When is the 3rd trimester? The third trimester of pregnancy marks the final days of your pregnancy. It begins from around the 28th week to the 40th week or up to when you give birth. You can also refer to it as the 7th, 8th, and 9th months. This trimester is characterized by faster growth and development of the baby. During this last trimester, the baby will grow from around 2.5 pounds to 7-9 pounds. The baby kicks will become more noticeable due to taking in more space in the amniotic sac.
We shall categorize what to expect in the third trimester into two; what happens to the mother and what happens to the baby.
What Happens To The Baby?
The baby will experience tremendous growth in this stage. If the baby is born early at any stage during this trimester, they have a much better chance of survival. It is advisable to keep your hospital bag ready during the third trimester.
On the part of the baby, most of the body features will become more pronounced as they develop. The bones will develop from cartilage to proper bones. This means that the baby will be drawing more calcium from you. It is essential to make sure you are getting enough from food sources such as dairy, eggs, leafy vegetables, seafood, beans, peas, etc.
Skin nails, and hair will also develop at this stage. Before this stage, the skin will be see-through but will now become opaque. The digestive system will also develop. The baby will have its first poop.
All the baby’s senses develop. The baby will open its eyes and can perceive light. They can also touch, taste, and hear voices. The baby might recognize some familiar voices. The baby central nervous system and the brain will develop and start working. The baby will start dreaming, blinking, and performing other functions such as temperature regulation.
Perhaps the most widely known development at this stage is that of the baby turning to face downwards, heads down position. This happens around week 34. The baby turns in preparation for labor. However, not all babies turn, some do not and is no cause for alarm. Your doctor may try manually turning the baby in week 37.
What Happens To The Mother?
The mother will experience some changes, as well. The most obvious one will be the tummy getting bigger. You will experience the baby moving a lot in the early weeks of the third trimester till when they turn. Due to the rapid expansion of the abdomen, the round ligaments will stretch to offer better support. This may cause some discomfort, such as aches and pains. You may also notice stretch marks around your abdomen. Moisturizing your abdominal skin will help you cope with itchiness. You should expect to gain weight rapidly during this trimester. You can expect to gain 0.5 to 1 pound each week. Click here to read more about changes in the third trimester.
During the third trimester, you may experience fatigue in some days. This is due to the many demands that pregnancy is placing on your body. The best way to fight the constant fatigue is to keep active and a healthy third trimester diet. You can still go about your daily activities. Walking is an excellent way to stay active during this trimester. It will also help you sleep better at night.
Some women experience heartburn during the third trimester. This happens due to the baby growing big and squeezing the stomach. Excess progesterone may cause heartburn by relaxing the muscles in the esophagus, which keeps food in your stomach. This same hormone may cause constipation. The solution here is to eat smaller amounts of food frequently. If it happens a lot and it bothers you, talk to your doctor about some safe medications which are safe to use.
Poor bladder control may be an issue. You will find yourself rushing to the bathroom numerous times during the day and at night. You may pee a little if you sneeze. Do not worry about this; it is normal. The pressure on your bladder is immense.
Backache is a common complaint by women in the third trimester. Just like other areas in your body, your spine is under pressure due to the enlarging abdomen – your center of gravity changes to a more forward position. The added weight is constant pressure on your back. Sitting up straight helps relieve some of this pressure on your back. At night, sleep on your side, preferably with a pillow between your legs. Avoid high heels during this stage as they will only worsen the backache.
Close to the end of the pregnancy, during the 8th and 9th month, your breasts will grow big. You may experience some yellowish fluid coming from nipples. This is baby’s food known as colostrum.
It is common to experience light discharge during the third trimester. However, if the flow is heavy to soak your panty liner, talk to your doctor. Close to end, your mucus plug, located at the cervix, which blocks the uterus from the outside world, may discharge. This is the most definite sign that labor is close. The mucus plug can be clear or brownish.
Your feet and ankles may get swollen due to fluid retention and weight gain. This is called edema. Soaking your feet in cold water should help, elevating the feet when you can also help with the fluid movement. Avoid wearing tight shoes. You may need a bigger pair for this period.
Braxton Hicks contractions also happen in the last trimester. These are minor contractions as your uterus prepares for labor. They are also called practice or fake contractions. They differ from labor contractions in that these are mild and irregular. Labor contractions increase in intensity and come in regular intervals.
The third trimester is a physically tiring moment for a pregnant woman. Most of the body changes will exert pressure on almost all body organs. Keeping active is the best way to beat the tiredness that you will feel. Emotionally, it will be a roller-coaster. You can’t wait to give birth to your bundle of joy, yet you worry about what may happen. Enjoy this moment as it will pass very fast. Understanding what happens in pregnancy helps in reducing anxiety.