You’re so close to the finish line and you want to make sure your health is in order when you cross it.
In the third trimester, many pregnancy symptoms dissipate and are replaced by new ones. So how do you know which danger signs of pregnancy in the third trimester to look out for?
There’s a few signs that something could be wrong and that you should seek medical attention ASAP.
Keep reading to learn the third-trimester symptoms not to ignore.
7 Danger Signs of Pregnancy in Third Trimester
Contact your doctor if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
Sudden Decrease in Baby Movement
When it comes to your baby’s health, a decrease in movement is one of the major danger signs of pregnancy in the third trimester.
According to American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you should start counting kicks/baby movement at week 28. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, starting at 26 weeks is recommended. You can use the BabyDoppler app to record fetal movement.
After keeping track for some time, you’ll begin to learn what’s normal for your baby. While movement may increase or decrease, a sharp decline or stop is one of the most important third trimester symptoms not to ignore. Visit the emergency immediately if there’s a sudden change.
Another of the danger signs of pregnancy in the third trimester is bleeding. One in 10 women experiences bleeding in the last trimester. However, it isn’t always a sign something is wrong, so try not to panic.
For example, later in pregnancy, you may have thick discharge with streaks of blood that may appear bright red, pink, or dark brown. This is called “bloody show” and is normal. It’s a signal that your uterus is softening, thinning, and dilating, causing blood vessels to bleed. Bloody show happens within hours or days before labor starts, so it can be alarming if you aren’t sure what it is.
Another typically unserious cause of bleeding is sex. The friction from sex may irritate your vagina, causing light spotting. The same can happen from vaginal exams that cause discomfort. Keep in mind, the blood in both cases should be light.
Although the cause of your bleeding may be normal, unless you’re a medical professional, it can be hard to tell. You should contact your doctor about any bleeding in the third trimester. Since it can indicate serious problems, it’s always better to be safe.
Bleeding is one of the major danger signs of pregnancy in the third trimester because it can be caused by minor to life-threatening problems. Those include:
- Diseases or infections. If you have an infection or disease involving the vagina or cervix, it needs to be professionally treated. Infections could include anything from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to bacterial vaginosis (BV).
- Cervical polyps or uterine fibroids. Cervical polyps may not cause any symptoms. If they do, they can cause bleeding, premature labor, infection, and more. Most people with fibroids have normal pregnancies, but it needs to be monitored by your doctor because there’s possible challenges.
- Placenta previa. Placenta previa happens when the placenta is located so low that it covers part or all of the cervix opening. Your doctor needs to monitor the bleeding since it can lead to stillbirth and hemorrhage during labor.
- Placenta abruption. Placenta abruption happens when your placenta separates from the uterus inner wall, which can create life-threatening complications for mom and baby. The main symptom is vaginal bleeding.
Severe pain is a danger sign of pregnancy in the third trimester and all trimesters. While it’s okay to feel discomfort and aches along the way, it’s never normal to be in severe pain.
Braxton-Hicks contractions are expected nearing the end of pregnancy but should feel like cramping, similar to a period. Although they grow in intensity, if you’re experiencing pain, you should visit the emergency room immediately.
Another cause of short-lasting, sudden, sharp pains could be “lightning crotch.” This happens during the last weeks of pregnancy when your baby drops, has stronger kicks or when your pubic bones separate in preparation for labor.
There’s normal causes for pain, but if you’re experiencing intense pain or pain that doesn’t let up, visit the emergency room. Pain can be one of the worrisome danger signs of pregnancy in the third trimester. Some serious causes include:
- Uterine fibroids. While uterine fibroids may bleed in the first and second trimesters, in the third trimester, they can cause cramping or severe pain.
- Placenta previa. Sometimes people with placenta previa only experience bleeding. For others, it’s accompanied by mild to severe pain
- Although high blood pressure is the telltale sign of preeclampsia, in severe cases, it can cause pain in the upper right part of the abdomen. Some people also experience intense headaches.
