Common 3rd Trimester Symptoms

WARNING: This post is not being written by the doctor. BUT, I am pulling from my current, personal experience AND the valuable information actually written by Dr. Rupe in our book. So read with confidence that there are accuracies (infused with a little personal story) here.

Many expectant moms consider entry into their 3rd trimester something to celebrate. Basically 6 months down, 3 to go. The reality of seeing baby in the flesh is so close. It truly is something to celebrate but for many (probably more for 2nd and 3rd time moms-to-be) there is some dread involved. . .because those moms know what’s coming.

3rd trimester symptoms.

Still, it’s not a terrible thing to be a little in the dark heading into the home stretch. Speaking of stretching. . .hang on a sec while I change positions. These leg cramps are killing me.

OK, that’s better. Now where was I? Oh, 3rd trimester symptoms. Actually, many 1st time moms-to-be will not experience the worst of these inconveniences. I know personally, I felt amazing during the last few months of my pregnancy. Although now that I am staring my last 3 months in the face for baby #2, I can honestly say I agree with my girlfriends – subsequent pregnancies are harder. It’s important to remember though that every pregnant woman is different. You may feel wonderful for every day of every pregnancy you have. You may feel great for one pregnancy and miserable the next. The important thing is to be familiar with what you may experience and be ready to do what you can to relieve your symptoms. Eating right and exercising throughout your entire pregnancy will make a huge difference right through delivery.

Give me a minute while I find my Tums, will ya? This heartburn is killing me. Be right back.

OK, much better. Where was I again? Right. Late pregnancy symptoms.

Our book covers symptoms all throughout pregnancy in detail and Dr. Rupe gives some great, simple advice on how to manage them. The more I talk to other moms-to-be the more it seems a few symptoms seem to really dominate the last few months of pregnancy.

Leg Cramps  //  Heartburn  //  Frequent Urination

Ah, man. Just typing the work urination made me have to pee. Hang on another minute while I take another trip to the loo.

OK, seriously that should be the last interruption.

There are probably several more prominent 3rd trimester symptoms but for the sake of your precious time and due to the fact that I’m obviously experiencing these symptoms right now, I will focus on those mentioned above.

Leg Cramps - This one came on a lot sooner for me in my 2nd pregnancy. Leg cramps can occur at any time during the day (especially if you are on your feet for long periods of time) but seem to plague most moms-to-be while they are trying to get their precious sleep. As if it weren’t hard enough to find a comfortable position, it’s miserable to be awakened by a severe charley horse at an ungodly hour. One night I woke up with one and after it passed, another one came and then another. I had to wake up my husband to rub my calf until the pain stopped. Leg cramps may come in the form of a charley horse (which usually follows a quick movement of the leg) or you may experience an aching pain in the hips or legs, even while lying still. Dr. Rupe suggested that I eat a banana before bed (sometime in the evening) as the potassium helps relieve this type of cramping. This simple remedy worked like a charm. I’ve not awakened in the night with a cramp in a couple of weeks.

Heartburn - Yet another symptom that entered the picture for me much earlier this time around. But heartburn always seems to intensify as pregnancy progresses. Simply explained (by Dr. Rupe in the book): your body releases high levels of the hormone progesterone during pregnancy. This brings a relaxing effect to the body and with that to the valve between your stomach and esophagus. This lets the acid in your stomach pass into the sensitive lower esophagus, causing the burning sensation in your chest. Heartburn is exacerbated by the growing uterus pushing up against the stomach. Awesome! The best ways to manage or even avoid heartburn are:

  1. Avoid eating up to 2 hours before bedtime.
  2. Cut back on fatty and fried foods.
  3. Stay upright after eating.
  4. If these tricks don’t work, it is safe to take chewable calcium carbonate (Tums, Rolaids) or even Pepcid if needed.

Tums are my best friend right now. I like the Smoothie kind. Yum.

Frequent Urination - You probably became acquainted with this friendly symptom during your 1st trimester. Surprise. He’s back! Did you miss him? 1st trimester frequent urination is caused by hormonal changes. While those changes may still contribute to it’s 3rd trimester return, later in your pregnancy it’s more about your growing baby pushing on your bladder. The frustrating thing about this symptom is that drinking water (which is vital throughout your pregnancy) does not help in the matter. There really is nothing you can do to avoid this symptom. The key is to manage it. Make sure you truly empty your bladder each time you visit the little girls room (gosh, sounds like something I just said to my 3 year old while potty training last week). Although peeing every 5-10 minutes is annoying for me throughout the day, it’s not as invasive as having to go every two hours during the night. To help with this inconvenience, my husband and I switched sides of the bed (his side is closer to the bathroom) during the last trimester of my 1st pregnancy. Last night after I had gotten up twice before 1am he asked, “Is it time to switch sides?” Almost!

I wish all of you mommies-to-be that are in or are entering your 3rd trimester lots of relief and comfort as you encounter these possible inconveniences. Just remember that you are that much closer to seeing the life that makes this all worth it. The frustration of peeing constantly and enduring heartburn will fade once you hold that sweet baby in your arms.

We’d love to hear from current moms-to-be and even you mommies that are past pregnancy out there on what symptoms you experienced most in your 3rd trimester and how you managed them.

Heading back to the bathroom,


About Jessica Wolstenholm

Jessica Wolstenholm is co-founder of Grace for Moms. She is passionate about writing words of grace for moms and moms-to-be. Co-author of The Pregnancy Companion and The Baby Companion books, she also co-leads a community about TTC, infertility, pregnancy and new motherhood on Facebook. Connect with Jessica on Google +


  1. Jess Chambers says:

    Well written Jess! I am at week 33 and feeling all of these things! Congrats on your book, your new sweet boy coming, getting to be a momma all day long :), and potty training too! You are a busy girl!

  2. Hey Jess. Thanks so much! How did I not know you were pregnant too? How fun! Do you know what you are having?

    Being home all day is great but hard at the same time. Some days I miss going to the office and interacting with adults.

    Would love to catch up soon!

  3. I had some SEVERE leg cramps with my first pregnancy… some were worse than my contractions. (Seriously.) Definitely my most painful pregnancy symptom. None yet with baby #2. My doc also said lots of water throughout the day as well as stretching before bed at night. Though stretching was often the last thing I felt like doing (just wanted to crash out) it really did help lessen the leg and toe cramps. And yes, I forgot about the Tums! (Maybe blocked it out of my memory?) I certainly had a dependency by the end of my first pregnancy. To say that pregnancy is both wonderful and stretching is a vast understatement! (Yes, silly pun intended:)

    By the way, I received your book in the mail this week and have already read a few chapters. Love it. Truly!! I’m trying to pace myself a little and not race through it. :) Thank you so much.

  4. I’m getting close to 7 months and the leg cramps have become unbearable. I guess its because my body went from a petite 120, to 150 what it seems like, overnight. The heartburn tends to pass if I eat a spoonful of mustard, although it intensifies for 5 minutes beforehand. The urination has been a problem all throughout, though I’ve never had an accident yet. I just can’t wait to see my little girl. (:

    • Jessica says:

      Hi Bria, So glad to have you here. Congrats on your little girl. I bet you can’t wait to meet her. So fun! I hope the next few months go smoothly for you and these symptoms get better or at least easier to bear. All the best to you as you welcome your little girl!

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