Enter Stage Left: Third Trimeter Heartburn and Fatigue

Everyone, in your places, please!

Welcome to Week 32 of pregnancy! I’m so happy to be here: feeling truly lucky and blessed that I’ve made it this far into my second pregnancy. I can’t wait to meet our little man, and I just love the way our family is growing from two hyper-independent, relatively competitive individuals a few years ago to this amazingly interdependent family where two formerly competent adults doubt themselves daily as we work together, over-stressed and under-slept, to keep two dogs, a two-year-old, and (very soon) a second baby alive and well.

MilliGFunk Running the Regensburg Frauenlauf 6K

In Scene One, you watched me run a 6K when I was six-weeks pregant, you saw me battle my morning sickness and you cheered me on as I managed to keep doing new-to-me things in yoga, even as my pregnancy progressed.

FittaMamma High Support Maternity Workout Top 2 via MilliGFunk

In Scene Two, you encouraged me when I over-did it during workouts, and you commented on my barely-there maternity belly when I got this order of cute maternity fitness clothes in the mail from FittaMamma. We celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas together, and then — before we knew it — it was time to welcome the New Year!

Fitta Mamma Spinach Smoothie on www.MilliGFunk.com

In Scene Three so far, we’ve dealt with iron deficiency and tried out a new group fitness class. We’ve talked about things in hushed whispers, and I’ve started modifying more and more exercises to accomodate my pregnancy.

Now, at 32 weeks, we see enter stage left: third trimester heartburn and fatigue!

Third Trimester Heartburn

I’m pretty sure that the statistics are something like 134% of pregnant women suffer from pregnancy heartburn. It really is one of those pregnancy pains that almost every woman experiences to some degree. Some women only experiences it when they eat certain foods, while others seem to suffer from it no matter what they eat or drink.

Forward Bend Modification for Third Trimester

Unfortunately, I’m one of the latter women. Of course, exercise and nutrition can both have a big impact on heartburn. In my own experience, certain exercises (like forward folds in yoga class) exacerbate my heartburn, while any sort of exercise that improves my digestion helps with my heartburn.

Suffering from heartburn in pregnancy? These yoga poses might help!

As far as nutrition goes, beyond the normal advice to avoid spicy foods and to eat five or six small meals in place of three big ones each day, each woman seems to find her own path. It usually helps not to eat much before lying down, but it seems like that even foods that help me (like toast) actually make friends’ heartburn worse sometimes.

“Every woman’s body is different.”

It sounds cliche, but with pregnancy, it’s oh-so-true! Every woman’s body really is different, so what works for one of us may not work for the next. There are, however some foods out there that are supposed to ease heartburn or help prevent it altogether.

Coconut oil use for healthy pregnancy from FittaMamma.com

Coconut oil, for example, can help with pregnancy nausea and heartburn. Adding mint leaves or lemon to your water can help with digestion, which in turns helps ease heartburn symptoms. And while full-fat dairy products are generally considered to contribute to heartburn, I’ve found that probiotic yogurt and fat free milk both help ease my own heartburn.

Did you know: Bananas are a natural antacid?

Third Trimester Fatigue

There are so many reasons why the third trimester brings a renewal of that good old pregnancy fatigue you may have experienced in the first trimester. Your body weighs more than it used to, so your muscles will get tired, faster, doing the same day-to-day tasks.

Your lungs are being crushed (okay, “crushed” sounds harsh…”hugged?”) by your growing baby, making it harder to breathe. Oh, and your body’s trying to circulate 50% more blood than it used to have, so there’s also that.


Posture & Breathing During Third Trimester

Pregnancy fitness isn’t just about hard workous, though. Working out in pregnancy can help you to fight pregnancy fatigue, too!

As your belly and breasts grow, the strain you feel on your back, hips, and shoulders can make it harder to maintain good posture. The worst part? Because your lungs are already being compressed by your growing uterus, slouching will only give them less room to expand.

Pregnancy yoga pose to breath and relax from FittaMamma

Sitting up straight is really important if you want to make sure your body’s getting the oxygen it needs to be energized. Taking slower, deeper breaths and sitting up straight can each help your body get more oxygen, and by increasing the oxygen your muscles receive, you’ll feel less tired.

