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Dossier: Pregnancy

Pregnancy-related complaints: 3rd trimester

The last trimester of your pregnancy restricts your movement even further and demands patience. The following tips and tricks offer relief in the final third of your pregnancy.

Heavy legs and swollen feet

In the final trimester of pregnancy, mainly in the evening or in hot weather, many mums-to-be suffer from swollen legs and feet. This is caused by water retention. This is annoying, but in most cases harmless, provided the swelling has subsided the next morning and your blood pressure is normal. If the swelling is severe and lasts for several days at a time, consult your doctor.

Tips for relief: Drink plenty of water and eat a lot of protein. Walking and doing moderate exercise can help as well as gently massaging your feet and legs, putting your feet up and wearing support stockings.

Heartburn

Heartburn is one of the most common pregnancy-related complaints. The unpleasant burning in the stomach region and oesophagus occurs as stomach acid flows back into the oesophagus. This is caused by the pregnancy hormone progesterone, which relaxes the muscles and means that the stomach is no longer closed off properly. This is exacerbated by the growing uterus pressing ever more strongly on the stomach.

Tips for relief: Avoid very spicy food, coffee, black tea and acidic drinks. Eat smaller portions more often during the day instead of fewer heavy meals. A glass of milk can also help.

Sleeplessness

In the final trimester it is increasingly difficult to find a comfortable position when you’re lying down. And your baby is mainly active during the night. To keep the blood circulating, you should lie on your side rather than your back.

Tips for relief: Establish a routine for going to bed. A warm bath, a glass of milk, a good book or calming music can help you relax. A few drops of lavender oil on your pillow can also help.

Back pain and pelvic pain

More than half of pregnant women complain of back problems. This is because the pregnancy hormones loosen the muscles and ligaments, while your centre of gravity is shifted forwards by your baby bump, making your spine curve. As expectant mums try to correct their posture, their muscles tense. The pelvic pain is caused by the ligaments stretching and your baby pressing down on your abdomen and pelvic joints.

Tips for relief: Strengthen your back muscles, for example during antenatal exercise classes or pregnancy yoga. Swimming helps relax the muscles.

Haemorrhoids

Painful and itchy haemorrhoids are a common complaint during pregnancy, particularly in the final trimester. One of the causes of haemorrhoids is your unborn child pressing on the vessels in the pelvic area. Constipation, another common pregnancy complaint, also contributes to this.

Tips for relief: Eat fibre-rich food, drink plenty of water and get regular exercise. This regulates your digestion. A sitz bath with lukewarm chamomile tea relieves acute complaints.

Braxton Hicks contractions and hard stomach

In the final weeks of pregnancy, your bump will harden from time to time. These contractions are normal as your body prepares for the birth. preliminary contractions can occur from the 37th week of pregnancy.

Tips for relief: You’ll learn how to breathe through contractions in your antenatal course.