When Does the Third Trimester Begin?
The third trimester is the last phase of the pregnancy that begins around week 28 of pregnancy and lasts until giving birth, which may be around week 40 of pregnancy or months 7 to 9 of pregnancy. During the third trimester, the fetus grows, develops, and starts to change its position to get ready for birth.
What Are the Changes in the Mother’s Body During the Third Trimester?
Back pain is due to the pregnancy hormones relaxing the connective tissue that holds the bones in place in the pelvic area, and the extra weight gained also adds pressure on the back. To ease the back pain, try to practice good posture, sit up straight, choose chairs with good back support, sleep on the sides with a pillow tucked between the legs, wear low-heeled and comfortable shoes, get regular exercise, and use a heating pad to reduce pain. If the pain is severe or persistent, contact your healthcare provider.
Braxton-Hicks Contractions -
During this period, mothers start to feel mild contractions, which are actually warm-ups to prepare their uterus for actual labor. Braxton-Hicks contractions are not as intense as real labor contractions. They are more likely to occur during the afternoon or evening, after sex, or after physical activity. If the face becomes red and out of breath after the contractions, or if the contractions are regularly occurring, reach out to your physician immediately.
Breast Enlargement and Leaking -
The breast grows as much as two pounds by the end of the pregnancy. Wear a supportive bra, to give good back support. There will be a discharge of yellowish fluid from the nipples by the end of the pregnancy. This is called colostrum which will nourish the baby in the first few days after birth.
Frequent Urination -
As the baby grows bigger and moves deeper, its head may be pressing down on the mother's bladder. This extra pressure causes frequent urination. Urination leak can happen during coughing, sneezing, laughing, or while exercising. To resolve this problem, one can use panty liners, use the bathroom whenever you feel the urge, and try to dry out the bladder entirely.
Pregnancy hormones relax specific muscles, including muscles present in the esophagus. This can allow stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus and cause heartburn. Eat small, frequent meals and avoid greasy foods, citrus fruits, chocolate, and spicy or fried foods to relieve heartburn.
Shortness of Breath -
During the third trimester, the uterus expands and sits just under the rib cage, making less room for the lungs to grow; this pressure causes difficulty in breathing. Doing yoga and breathing exercises can help with shortness of breath.
Tiredness during the third trimester is commonly expected to be on peak, compared to the rest of the trimester. As the growth of the baby increases than the first trimester, carrying around that weight will cause exhaustion and fatigueness. Eating healthier meals, supplementing with iron and proteins shall help reduce the fatigueness.
These are swollen veins that form around the anus. Increased blood supply and pregnancy weight increase the amount of pressure on the area. To ease the itch and discomfort caused due to hemorrhoids, try sitting in a warm tub or sitz bath.
Stretch Marks -.
Stretch marks happen when the skin stretches during pregnancy. It may develop on the breasts, tummy, butt, or thighs.
Weight Gain -
By the end of the third trimester, the mother has the possibilities to have gained 25 to 35 pounds. The extra pounds comprise the baby's weight, amniotic fluid, placenta, increased fluid, blood volume, and added breast tissue.
What Are the Developments in the Fetus During the Third Trimester?
The fetus grows in size and weight during the third trimester. The fetus starts to move and position itself head-down. By the end of the third trimester, the fetus weighs about 6 to 9 pounds and is 19 to 21 inches long.
Fetal development during the third trimester includes:
The brain continues its development.
The lungs continue to mature by 38 weeks to 40 weeks, the lungs will be developed fully.
The fetus can hear and see.
The head may drop into the pelvic area by the 36th week. This process is called lightning.
The cartilage transforms to bone in the 7th and 8th month. The bones of the skull will be soft to make it easier to pass through the birth canal.
In the third trimester, the baby's brain will grow faster than ever where it develops skills including dreaming, blinking, and regulating body temperature.
During the final weeks of pregnancy, meconium (baby's first poop) starts to build up in the baby's intestines.
By 38 to 40 weeks, the fetus' lanugo (the warm, hairy coat) has almost gone away.
The head will often turn downwards during the last two weeks of pregnancy.
What Are the Warning Signs in the Third Trimester?
The mothers may experience false labor symptoms as the expected delivery date approaches. The symptoms of labor pain include:
In the 36th week, waddling may happen as the baby drops into the pelvis.
A pink or brown mucus with blood is a sure sign that indicates labor is on its way. Some mothers may or may not notice the mucus plug discharge (which seals off your uterus).
Sharp cramps in the groin area can be a sign of labor as the cervix starts to dilate and thin out.
Labor Contractions - As compared to Braxton-Hicks's contractions, actual labor contractions intensify rather than diminishing when the mothers move around.
Water Breaking - The amniotic sac will rupture in some mothers, which experiences a slow and steady fluid trickle, requiring immediate hospitalization.
If there are any signs of preterm labor or any following symptoms, consult the physician immediately,
What to Avoid During the Third Trimester?
These are a few things to avoid in the third trimester.
Traveling - If the due date is nearing, it is a good idea to avoid traveling.
Lying on the Back. - Avoid lying flat on the back during pregnancy because the entire weight of the baby and uterus compresses the vein to the heart, causing nausea and shortness of breath.
Hot Tubs and Saunas - Avoid hot tubs and saunas because it raises the internal temperature. Keep the water at normal temperature during the bath, and avoid losing balance while bathing.
Exercising in Warm Temperatures - Stay indoors to reduce overheating or becoming dehydrated.
Raw or Undercooked Foods - Raw and undercooked foods can bring bacteria, so avoid them during pregnancy.
The third trimester of pregnancy can be uncomfortable and tiring when the long wait is over, and the baby is expected to arrive soon. The mothers should be cautious about the signs of labor like pregnancy contractions, fluid leaks, etc., and be prepared for immediate hospitalization.
Frequently Asked Questions