5 Third Trimester Side Effects Nobody Talks About (And Why You Shouldn’t Be Embarrassed)
The fact is, while it’s amazing, transformative, and a total game-changer, pregnancy isn’t always beautiful. And while you probably thought the first trimester was a rollercoaster ride (falling asleep at your grandma’s funeral and living on Preggie Pops, anyone?), you might be feeling pretty overwhelmed –– and yes, embarrassed –– by what these last 12 weeks are throwing at you.
Your friends and co-workers are almost certainly more than happy to commiserate about aching backs and frequent trips to the Ladies’ Room. But you’re probably discovering they’re not as cool opening up about flatulence, drips, and (wow!) a higher sex drive.
Are you alone? Far from it! Buckle up because today we get down and dirty with 5 totally embarrassing third trimester side effects. We’ll also tell you what to do about them…besides, of course, be totally thrilled about the cause.
1. Urinary Incontinence
When I was pregnant with my twin girls, my OB/gyn told me, “Later on in your pregnancy you may experience some leakage of urine when laughing or straining.”
What he should have told me was that I was also going to experience some leakage of urine while walking, sleeping, yelling at the cat, getting frisky(ish) with the SO and sitting around binge-watching Walking Dead back episodes.
Seriously. When doesn’t a 32-weeks-pregnant woman leak?
Yep: it’s all normal. While frequent urination during the first trimester is due to hormonal changes, by week 28, the reason is a lot more straightforward: you’re carrying a 3-pounds-and-growing human being directly in on top of your bladder.
While it’s often kept hush-hush, more than 60% of women report leakage at this time. Grab yourself some pantiliners if your leakage is light or thicker pads if things are a bit more, well...copious. (If things don’t get significantly better 12 weeks after you deliver, let your doctor know.)
If you knew we were going to bring this up, then you’ve discovered that the serious amping of progesterone during the third trimester causes even more of a gas boost (eew!) than it did at the beginning. (Yes, for some women, farting is a first sign. We kid you not.)
In fact, progesterone, which continues to rise throughout your pregnancy, increases some 30% over the average 14 toots a day.
The issue with belching and farting during the third trimester is that there’s less room for gas to hang out and then silently squeak by. Baby is pushing both downward and upward, so you’ll get more action from both ends in this regard.
Don’t worry. You’re pregnant. You’re cute, whether you feel it or not. People will forgive you. They may even laugh…and a few will probably say, “Hey, you know what? I’ve been there.”
3. Increased Sex Drive
Oh yeah...it’s a thing.
On the other hand, while you may think it’s embarrassing, we’ll bet your SO thinks it’s nirvana.
You may be asking yourself, “Why, at a time that I can’t look down and see my feet anymore, I’m farting up a storm, and my hair is just absolutely gross, am I feelin’ it more than I ever have before?”
Put this one down to hormones, too. Many women initially feel a boost in sex drive after the nauseated, exhausted, icky-won’t-behave-haired first trimester. But for a few lucky women, things serious amp during the last 12 weeks of pregnancy.
This is, according to experts, due to “increased vaginal lubrication and a hypersensitive clitoris due to extra genital blood flow.”
Wow...sexy. Our advice: go for it. Carefully. You’re both welcome.
Put this one down to progesterone, too. Some women experience a less responsive digestive system due to the “sleepy hormone” progesterone. It slows everything down. Everrrrrything.
Yes, that too.
The first and third trimesters are the most common times to experience constipation. Ask your OB/gyn how to combat this without using drugs. Medication should always be a last resort...even if you’re feeling more stuffed than a Thanksgiving turkey. A very very pregnant one.
5. Pregnancy Beard (and Belly)
If you just laughed out loud, well then...you were never me. I did have Pregnancy Beard and as a special bonus, its adorable cousin, Hairy Mom-Belly.
It’s actually extremely common for women to grow a darker line down the abdomen in the later stages of pregnancy. This excess of melanin has its own causes, but when you grow hair over it, suddenly it’s just not all that cute anymore. What’s happening?
During pregnancy, a large percentage of your hair enters its “resting” phase. This is the period of time that the hair stops growing but doesn’t fall out yet (the telogen phase). Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily happen exclusively on the top of the head. Excess hair can show up on your stomach, your underarms and yes, for some women, even on the face.
Luckily, personal razors are tiny, drug-free and do the trick during these last few glamorous weeks. Who’s the bearded mama? Not you! (High five.)
Just Remember: Yes...You Are Beautiful
While we’ve taken a lighthearted approach, please know that we get how you’re feeling. We who have been pregnant and not-always-lovin’-it realize how humiliating these issues can be.
Just remember you are beautiful. You’re growing a human. If that’s not an absolutely gorgeous superpower, what is?
Enjoy these last 12 weeks and let your body do what it wants to do to get the job done. Glamorous or not, it’s all necessary...and actually, we’re pretty sure you’re going to love the results.