OB ABCs

Week 33

week_33While pregnancy is one of the most joyous and wondrous times in a woman’s life, it also has its fair share of challenges.

Around week 33, you may find that you waddle instead of walk and have a hard time getting into comfortable sleeping positions. Other discomforts many women experience include:

  • Heartburn
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Shortness of breath

Heartburn

Heartburn typically occurs during the third trimester because the uterus is expanding and tends to push the stomach out of its natural position. Pregnancy hormones also reduce the rate at which food is processed, which can contribute to indigestion. Feeling bloated or as if you have a burning sensation in your upper chest could be signs you might be experiencing heartburn with your pregnancy.

To help ward off heartburn, eat smaller meals throughout the day. Consuming less food more frequently may help the stomach digest easier and decrease bloating. Drink plenty of non-carbonated fluids and avoid foods that are fried, spicy or high in acidity, such as tomatoes, tomato-based sauces, and citrus fruits and juices.

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids affect up to 30 percent of pregnant women. Appearing in and around the rectum, hemorrhoids are caused by added pressure to the lower extremities. Symptoms can include itching, pain and bleeding. The extra weight carried during pregnancy may hinder circulation in the pelvic blood vessels and result in hemorrhoids.

If you are suffering from hemorrhoids, try taking a warm baking soda bath; using over-the-counter creams, baby wipes with aloe, refrigerated wipes, or cold cotton balls soaked in witch hazel; or applying baking soda paste directly onto the hemorrhoids to help reduce swelling and pain. Constipation is another culprit of hemorrhoids. Eat foods rich in fiber and drink plenty of water to reduce constipation.

Shortness of Breath

As your uterus continues to expand underneath your diaphragm, you may become easily winded performing normal activities.

To help relieve the extra pressure on your lungs, practice proper posture and utilize pillows to prop up your upper body when sitting, which also helps reduce heartburn. Aerobic exercise can also help if your physician has given you approval to work out in your third trimester.

TIPS

  • For optimal comfort, the best position for sleep during pregnancy is on your side—especially the left side. Lying on your left side increases the amount of blood and nutrients delivered to your baby. Place a pillow between your legs for added comfort and avoid sleeping on your back or stomach.
  • Many women still feel attractive during their third trimester. Sex during pregnancy is okay for most women up until their water breaks and labor begins.