The Third Trimester

The Big Day is almost here and you are bound to feel a bit more tired, with your mood flipping between excitement and worry. The third trimester of pregnancy will run from 28 to 40 weeks, though remember that your baby could arrive 2 weeks before or after your expected due date. Your feet and hands may also begin to swell at this point with bathroom breaks becoming more frequent as your unborn baby grows and descends into your pelvis. This position is important for normal delivery and might be monitored regularly by your doctor which could mean frequent antenatal visits. S/he should also take you through what to expect on that Big Day, warning signs to look out for, the difference between Braxton Hicks Contractions and real contractions and the reasons that could lead to an emergency cesarean section and anything else you might be worried about. We will however, cover some of it this week.

If you haven’t finished your preparations for your baby try to do so earlier on in the trimester before the baby weight begins to slow you down. It is also important to decide on the hospital you will like to deliver from and your preferred method of delivery. When looking at the cost of delivery, remember to look at the cost for both normal and cesarean sections just in case you might have an emergency. If you are going to pay using insurance
it is important to notify your insurance company of your expected due date and chosen delivery hospital. This will give them time to send an authorization letter and/or email to the hospital so that whennurse you go into labour you are not delayed at the admissions desk.

In addition, if you have any preferences for a pediatrician it is important that you choose one as well though the hospital could also assign one for you.

Now that we know what you should expect during this trimester, here is an estimate week by week guide on the changes your baby is going through. Bear in mind that majority of your baby’s changes will be an increase in size.

Week 28:
At this point your baby is about 1.1 kgs in weight and around 10 inches long. S/he is able to open and close her/his eyes which now have eyelashes.

Week 29:
By now your baby’s bones have fully developed though they are still a bit soft. S/he’s muscles have also begun to strengthen. As your baby continuous to gain weight you might begin to feel out of breathe as the uterus crowds your lungs. You could try to sit as comfortable and upright as possible to create more space in your abdomen. This should however, reduce once your baby drops into your pelvis.

Week 30:
Hurray, only 10 more weeks left to go. Your baby should be about 1.4 kgs in weight now and his/her features should be more distinguishable on an ultrasound.

Week 31:
Your little angel is beginning to run out of room weighing in at around 1.5kgs and expecting to gain about 200 grams a week moving forward. S/he’s nervous system has also developed to the point that it can now help regulate your baby’s temperature. It’s important to monitor your baby’s movements to enable you to spot any potential problems. If you don’t have a kick count chart by now ask your doctor to give you one in your next clinic visit and remember to ask how to use it.

Week 32:
By now your baby weighs about 1.7 kgs with the layer of lanugo which used to keep your baby warm beginning to shed off. Your baby is also practicing to breathe as s/he takes in the amniotic fluid into his/her lungs to help them develop.

Week 33:
Your unborn baby is about the same size as a pineapple and getting bigger each day.

Week 34:
Your baby has most probably begun to descend downwards into your pelvic in preparation for birth. This will be a welcome move for your lungs though not for your bladder which will mean frequent bathroom breaks.

Week 35:
By now your baby’s kidneys will have fully developed with liver function already in action. Your baby’s weight gain speed might also increase to around 250 grams a week moving forward.

Week 36:
Your baby is about 18.5 inches now and gaining more weight with each passing week.

Week 37:
By now your baby’s head should have descended downwards into your pelvic in preparation for delivery.

Week 38:
Congratulations, at this point your baby is considered to be full term. Labour could be any time now.

Week 39:
As your baby continues to gain weight, try and relax and rest up as much as possible.

Week 40:
The due date is here. Your baby’s expected minimum birth weight is usually around 2.5kgs, but bear in mind that this may vary upwards or downwards for different healthy baby’s and your doctor will let you know if there is any need for concern. If you reach week 40 and do not experience any signs of labour don’t worry, it is possible for your due date to delay by two weeks. Talk this over with your doctor who will be best placed to establish if there is any need to induce.

pregnant-1427856_960_720To cope with the growing strain of the 3rd trimester, here are a few tips you could consider:
a) If you are still working (especially in the last month of pregnancy) take some short breaks to put your feet up and relax.
b) Eat healthy, small and frequent meals to help keep your energy up and to help with heartburn if present.
c) If possible take a short walk each day to keep yourself active. You could also do this after work with your spouse.
d) You might find it hard to do certain activities so don’t feel shy to ask for or accept help where possible.
e) If you notice anything that feels off or concerning you could always call your doctor to confirm that all is well.

During the 3rd trimester you are bound to experience some Braxton hicks contractions which are false contractions. To be able to tell the difference, bear in mind that real contractions:
a) Will be in regular intervals;
b) Will increase in intensity with each new contraction;
c) Will not subside with movements;
d) Might be accompanied with your water breaking; and
e) Will include cramping pain which starts from your back and moves forward.
However, when in doubt feel free to call your doctor.

What was the most memorable thing for you about the third trimester? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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