Your Pregnancy Part 3: The Third Trimester
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!