What are the main complications during the third trimester of pregnancy?

Written by: Mr Keith Duncan
Edited by: Conor Lynch

The third trimester of pregnancy is a fascinating and frequently difficult time for expectant mothers. In this phase, your body goes through major changes while your baby develops and gets ready for the outer world. While this time might be one of expectation and delight, it also has its share of difficulties. Here to shed light on what to expect during this period of time is highly esteemed consultant obstetrician, Mr Keith Duncan.

What are the main side effects of the third trimester of pregnancy?

As your baby continues to grow, the third trimester may bring greater physical discomfort. Shortness of breath, swollen feet, and back pain may intensify. 


At night, it can be difficult to find a sleeping posture that is comfortable. The health of both you and your newborn depend on getting enough sleep. I can provide guidance on sleeping postures, stress reduction methods, and lifestyle changes to enhance your quality of sleep.


Due to pressure on the stomach, the third trimester may cause persistent heartburn and indigestion. A specialist can help with suggesting diet modifications.


Moreover, during this phase of your pregnancy, swelling in the extremities is frequent. I can keep an eye on your condition to make sure it’s within normal bounds and offer suggestions to lessen swelling, such as drinking plenty of fluids and elevating your legs.


In relation to mental health, mood swings and emotional shifts might be brought on by hormonal changes and the impending birth of your child.


How can blood pressure problems and gestational diabetes be managed during third trimester pregnancy?

During the third trimester, some women may develop gestational diabetes or experience blood pressure problems. To ensure a safe pregnancy, I specialise in treating these conditions by providing nutritional advice, medication, and continuous monitoring.


To find out more about the extensive obstetric services provided by Mr Keith Duncan, visit his Top Doctors profile today. 

By Mr Keith Duncan
Obstetrics & gynaecology

Mr Keith Duncan is a highly regarded expert and leading consultant obstetrician in London. With over 30 years' experience, Mr Duncan has delivered more than 3,000 babies both in the NHS and as one of Europe’s top private obstetricians. His areas of expertise include childbirth, caesarean, antenatal care, multiple pregnancies, ultrasound and high-risk pregnancies, as well as early pregnancy scanning and management.

Mr Duncan graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MB ChB) from Leeds University. He went on to undertake training in the North of England before relocating to London for his specialist training in maternal and fetal medicine. In 2001, he was awarded accreditation as a sub-specialist in maternal and fetal medicine. From 2003 until recently he held his NHS role as Consultant in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

He has now left the NHS to concentrate on his new project Dr Duncan Birth, delivering at The Portland Hospital and consulting and scanning in and around Harley St. He is now offering online consultations to serve patients beyond London. He offers early pregnancy scans and early pregnancy management. 

His personable and calm approach has gained him the reputation as a first-class practitioner in multiple and high-risk birth situations, as well as a holistic approach to low-risk birth. He is renowned for his hands-on approach, down-to-earth manner and meticulous attention to detail, making him a popular choice with both first-time mothers and a loyal following of repeat patients. He is a strong supporter of personal choice in childbirth and listening to the individual needs and wishes of each patient. Whether it’s water births, caesareans or hypno-birthing, his philosophy is to provide a positive birth experience for all parents to be.

As a member of the British Maternal Fetal Medicine Society, for over 10 years, Mr Duncan served as the representative for London and the South West at the prestigious Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists taking an active interest in global women’s health. His research interests focus on ultrasound scanning and development in utero, having been one of the pioneers of the use of MRI in fetal assessment, for which he was awarded his MD thesis.

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