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What to Expect in Your Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Posted by Johnson Memorial Health on Oct 13, 2015

We have already covered first trimester and second trimester of pregnancy, and now the end is in sight. To some this is a welcome time, and to others who love being pregnant, it can be a little bittersweet. There is still a lot of development happening as you approach your due date. You'll want to be extra careful to listen to your body and take it easy during this time. Read on to find out what is happening.


What is Happening to My Body?

The third trimester, weeks 28-40, can be challenging. 

Some of the aches and pains return with even more force. Backaches, swollen ankles, and stress about the future are likely a part of everyday life these days. Because your baby is rapidly growing in size, your body is rapidly running out of room! You may experience kicks and pokes that seem more powerful and painful than they did before. Here are a few symptoms you may be experiencing during the final trimester of your pregnancy.

  • achy ligaments
  • fatigue
  • heartburn
  • Braxton Hicks contractions
  • varicose veins
  • stretch marks
  • backache
  • forgetful
  • clumsiness
  • leaky breasts

Doctor's Visits

You'll continue to have regular check ups during the last trimester of your pregnancy. Your appointments will likely be weekly during the last few weeks. Your doctor will be monitoring your weight, measuring your abdomen, and monitoring your blood pressure and urine samples. You may also have a cervical exam to see how far you are dilated. It is especially important that you listen to your body and call your doctor with any questions you have!

You can expect tests for glucose levels and anemia during the last trimester, and you might even have another ultrasound. You'll want to pay close attention to your body and baby during this time. Any changes in the amount of movement you feel is a big concern. Don't hesitate to call your doctor.

You'll know you are near the end when you start waddling or have an unusual discharge. When labor contractions start, they will be much more intense and regular than Braxton Hicks contractions. Be sure to talk to your doctor about when you should call ahead and go to the hospital. Here are just some of the times you should call the doctor to check in.

  • unusual symptoms
  • before taking new medications or vitamins
  • bleeding
  • increased vaginal discharge
  • fever, chills, painful urination
  • headaches
  • changes in eyesight
  • your water breaks
  • regular, painful contractions

What is Happening to Your Baby?

During the last few weeks, your baby will grow from the size of an eggplant to a newborn baby . All babies are different sizes when they are born, so it's hard to estimate what size yours will be. They will start to get baby fat to smooth out that wrinkled skin that protected them in the womb. Your baby continues to mature each day as you approach delivery. Here are a few other milestones that will occur during the third trimester.

  • cartilage turns into bones
  • thin protective skin thickens
  • baby stores their own calcium
  • digestive system starts saving up for that first dirty diaper
  • five senses are fully developed by around week 30
  • brain continues to develop
  • baby turns head down in preparation for delivery

Topics: Maternity Care, Moms