Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


12 Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Things You May Experience in the Third Trimester

Photograph by Getty Images

I will forever be a believer that the second trimester is the only good phase of pregnancy. The first trimester, well, we all know that hardship, and the third aims to be all glowing and “I can’t wait to hold my baby!”, but hidden beneath that guise are a lot of ugly, awful things.

Things best left unsaid.

Yet, things I’m ready to share in honor of saying hello to my fourth go at the third trimester.

After chattering with my sisterhood of fellow third trimester survivors, I honestly feel lucky about the awful things I’ve personally experienced. The truth is, not one of us would trade our children to avoid these frightful atrocities, but we’re not about to look back on them fondly, either.

1. Hemorrhoids

If you don’t know what these are, Google a definition. Do not, under any circumstances, opt to view an image. It’s just not worth having a visual. Basically, during pregnancy, constipation and overall pressure on the perineum can result in varicose veins of the rectum. They itch, hurt, and bleed. It’s awful. Stock up on Motherlove’s Rhoid Balm and Tucks Medicated Pads to help relieve your discomfort.

2. Varicose Veins

If varicose veins of the rectum aren’t bad enough, the third trimester can birth what a dear friend of mine calls “The Triple V: Varicose Veins of the Vulva.” Beware!

3. Group B Strep Test

At one of your third trimester appointments, your OB or midwife will perform the group B strep test. It’s a vaginal/rectum swab and determines if you’re one of the 25% of healthy women who have colonized this bacterial infection. If you test positive, you’ll need antibiotics during labor. If not, check that worry off your list.

4. Butt Sweat

This came up so often in my conversation with fellow expecting moms. And worst of all, butt sweat leads to butt-ne. That’s right, acne of the derriere is totally a thing.

5. Bladder Control

Did your water break or did you, you know, just pee? Sometimes it takes a trip to the ER to determine which, because leaks happen far too often during the third trimester.

Also called lightening crotch. It’s as uncomfortable as it sounds.

6. Facial Hair

Can you see my chin hairs from over there? Yeah, well, I have to pluck a few dark or wiry hairs every day right now. The shame.

7. New or Larger Moles

With human growth hormones coursing through your body, you never know what will spring up. When you notice something new or larger, be sure to show your care provider just to be safe.


Occurring in 1 of every 200 pregnancies, PUPPS is an itchy rash that begins on your belly and spreads across your back, arms, and legs. It’s most common in first pregnancies and resolves shortly after birth. My friends who have experienced it describe it as “terrible”, “unbearable”, and “so, so awful”.

9. Vaginal Leakage

A lot is going on right now down there so expect pantyliners to become a part of your everyday.

10. Cervical Zingers

Also called lightning crotch. It’s as uncomfortable as it sounds. Brace yourself, once Baby shifts and releases pressure from your nerves down there, you’ll feel back to normal.

11. Water Retention

Feel swollen? Well, you probably are. Especially if your third trimester happens to fall during the hotter months.

12. Hyper Pigmentation

If you’ve noticed darkening on your face, nail beds, nipples, and lady bits, you just might be experiencing hyper pigmentation—or sunless tanner in all the wrong places.

More from pregnancy