A pregnancy is a miraculous event—it is amazing how microscopic cells can grow and multiply into a new life. But the third trimester of pregnancy can be very challenging and uncomfortable for a woman as her due date approaches. The following tips can be used to help make the final weeks of pregnancy more manageable:

It can be very difficult for a woman to sleep throughout pregnancy, with the greatest problems arising in the third trimester. Pregnant women should not sleep on their backs, as the weight of the uterus can put pressure on veins and blood vessels and cut off blood supply to the uterus and fetus. In addition, most women do not feel comfortable lying on their backs late in pregnancy. It is recommended that pregnant women in the third trimester sleep on their side, preferably their left side. Using a full length body pillow that supports the stomach can be very helpful in making a pregnant women feel more comfortable while sleeping.

As the uterus and fetus grow during pregnancy the organs in the abdominal cavity are pushed up, which can lead to stomach acid entering the esophagus. Heart burn is a concern for most women during their third trimester, but antacids can keep the problem under control. If antacid tablets are not providing relief, a liquid antacid may work well as it coats the throat and neutralizes acid. Pregnant women with bad cases of heartburn should avoid spicy foods that can make the condition worse, and stick to eating foods that are somewhat bland and non-acidic.

During pregnancy, a woman’s body produces 50% more blood and body fluids to help support the growing fetus and soften a woman’s joints ahead of birth. This can lead to swelling (edema), especially during the third trimester. Swelling typically occurs in the hands, face, legs, and feet. While swelling cannot be completely eliminated, it can be controlled by drinking a lot of water to help flush away excess fluids, reducing salt intake, and avoiding being outdoors during hot weather. Swelling of the feet and calves can be helped by wearing compression stockings, resting with the feet elevated, and avoiding spending numerous hours standing up. Swelling during the third trimester should be gradual—extreme swelling in a short amount of time should be monitored by a woman’s doctor, as it can be a sign of preecamplsia which is dangerous for both the mother and the baby.

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and provides motor function and sensation to the lower body. Sciatica, which is strong nerve pain that runs from the top of the thighs down the legs, is a problem for many women in their third trimester because the weight of the uterus and the baby put pressure on the sciatic nerve. This condition can be very uncomfortable and painful; a woman can alleviate some of the pain by lying on her side, staying off her feet for long periods of time, and not lifting heavy objects. Swimming may also help relieve the pressure on the nerve in order to reduce pain.

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Author's Bio: 

Brian Wu graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Neurobiology. Currently, he holds a PhD and is an MD candidate (KSOM, USC) in integrative biology and disease. He is also an experienced writer and editor for many prestigious web pages. Brian values the ability of all ages to learn from the power of stories. His mission is to write about health conditions, educational topics and life situations in an entertaining way in order to help children understand their own life conditions and daily circumstances.