Your Third trimester guide

Congratulations, you’re almost home! You will soon welcome a beautiful new member to your family. You may be feeling more tired and uncomfortable these last weeks, but you have a lot to look forward to!

How are you feeling?
How are you feeling?

how are you feeling

The same problems that you faced during the second trimester will continue in the third trimester as well. Also, many expectant mothers have trouble breathing and need to go to the bathroom more often. Because your baby is growing and putting more pressure on your organs. There is nothing to worry about. Your baby is fine and these problems will subside after your baby is born. 

Common symptoms 

Although no two pregnancies are the same, you may experience some symptoms during the third trimester. The symptoms are as follows:

  • heartburn
  • Bleeding
  • Breathing problems
  • Breast tenderness
  • umbilical cord prolapse
  • sleep problems
  • Swelling of fingers, face and ankles 

self care

As your baby reaches full term, you may experience more discomfort in the third trimester than in the second trimester. The following methods can be used to manage these discomforts by first consulting your healthcare provider. Remember, you should always base your decisions on priorities and what is readily available at hand.

  • Ask your healthcare provider for advice on dietary and lifestyle changes for heartburn. If these do not help, medications such as antacids can be used to treat distressing symptoms.
  • In case of sleep problems, try using pillows for your whole body or just for specific areas to help reduce tension while you rest.

Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly is very important during the third trimester and even throughout pregnancy. Maintain your regular physical exercise routine. But never tire yourself. As a general rule, you should be able to carry on a conversation while working. Always consult your healthcare provider about exercise during pregnancy. A variety of foods should be eaten to ensure adequate energy, fiber, vitamins and minerals. 

What to eat during pregnancy

Braxton Hicks (false labor pains)

You may experience some pain during the third trimester. This pain can be a sign of true or false labor. “False labor” pains are called Bracton Hicks and are your body’s way of preparing for real labor. This can lead to feelings similar to their periods or abdominal cramps.

There is no treatment for Bracton Hicks. But there are things you can do to ease the discomfort. These are as follows:

  • drinking water
  • Changing your physical position (if you are lying down, try walking and vice versa)
  • Relax by taking a nap, reading a book or listening to soothing music.

If the pain doesn’t go away after these and if you experience more frequent or severe pain, contact your healthcare provider.

going for delivery 

Most mothers give birth between 38 and 41 weeks of pregnancy. But there is no way to know the exact time when you will give birth. 

When the pain begins, the uterus begins to dilate and the uterine muscles begin to contract at regular intervals and over time they come closer together. The contractions feel like menstruation. But it gets more intense. As your uterus contracts, you may feel pain in your back or pelvis, and your stomach may feel tight. As the uterus dilates, your belly will soften again.

Besides contractions, there are a few other signs of the onset of pain. These are as follows:

  • Lightheadedness (the feeling that your fetus is gradually descending)
  • Loss of mucous membranes (you will notice an increase in pink discharge)
  • Water breaks (membrane rupture.

It’s important to note that you may not notice some of these changes before labor pains begin. If you think you may be in labor, contact your healthcare provider. 


How is your child growing?

In the final stages of development, your baby is getting ready to leave the womb. Things that happen between the third trimester and the onset of birth are as follows:

  • The eye perceives changes in light
  • Some hair may grow on the head
  • Can kick, grab and stretch the body
  • Limbs begin to plump and round
  • Bones begin to harden
  • The circulatory system is fully formed
  • Muscles are fully formed
  • Lungs, brain and nervous system develop
  • Fat continues to accumulate.

Fetal growth can vary significantly due to various factors. But by the beginning of the third trimester, your baby is about 35 centimeters (14 inches) long and weighs about 1 to 2 kilograms (2 to 4 pounds). When you give birth, your newborn will be about 46 to 51 centimeters (18 to 20 inches) long and weigh more than 3 kilograms (7 pounds) [data from Cleveland Clinic]. For information in your home country, please check with your Ministry of Health.

When should I see a health care provider?

During your third trimester, you should visit the health care provider 5 times. These are at 30 weeks, 34 weeks, 36 weeks, 38 weeks and 40 weeks. For advice in your home country, please check with your Ministry of Health.


Things you need to watch out for 

Because every woman’s pregnancy experience is different, you should talk to your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Headaches as well as spots or flashing lights that don’t go away
  • Sudden or severe swelling
  • Decreased fetal movement (your baby should move every day)
  • Your water has broken and you don’t have pain issues
  • Constant pain between contractions.

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