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Third Trimester Pregnancy: Contractions

October 30, 2020


“In the third trimester of pregnancy, it is very common because of the increasing size of the baby and the increasing pressure to start to have some uterine irritability or some spasming in the uterine muscle. So the uterus that holds the baby is just a muscle. And as it gets stretched, it can cause some contractions, some light contractions, some contractions that are not painful, or you might even have some uncomfortable, painful contractions if you’re ever concerned, or you think you may be going into labor, it’s really important to talk to your healthcare provider, but some of that discomfort can be normal in the latter part of your pregnancy as the baby gets bigger. And even when the baby elbows and kicks, that can create a contraction that can cause the uterine muscle to tighten up. There are a lot of changes happening at the bottom of the uterus.

That place is called the cervix and the cervix normally is quite long and thick and really holds the baby in. But as you get further along in pregnancy, because of hormone changes and pressure that cervix can start to get thinner and softer, and it can even start to open a little bit. And that would be dilation of the cervix, which in some cases at the very end of pregnancy can be normal. But if it happens too early, it may be a concern. So something that your doctor and you would want to talk about now, of course we don’t examine our own cervix and I strongly recommend that you don’t put anything in your vagina. Sexual intercourse at this stage of pregnancy is usually okay, as long as it’s not painful or particularly aggressive, but it’s usually quite safe. Now in the semen, however, there’s prostoglandins and those prostoglandins can create contractions. And so being a little bit careful if you’re prone to premature labor that having sex at that part of pregnancy is something you’ll want to talk to your doctor about, but having changes in the cervix and changes in the uterus and stretching of the uterus are all things that you can expect at the third trimester in that latter part of pregnancy as your body prepares for labor and delivery.”

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