Third Trimester Of Pregnancy: What To Expect And How To Prepare
You’ve made it to your third trimester. What an accomplishment — your body has grown an entire human being over these past several months! Now, you’re anticipating your little one’s delivery and in the homestretch before your due date.
In this article, the baby experts at Mustela provide a list of what to expect and how to prepare during your third trimester.
Third Trimester Basics
The third trimester lasts from week 28 to week 40, or months seven, eight, and nine. You will finally meet your little one during this time!
Most women gain around 11 pounds during their third trimester. Of course, every woman is different, so give or take a few pounds.
You’ll also experience some anticipation and anxiousness while waiting to meet your little one. And remember those yucky first trimester symptoms? Be prepared for some of those to symptoms to reappear during this trimester.
Third Trimester: What To Expect
Your body is gearing up for delivery. Expect several changes during these last three months.
Lack Of Appetite
Your belly will fill up faster now due to the pressure of your growing baby pushing against your abdomen. Liquids fill your stomach quickly, leaving less room for food. So when eating a meal, just sip on liquids rather than drinking a whole glass.
We suggest eating several small meals and snacks throughout this trimester. This allows you to get the nutrition needed to support you and your little one without making you feel bloated.
In your second trimester, you experienced round ligament pain. You will continue to feel these growing pains, but they may now be accompanied by sharper aches as well. This is normal as your round ligaments continue to stretch.
High Blood Pressure
Changes in your blood pressure may occur during this trimester. Your doctor will keep an eye out for preeclampsia, which is a condition that’s marked by high blood pressure in pregnant women who don’t have a history of blood pressure.
Preeclampsia can be serious if not monitored closely, so it’s important to take your doctor’s advice in order to avoid it.
Think about it: you’re carrying more weight than you ever have before. This weight gain took place over only a few months, so back aches are expected.
Because of this pain, typical day-to-day activities may become more difficult during the third trimester. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from friends and family to lessen the strain on your back.
Braxton Hicks Contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions are contractions that occur before real labor. Some women report feeling these contractions even as early as the second trimester.
Your body is gearing up for delivery, so this is something you can expect during the last few months. If these contractions get stronger and more frequent, reach out to your doctor.
Other changes in your body during this time include:
- Occasional headaches
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Mild swelling in your ankles or feet
- Varicose veins
- Shortness of breath
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Itchy abdomen
- Enlarged and leaky breasts
- Crazy dreams
- Lack of bladder control
- Pelvic pressure
- Difficulty sleeping
How are you doing? You may or may not be able to answer this question.
Your emotions may level out at this trimester, and you’ve reached the point of relaxation. (Yay, your baby’s coming soon!) Or the complete opposite can happen. Maybe you’ve reached the point of heightened anxiety. You’ve become frantic in your emotions and thoughts, trying to get every last-minute detail handled.
Both of these emotions are completely normal. Additional emotional changes during this time include:
- Increased excitement
- Increased apprehension
- Continued absentmindedness
- Dreaming about your baby
- Increased eagerness
- Relief that you’re almost there
- Irritability and oversensitivity
- Impatience and restlessness
You’ll be meeting your little one before you know it! Your baby’s brain is growing and developing off the charts during the third trimester. Check out some of your baby’s big milestones during this time.
- Lungs nearing maturity
- Growing brain and brain connections (processing information, tracking light, and perceiving signals from all five senses)
- More defined patterns of awake and sleeping times
- About 18 inches in length (give or take a little)
- About three pounds in weight
- Practicing swallowing and breathing, kicking and sucking
- Skin no longer see-through
- Amniotic fluid maxed out
- Antibodies passing from you to your baby
- Fingernails reaching the tip of their fingers
- Brain cell growth
- Settling into a head-down, bottoms-up position
- About 20 inches in length
- About five-and-a-half pounds in weight
- Most systems fully equipped (circulatory to musculoskeletal)
- Considered full term at 37 weeks
- Fat continuing to accumulate
- Inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid
- Shedding of the vernix and lanugo
- Growth starting to slow down
- Baby’s head dropping into your pelvis
- 19 to 22 inches in length
- Six to nine pounds in weight
Your Doctor’s Appointments
You will see your doctor every two weeks starting at 28 weeks through 36 weeks. After 36 weeks, you’ll visit your doctor every week to keep a close eye on you and your baby. Expect the following at your appointments during the third trimester:
- Weight and blood pressure check
- Urine check for sugar and protein
- Fetal heartbeat monitoring
- Measurement of height of fundus (top of your uterus)
- Measurement of size and position of your baby
- Checks for feet and hand swelling
- Leg checks for varicose veins
- Glucose screening test (you’ll have to drink a certain type of liquid and wait an hour to get your blood taken)
- Blood test for anemia
- Checking cervix
- Discussing any symptoms you’ve been having
- Questions (have a list ready)
Third Trimester: How To Prepare
Since you’ll be giving birth to your bundle of joy at the end of this trimester, it’s important to make sure everything is in place before delivery. The baby experts at Mustela have a few items on the agenda when it comes to being prepared during your last trimester.
Hospital Classes And Tours
Your local hospital has several classes for you to choose from, including birthing classes, breastfeeding classes, and CPR classes. If this is something you’re interested in, be sure to contact the hospital to find out the dates to schedule your class.
Additionally, consider touring the hospital before giving birth. They’ll show you everything from where to go to what they’ll do once you arrive. Your partner may want to join you on this tour as a way of bonding and being prepared.
You’re due any day now, and you’ll want to be prepared. Pack your overnight bag, along with the diaper bag containing all of your baby’s essentials.
You may also want to consider packing your Mustela Maternity Skincare Set to continue your skin care routine at the hospital and your Body Firming Gel to use after birth to help tone and firm your skin.
If you have any other children, they will likely need to spend a couple of days at a trusted babysitter’s house while you are in the hospital. Prepare an overnight bag that’s ready to go for them as well. After all, you wouldn’t want to go into labor and start scrambling to get everything packed!
Installing The Car Seat
You will need to have a car seat installed sometime during the third trimester. Check with your local law enforcement office and schedule a car seat inspection before delivery. We know that making sure your little one is safe while traveling is a top priority!
Planning For Waiting
Once you’re admitted to the hospital, it might become a waiting game. You really have no idea how long you’ll be waiting, so be prepared by bringing books or some form of entertainment to keep your mind off the pain.
Check out any last-minute items on your list that you wanted to accomplish before your baby arrives. Getting the nursery and closet ready and washing clothes are just a few last-minute ideas. Also, purchase any additional items for your little one that you didn’t receive from your baby shower.
Enjoy Your Third Trimester
We know this is a lot of information to take in, but don’t worry if everything is not fully in place before the baby comes. For the past nine months, you’ve been gearing up and preparing for this moment. You’re ready! Welcome your baby into the world with open arms and an open heart.