazy anxiety that plague many women in the third trimester, especially since there is no way of knowing how literal your intuition is at the moment. The impending doom sense comes from your bodies natural fight or flight drive, that is urging you to prepare for the baby. When you feel it, it could mean that labor is very near or it could mean nothing in particular (other than your body is doing what it needs).

When in doubt, always go and get checked out. It's kind of a 50/50 game when this sense.

Insulin Resistance

Even if your blood sugar is working well enough to pass a glucose tolerance test, that doesn't mean you won't have blood sugar problems. This is because your pregnancy hormones often work in conflict to your insulin production, which can overwork your pancreas. Even if you are in safe limits, having higher insulin resistance can contribute to a feeling like you need to eat constant carbs and a feeling of constantly being tired. This is because your body isn't able to make use of the carbohydrates coming into your body, and it signals you to get more even if you have plenty.

Heavy Pulse

This symptom is often mistaken for a racing pulse, because we often don't even notice our pulse unless it is racing. Though a heavy pulse is often your normal pulse, but you can feel it and hear it very strongly. This happens because your body is producing 50% more blood than it normally would and this can create a heavier than normal pulse. Don't worry though, unless you're pulse is racing, this is nothing unusual in the third trimester.

Cervical Pains

At any moment you might find yourself in the midst of what many women describe as an electrical shock in the cervix. It isn't usually extremely painful, but painful enough that it can stop you in your tracks. This is often a sign that your cervix is dialating, though don't get jumpy, because even though it may have felt like a big shock, that doesn't mean have dialated much.

You might also notice a lot of pressure in that area which can create aches and pains as well. This is very common, even though it's pretty uncommon as a listed symptom of the third trimester. Though it's a good symptom to be aware of, because a lot of women rush to the hospital when they feel these pains and pressure. Though you do need to be vigilant for any extreme pressure or pain, don't overreact to it either.


You lost your car keys, you can't find your sunglasses (even though they're on your head), you forgot about your regular bill pay and over drafted your bank account, you were late for all your regular appoints even though you planned for them in advance.

Being forgetful is almost an understatement for many women going through the third tri of their pregnancy. Some don't get hit very hard, but for others it can seem complicated to remember passwords, phone numbers and regular responsibilities. If you've been hit hard by what is commonly known as "momnesia", make sure to take plenty of time to rest. There's no reason beating yourself up over what you can't keep track of.

Bruised Ribs

As baby grows stronger and turns into their birthing position, he or she starts to run out of room inside you. Which means there are only so many places their feet can go, and it's all to often that a kick or constant push of the feet or legs ends up in your rib cage. Your baby may not be the strongest creature at this time, but they have you in a vulnerable position, and it's fairly common for them to bruise a few of your ribs before they make their appearance into the world.

The best you go do if you find yourself as one of the many with bruised ribs, is to get extra calcium and keep cold drinks on hand to help get baby to move away from your ribs a bit.


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    • profile image

      JOYCE 3 months ago

      Thanks much for the great information.Had leg cramps last night and panicked a lot.I also got some pain on my right near the rib-cage.The information given calms me a bit.Thanks.

    • profile image

      Kelly, Philadelphia 2 years ago

      This definitely calmed my anxiety. I am in my third trimester. Thank you for the post.

    • BizGenGirl profile image

      Bema Self 5 years ago from Seattle

      I'm just glad it helped a bit. I know when I was pregnant and writing this, it was nice to know that these were normal symptoms and I wasn't just going crazy.

      Let me know if there's any other way I can help ya get more comfortable =)

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Just knowing what some of the symptoms are helps the anxiety a bit, lots of fluids and extra bed rest and a heating pad for the aching back I guess works best. Great hub, thanks.