Your third trimester of pregnancy can be fraught with different symptoms. The baby is completing its pre-pregnancy growth; your body is getting ready for labor. Though there are normal things for your body to do during these last few months of gestation, there are symptoms that warrant attention by medical professionals. Understanding what the abnormal symptoms are during late pregnancy will help you know when to call the doctor.
Bleeding that resembles a period during the final three months of pregnancy should never be ignored. Placental abruption typically occurs past the 20th week of pregnancy and can cause period-like bleeding. It happens when the placenta prematurely separates from the uterus. Placental abruption happens in approximately 1 percent of all pregnancies, according to Military Obstetrics & Gynecology. Because a complete placenta abruption can be fatal to both mother and fetus, immediate medical attention should be sought any time you experience bleeding that resembles a period during your final trimester of pregnancy, according to the Military & Gynecology website.
Other, less serious causes of vaginal bleeding in late pregnancy include normal spotting after sex and after internal exams. In this case, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
Contractions in late pregnancy can signal a premature delivery. According to the Dr. Spock website, contractions feel as if the baby is curling up into a ball in your stomach. They can also resemble a tightening of your stomach or menstrual cramps.
Sometimes, contractions during the third trimester are actually Braxton-Hicks, which are false contractions. Braxton-Hicks is your body’s way of preparing for labor. If the contractions are real, however, you could be going into premature labor, and medical attention should be sought. Contractions that come prior to 36 weeks of pregnancy and occur more than six times an hour–even at rest–need immediate medical attention, according to the Dr. Spock website.
Vaginal discharge during your third trimester can signal an infection. Normal vaginal discharge during pregnancy should not have any odor and should be liquid in consistency and white in color. If you have a discharge that is different, you should call your doctor for an appointment to rule out infection or your water breaking, according to the Dr. Spock website.
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