Learn more about Yoga in Pregnancy for Tiredness from FittaMamma.

Exercise to Fight Fatigue in the Third Trimester

Exercise during pregnancy can help with heartburn and fatigue, both, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to motivate yourself to exercise when you’re feeling big, heavy, and lethargic. There are still so many benefits to exercising in pregnancy that it would be hard to justify skipping all of our workouts during pregnancy.

(Besides which, who wants to have to fight postpartum weight and body image issues when we’re already going to be slammed with sleepless nights, hormone roller coaster rides, and the other joys of new motherhood?)

I’ve been exercising less lately than I was a few weeks ago, and my workouts are becoming less strenuous with each passing week. The act of showing up for a yoga or Body Pump class, though, is enough to make me feel mentally empowered, and by the time I’m finished with a workout, I do generally feel a little more energized.

I think that exercising really does help (mentally and physically) to manage the tiredness I’ve felt so far this trimester, but I’d also like to point out that there’s also a time and place for choosing to rest. Sometimes you might need a power nap or an extra hour of morning sleep in place of that hour-long morning workout. That’s okay! Listen to your body, and try to stay active without wearing yourself out.

Why Does Exercise Help Fatigue?

We know that exercise can help us to feel less tired, even it sounds counter-intuitive. Personally, I’ve found that morning yoga classes really help me to feel better for the rest of the day after, and a 20 minute walk outside does wonders for me physically and mentally. Why, exactly, does exercise help, though?

Pregnancy exercise in late pregnancy jumping jacks from FittaMamma.com

First of all, exercises like yoga that have a focus on deep breathing and good posture help your to expand, getting more oxygen to your body. But there’s more to it than just posture and breathing. According to FittaMamma:

“Exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system, thus increasing your stamina, meaning that you won’t tire as easily. What’s more, if your muscle are strong and toned then they’ll need less energy to complete any activity…”

So exercise helps you breath better, it helps your posture, and it helps improve your stamina, which makes daily tasks feel a little easier. Exercise during the day can also help you sleep better at night, which means that you wake up feeling like you had a longer, deeper night of sleep.

Fair warning, though: exercise without the right nutrition can make you feel even more run-down, so make sure you’re drinking enough water and eating nutrition foods in these last few weeks of pregnancy.

Nutrition & Fatigue

We all know that sugar and caffeine are only temporary fixes to fatigue: you feel energized in the short term, but you crash later. Besides trying to generally keep caffeine and sugar consumption under control, what kinds of things can you eat to help you feel less tired when you’re pregnant?

FittaMamma highlights a few of foods that help fight pregnancy fatigue:

  • Pecans can give you an energy boost, thanks to the Vitamin B3 they’re packed with.
  • Juicing beetroot and carrot together can also help, since the two come with a healthy dose of iron and nitrates.
  • Eating foods that are rich in iron can help you avoid fatigue related to iron deficiency in pregnancy.

Healthy pregnancy stay hydrated from FittaMamma.com

You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth saying again: staying hydrated helps your body absorb essential nutrients from whatever foods you eat — and it also helps prevent painful muscle cramps — so be sure you’re getting enough water each day!

Have you dealt with third trimeter heartburn and fatigue? What things did you find to be most helpful for countering them? I’d love to hear from you: leave a comment today!


Fittamamma Logo Move Nurture Support-page-001

FittaMamma has been an incredible partner for me through this active pregnancy, offering me several sets of fantastic maternity workout clothes in exchange for me writing blog posts that document my healthy and active pregnancy. You can find their entire line of supportive maternity workout clothes in the FittaMamma Shop.

I’m grateful for the ongoing opportunity as a blogger to work with such a fantastic brand. Come back every Friday to follow my second pregnancy with my #FittaMammaFriday posts!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by FittaMamma, who has graciously outfitted me with maternity activewear for my active pregnancy. FittaMamma supports active mammas by offering exercise tips, recipes, and maternity activewear that holds and supports your baby bump!

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