Congratulations! You made it to the third trimester! Common feelings include nervousness and also excitement about your upcoming birth and parenthood. Rest assured, these are all normal feelings.
The third trimester will take you from week 28 through week 40 of your pregnancy. During the third trimester, you may notice some changes due to your growing baby and your body preparing for birth.
Here are few common changes you may notice during this final trimester:
- Abdominal aches: These aches could be caused by round ligaments stretching to accommodate your growing baby bump and preparing your body for birth..
- Fatigue: As baby grows to full-term, the demands baby puts on your body increase. Be sure to get lots of rest.
- Heartburn: As your uterus pushes your stomach upwards, you may notice an increase in heartburn. Talk to your doctor if it is bothersome or severe.
- Contractions: Braxton Hicks contractions may start as your body prepares for the birth of your baby. These contractions are irregular and usually mild. True contractions will be progressive, increasing in frequency and intensity. Be sure to call your doctor if you can time the contractions and they become painful.
- Stretch marks: Stretch marks typically appear due to genetics. Moisturizing your belly may help minimize their appearance.
- Generalized discomfort: As the baby continues to grow, some women will experience backaches, shortness of breath, urinating frequently or other discomforts.
- Breast changes: Some women notice their breasts feel very full and begin leaking towards the end of their pregnancy. This substance is called colostrum, and it’s common to notice some leaking even before the baby is born. Colostrum is very nutrient-dense and will be a wonderful source of nutrition when your little one arrives.
Your baby is also going through many changes during the final trimester to help prepare for birth and life outside the womb.
Here are a few notable milestones:
- Baby weighs between 2-4 pounds
- Rapid brain development that enables baby to regulate body temperature and have rhythmic breathing movements
- Lanugo (fine hair all over baby’s body) starts to disappear, and the hair on baby’s head starts to thicken
- Your baby gains more fat stores, and bones are fully developed (although still soft)
- Baby’s eyes are able to be wide open, and pupils are responsive to light
- Fingernails have grown to reach the tip of the fingers
- Lungs continue to develop and prepare for independent breathing
- Multiple separate bone plates in her skull that are able to slide and move to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal
- Baby is rapidly gaining weight! Expect your baby to gain about ¼ to ½ pound per week in the last few weeks of pregnancy.
- Baby drops lower in mom’s belly and is typically positioned head-down to get ready for birth!
Even though there can be many discomforts and physical demands during a pregnancy, we hope you have enjoyed bonding with your little one even before he or she is born! Every woman’s experience of pregnancy is different, so if you have any concern if something you are experiencing is “normal,” we always encourage you to reach out to your prenatal provider.
Be sure to join us for a birthing class as you prepare for delivery!
We hope this blog series has given you a glimpse of some of the changes you and your baby may encounter from conception to birth!Learn More
Becoming pregnant while pursuing a college education can seem like a huge roadblock but it doesn’t have to be. With some tips for managing pregnancy as a college student you can be successful. If you’re a student in the Twin Cities at the University of Minnesota, Hamline, St. Thomas, Augsburg, Macalester, or St. Catherine University, you can find support and help through our centers.
At First Care, we will help connect you with resources in the community in addition to helping you identify available resources at your school.
Here are some of our tips to help manage pregnancy as a college student:
Gain a shift in perspective.
As we all grow and mature in life, it is important to realize that hard, difficult, challenging and unexpected things will ALWAYS be a part of life. They are unavoidable and that is not meant to be discouraging. Rather, it is intended to help you see the strength and capability you have within yourself to press on in the midst of unexpected challenges.
Who is in your corner?
I like the metaphor of a boxer who may have thousands of cheering fans but only a select few people in her corner, walking alongside her each step of the way. Take a moment to think about the people in your corner; who is there to support you through this pregnancy? Family, friends, partner? If you don’t have enough support, our Client Care staff can help you widen your support base.
Another key aspect in managing your pregnancy is recognizing any material or financial support you might be needing. This could be baby/maternity supplies, getting connected to programs like WIC, education classes to help prepare you or parenting groups for support.
- The U of M has a Student Parent Help Center that helps students who are pregnant and/or parenting with a variety of resources and support such as: child care resources, family housing, lactation resources, Parents As Students Support Group, Family friendly activity and events list, Teen Parent Outreach Program, and scholarships.
- The University of St. Thomas provides numerous resources to assist pregnant and parenting students.
- The Jeremiah Program provides services for pregnant women who want to pursue or continue their education and/or workforce prep.
