Third Trimester of Pregnancy, Week 28 to 40
You are in the third trimester, you have officially entered the seventh month of pregnancy, only 3 months to go till you get to enjoy your little bundle of joy.
The third trimester is considered to be the home stretch. During this trimester, moms will feel more uncomfortable as she has gained a lot of weight and is also starting to experience false labor contractions known as Braxton Hicks Contractions. These signs and symptoms are preparing the mother’s body for childbirth.
Moms, especially first-time mothers are encouraged to take child preparation classes, to prepare for the big day and beyond. It’s also time to pack those bags and keep them close by.
Changes mom may experience
The third trimester of pregnancy is extremely difficult to cope up with and for the majority of mothers-to-be, it becomes even more uncomfortable as the due date of the delivery approaches. Moms may face challenges breathing, sleeping is difficult finding a comfortable position is almost impossible, due to the size of her belly and the acid reflux. During this time new and old symptoms are experiences.
- The body temperature of the mother is likely to increase, she may be feeling hotter than usual.
- Frequent urination is back and worse than trimester one, this is expected as pressure increases on her bladder due to the growing size of the baby.
- Her ankles, wrists, and even her face, may experience excessive swelling due to water retention or just the pressure on increased weight.
- Painful leg cramps may be more frequent during this trimester.
- Since the delivery date is approaching, Braxton hicks contractions are a frequent visitor, giving mom a taste of what’s ahead.
- Prominent stretch marks may appear on the belly, abdomen, thighs, and even on the hips.
- The skin continues to stretch and itch
- Constipation, heartburn, and severe indigestion may continue until the day of delivery.
- Backaches are now more constant
During the third trimester, the final prenatal visits may get be longer and more frequent. At the final prenatal visits, a mom may undergo an internal pelvic examination, more specifically cervical examination to check for dilation or potential thinning of the cervix which signals delivery may be close. During the final visits, the doctor will ask if the mother is experiencing contractions or getting any pains, talking her through the signs of labour, and indicating what is considered red-flags requiring immediate medical attention. Red flags include; bleeding at any time, a decrease in the baby’s activity inside the womb, high blood pressure, rapid weight gain, or rapid swelling.
From week 36, the visits that were previously done on monthly basis will now every two weeks to ensure that the mother and the baby are in safe hands.
The fetus continues to grow in terms of weight and size. The lungs of the baby still haven’t matured but the fetus will eventually position itself head-down as the delivery date will approach. The fetus is about 19 to 21 inches and can weigh from 6lbs to 9lbs but each case is different.
- The fetus is able to see and hear as he reacts more to light and sounds.
- The brain of the baby is developing and it will continue to grow until the end of the trimester.
- Major organs in the fetus like the lungs and the kidneys continue to mature, by the final weeks this will be ready
- The bones in the skull of the fetus are soft in order for him to pass easily through the birth canal.
- The head of the fetus will eventually turn down so that it is ready to get engaged and the baby is ready to come out.
Doctors will be monitoring your baby’s increase in size, weight, movement, and heartbeat, they will also look at the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby to ensure your baby is growing well.
This is a good time to review all you have learned in the child preparation classes and stay away from those with pregnancy horror stories. Keep positive and soon it will be all over, and you will forget about how heavy or sick you were for 40 weeks when you hold your precious little baby.