- Bladder infection
- Nerve problems
When you’re expecting, having a fever is a cause for concern. Since it can indicate a serious infection, it’s one of the best danger signs of pregnancy in the third trimester to watch out for.
The infection could be as simple as the common cold. However, it could indicate more serious problems that require medical attention, like:
- Respiratory infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Kidney infections
- Genital infections
- Food poisoning
A fever of 100.4F and above should always be reported to your doctor. They can help you determine the cause of the fever and minimize the effect on your baby if needed.
Vomiting is a third trimester symptom not to ignore unless you know it’s benign. In the first and second trimester, vomiting and nausea is usually expected because morning sickness is common. However, in the third trimester, it’s less likely.
Some people suffer from morning sickness throughout their entire pregnancy or it may come and go. However, if your morning sickness stopped weeks ago and suddenly you’re sick again, you should contact your doctor to find out the cause.
Although it may just be the flu, vomiting can be a danger sign of pregnancy in the third trimester, possibly signaling:
- Some infections need to be treated medically or they pose a risk to your baby.
- Food poisoning. Depending on the severity, food poising may also require medical attention.
- Vomiting can be a sign of preeclampsia in the later stages of pregnancy. By this point, you’re probably already diagnosed with the condition. However, if you were misdiagnosed, it may be your first sign something is wrong.
Burning During Urination or Trouble Urinating
Frequent urination is a normal symptom of pregnancy. However, if you’re experiencing trouble peeing, it could be a danger sign of pregnancy in the third trimester. Look out for:
- An urge to pee but little urine passing through when you go
- A burning sensation
- Fever or chills
- Blood-colored urine
All of these can be signs of a urinary tract infection. Although common, they pose another risk during pregnancy. An untreated UTI can lead to a kidney infection or preterm labor. Luckily, the cure is usually simple: a course of antibiotics should clear your infection.
Depression or Anxiety
When we think of third trimester symptoms not to ignore, we usually think of physical symptoms. However, your mental health may also affect your baby and the way you parent after birth.
It’s common to have mood swings and feel nervous during some points of pregnancy. Over 50% of pregnant women experience increases in depression or anxiety, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA).
While you’re not alone, intense emotions could signal a mental health disorder. Many times, these emotions stay or intensify after pregnancy. This can lead to postpartum depression and, in rare cases, postpartum psychosis.
Mental health problems can also affect your growing baby. A recent study linked stress and depression to changes in the placenta, which could change gene activity. The effects could be long-term too. Another study found that depression during pregnancy was linked to behavioral and emotional disorders during childhood.
Many people neglect to get help because they feel it’s selfish or not important. However, getting help is one of the most selfless things you can do for your baby. When a child grows up with a parent who can effectively deal with their difficult emotions, they learn to mirror that emotional regulation. In short, a happy mom equals a happy baby.
Even if you’re not sure if you’re struggling with a clinical disorder, it’s good to talk to someone about it. Find a therapist in your area or ask your doctor for a recommendation. If you’re on a budget, look for mental health professionals who work on a sliding scale, adjusting their rates to your income. You can also ask your doctor or community health center about free or low-cost services.
Read our mental health guides:
- How to Prevent Postpartum Depression Before Delivery: 8 Ways
- 7 Actionable Tips to Manage Panic Attacks in Pregnancy
- Pregnancy Worry: 10 Practical Remedies for Anxiety During Pregnancy
Summary: Danger Signs of Pregnancy in Third Trimester
There’s a few danger signs of pregnancy in the third trimester you should look out for to keep you and your baby safe. Unexplained decreases in movement, bleeding, severe pain, fever, vomiting, and mental health changes should be reported to your doctor. These are all third trimester symptoms not to ignore which could cause complications.
Do You Have a Fetal Doppler Yet?
A fetal doppler is a device that allows you to hear your baby’s heartbeat from home. It’s easy to use and many parents-to-be say it eases their anxiety between prenatal appointments. It also creates a magical bonding experience for the whole family.