We can help you gain access to all of these resources and more.
Believe In Yourself
Recognize you can do both – carry a pregnancy to term and be a student. It may look different than expected but, becoming pregnant does not mean you cannot continue your education. A lot of colleges have resources for pregnant students and want to help you through this as well. We encourage you to talk with your professors and advisers to make a plan for what this can look like.
Often with holistic support, women who experience an unplanned pregnancy realize they are stronger than they know and can move from surviving to thriving in their situations.
Remember you are not alone, not the first person to be experiencing this and you are so capable to get through this season of life.
Schedule an Appointment
Connect with one of our Client Advocates today to learn how we can specifically help you!Learn More
Many women will say that the second trimester is their favorite trimester of their pregnancy journey! This is due to it being the most comfortable trimester out of all three. The second trimester takes you from week 14 through week 27. Overall, your pregnancy is well established, your nausea might have gone away, and you might be sleeping better as well.
One fun fact about the second trimester is that your baby begins to hear during the second trimester. Therefore, your baby might start to recognize your voice and also respond to sounds outside the womb!
Here are a few changes you might notice in your body during the second trimester:
- Increased hunger and energy overall
- Feeling your baby move inside you more (maybe feeling like butterflies or gas bubbles)
- Your stomach will start showing you are pregnant to others
- You may need maternity clothes or larger bras to accommodate the body changes
- You may have some nasal congestion due to increased blood flow to your mucous membranes
- Potentially experience mild swelling in your ankles and feet
- You may experience sensitive gums and maybe bleeding- be sure to see your dentist if you experience any bright red or bleeding gums
During the second trimester, your baby will grow from the size of a peach to the size of a cantaloupe. Your baby’s senses will start developing and your baby will move around a lot!
Here is what is happening to the baby during the second trimester:
- The baby’s skin is covered in lanugo (soft hair that will eventually go away)
- The baby will start to gain weight quickly
- The baby’s genitals normally can be seen around week 16
- The baby becomes much more active and kicks more strongly
- The baby might swallow and suck it’s thumb
- The baby’s senses are developing and the baby might be able to hear
- The baby has times to be awake and also times to sleep
- The baby can open it’s eyes
- The baby might be able to recognize familiar voices like mom’s or dad’s
Lastly, there are a few tests that are done in the second trimester that you should expect from your doctor. They are as follows:
- Fetal Anatomy Survey– Is an ultrasound that is performed sometime between 18 and 20 weeks. This ultrasound looks at fetal size and anatomy including the baby’s organs. It can screen for potential concerns like the location of the placenta or the amount on amniotic fluid your baby has. At this ultrasound, the gender of your baby might be able to be seen! Therefore, you can let the ultrasound technician know if you would like to see the gender or have it be a surprise for delivery!
- Glucose Tolerance Test– This test will let the mother know if she has gestational diabetes with the pregnancy. The test is typically done between 24 and 28 weeks, but can be done earlier if there are risk factors for gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes can cause problems for the mother and baby during pregnancy and after birth, so it is important to be screened. During the test, mom is asked to drink a concentrated sugar solution. After an hour, mom’s blood is drawn and blood sugar levels are tested. If the results are abnormal, typically a 3 hour glucose tolerance test is performed.
Enjoy every minute of the second trimester and your growing baby, you have so much to look forward to! Also consider joining us for one of our prenatal or birth classes.
Source: Understanding Pregnancy: A Comprehensive Guide. (2012). InJoy Productions, Inc.Learn More
If you’re helping a friend who thinks she’s pregnant, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some ideas to help you in knowing how to best support your friend during this time.
How You Can Help Your Pregnant Friend
1. Make sure she knows she’s not alone and you are there to support her.
2. Don’t pressure her. Listen to her concerns and fears and recognize that this is a stressful time.
3. Connect her to one of our locations where she can have her pregnancy confirmed with a lab quality test and find out how far along she is with an ultrasound. Come along to her appointment with her to provide support.
4. Encourage her to take her time in making a decision and talk to others who have made each choice–abortion, adoption, and parenting.
5. Continue to be her friend regardless of whether you agree with the decision she makes for her pregnancy.
When helping your friend, it is also important to remember that this is her pregnancy and she will be most impacted by the choices she makes. While you can share your opinions with her, it is important to be ready to listen, ask questions that will help her process, and to reinforce that you are there to support her.
Schedule an Appointment
Schedule an appointment at one of our centers today (with your friend’s permission of course).Learn More