Welcome to the last trimester of pregnancy. In this article, we will explore the topics like when does the third trimester start, symptoms of third trimester pregnancy, help you with the third trimester checklist, and much more. So, brace yourself, and get on board.
When Is Third Trimester Of Pregnancy?
A full-term pregnancy is ideally 40 weeks. However, this can differ for some. For example, if you are carrying twins, your full term will be considered as 36 weeks. While in the case of a singleton pregnancy, the full term can sometimes even be at week 41 – 42.
Your third trimester of pregnancy starts at week 28 and lasts till you reach full-term. You are almost at the finishing line, and your reward – your baby's gentle touch and cute smile await on the other side.
What Are The Third Trimester Symptoms?
Remember the second trimester? And how peaceful it was? Well, as the pregnancy approaches the full term and the baby's weight increases, the discomfort that comes with the additional weight also keeps increasing. So, here is what you can expect in the third trimester weeks.
- Nausea – Nausea and morning sickness subsides after the first trimester, but at times it tends to come back in the last trimester for some. This mostly happens if you are expecting twins or multiples.
- Headache – In the last trimester, anything, literally anything, can trigger a headache. Strong smell, foods, change in temperature, etc. Eating healthy and exercising regularly can help you in keeping this under control.
- Diarrhoea - The rectum muscles loosen up a few weeks before you deliver your baby. In addition, if you have been eating healthy and having more fibre in your diet, you will tend to have a loose stool than usual. But if it is watery and feels like a stomach bug, you need to consult your doctor immediately.
- Abdominal achiness – This symptom usually starts in the second trimester of the pregnancy and lasts till the term-end. Also known as ligament pain, your lower abdomen might experience some pain as the ligaments stretch to support your growing belly.
- Lightning crotch – No one is really sure why this happens, but as your pregnancy approaches full term, you will notice that your crotch area lightens in colour.
- Fatigue – Your body is doing the massive task of growing a life inside it. Thus it is natural to feel fatigued and exhausted more often.
- Heartburn – Towards the end of your third trimester, heartburn and acid reflux will be back and at their maximum. Do not take any over-the-counter medication without consulting your doctor first.
- Insomnia – The pressure on the bladder, constant washroom trips, backache, leg cramps – all the discomfort will kick in towards the end of the third trimester, and getting sound uninterrupted sleep might not be possible.
- Clumsiness – The pregnancy hormones will make you forget things, make you a little goofy and clumsy at times. It is completely normal and happens with most expecting moms. Have a good laugh at your clumsiness, and let the phase pass!
- Lack of bladder control – The uterus puts constant pressure on the bladder, thus urging you to have bathroom trips more often.
- Leaky breasts – The milk supply in your breasts start even before you deliver your baby. Your body is preparing for childbirth, and you might have breast leaking during pregnancy third trimester.
- Backpain – Because of the growing frontal weight on your body, the body balance is a little off, and that results in back pains during pregnancy third trimester. Take frequent breaks, lie down on your sides when you have an ache and give your body the deserved rest in this phase.
- Pelvic pain – The baby weights also start to push the pelvis downwards, and you will at times experience pain in your groin area.
- Shortness of breath – The fatigue and exhaustion you experience during the third trimester will also result in shortness of breath at times.
Growth Of Baby In Third Trimester
- Your baby will have limited space to move around, thus the kicks and pokes will be at their max during the third trimester.
- During the 7th & 8th months of your pregnancy, the cartilage will start to transform into bones, and your body will need extra calcium for your baby’s bone development.
- Your baby's digestive system is now fully developed, and the first poop, called meconium, will start to build in your baby's intestines. By week 30, your baby will develop all 5 senses.
- The brain too is developed by now and your baby will start having dreams.
Third Trimester Checklist
- Keep track of fetal movement – Your doctor will ask you to start timing the kicks and movements of your baby. Any sudden changes in the patterns or sudden silence should immediately be notified to your doctor.
- Prenatal visits and tests – You will have more frequent scans towards the end of your term. This is to ensure that your pregnancy is progressing healthy and there are no issues that need to be addressed.
- Take a hospital tour – By this time you should choose the hospital that you want to deliver your baby at. Have a tour of the rooms, the facility to see if you will be comfortable and confident delivering there.
- Buy baby gear – Once the baby arrives, you will not get time to do any shopping. Baby carrier, stroller, crib, pram – whatever you need, NOW is the time to buy those!
- Prepare to breastfeed, if you plan to – If you have plans to breastfeed your baby exclusively, let the hospital know before delivery. Visit a lactation consultant to consult and decide your journey from thereon.
- Learn about the labour – Watch videos, talk to a midwife/doula, talk to your family, talk to your gynaecologist. Be informed about what you are about to experience and be prepared.
- Consider how you’d like to manage labour pain – There are various pain management options available, both in the case of vaginal delivery and c-section delivery. Know your options and decide what would you want to opt for in a normal scenario.
- Get the nursery ready – Again, you will not get time to do this once your baby is already in your arms. Use this CHECKLIST to know what all you need to be prepared for the arrival of your little one.
- Stock your fridge & Pantry – You will not get time to go grocery shopping once there is a newborn in the house. Stock the non-perishables up for up to a month and make arrangements for the daily essentials and perishables delivery at home.
- Plan financially – Think about the whole first year and all the expenses that you would need to plan for. Also, keep a contingency budget in place for any medical requirements during the delivery.
- Pack your hospital bag – Use this easy-to-use CHECKLIST to help you pack your hospital back in advance.
- Cord blood banking – If you have decided to go ahead with cord blood banking, freeze the plan, and inform your hospital in advance.
- Prepare for baby’s first year - Milestones, childcare, cloth diapers, organisers, vaccines, wardrobe, strollers, budgets, celebrations – It is always better to read up, be informed, and have a plan in place for the first year of your newborn.
What Not to Do in Your Third Trimester
- Traveling – Not everyone is advised not to travel during the third trimester, and not all modes of travel are off-limits. But this should be decided in consultation with your gynaecologist depending on your health and medical history.
- Lying on your back – Sleeping or lying for longer hours on your back can put pressure on your organs and can result in complications for you or your baby. It will also result in backache or nausea.
- Hot tubs and saunas – Warm showers can be relaxing during pregnancy, but avoid soaking in hot tubs or using a sauna.
- Exercising in warm temperatures – Keep working out for a healthy delivery, but ensure that your body is not overheated. Work out indoors in a temperature-controlled environment.
- Raw or undercooked foods – A stomach infection at this stage can be harmful to you. Avoid eating any raw or uncooked meats.
- Unpasteurised dairy and juices – Check the labels of the dairy you buy and make sure you are not consuming anything made of unpasteurised milk.
- Heavy lifting & heavy household chores – Pressure on your pelvis, on your back, or in general heavy work is not advised in the third trimester.
- High Heels – The body’s balance during pregnancy is already off because of the frontal weight. High heels can throw that balance off even further, and a fall can be very dangerous for you and your baby.
- High Altitudes – Being in high altitudes can reduce the blood flow and oxygen level in your body, both of which are vital for your baby at this stage.
The utmost care and a balance of healthy eating and working out can help you have a stress-free third trimester and childbirth. Hope you are prepared for the big day and to hold your little one in your arms soon.