By the time you get into the third trimester, the belly will be very big. However, there is still a lot of growing expected during the third trimester because most organs already developed.
For some people, it might feel like the belly has hit the optimal point; however, it will grow even bigger. In fact, a lot bigger! The following are top changes to anticipate during the third trimester.
Third trimester time frame
The third trimester starts in the 28th week of your pregnancy and extends all through until you give birth or around the 40th week. For many people, labour starts a few weeks before birth and doctors may have to induce it if you hit 42nd week.
Well, the journey has been long, and you are almost there.
Baby’s growth and development during the third trimester
The baby’s growth is optimal during the third trimester; from about 2.5lbs and 16 inches long by close of the second trimester to about 8 pounds and 2 inches by the end of the 40th week. Therefore, you can anticipate feeling a little pressed because of the extra growth and regular kicks.
Additional developments taking place in the unborn baby during the third trimester:
- Hardening of bones: All the bones that were forming during the second and first trimesters were cartilages and will now be hardened to become really strong between the seventh and eight months. At this point, you should ensure to consume a lot of calcium rich foods.
- Hair, nails, and skin forms: The translucent skin that covered the body during the second trimester will become opaque as more layers of skin develop under it by the 32nd week. Additional fat will continue accumulating in the subsequent 6 weeks, and the waxy protective cover (vernix) and hairy coat shed off to reveal the skin your baby will be born with. However, even this skin will still be shed off months after birth.
- The digestive system starts accumulating meconium (commonly called the first poo) that comprises of red blood cells and lanungo to protect the intestine and prepare it for first outside the womb feeding.
- The five senses: By the time you are 29-30th week pregnant; all the five signals are fully developed and well-coordinated. The baby can taste what you consume and even respond to sound. He can blink, turn the head and even grasp firmly using hands.
- Shifting position: As the third trimester nears to close or around the 34th week, the baby’s body turns around so that the head faces southwards in preparation for birth. If the baby remains in a different position, the physician will try to turn it so that the head faces down weeks before birth.
- Stronger antibodies addition: One notable thing by the 37th week is that the mother’s body pumps a lot of antibodies into the baby and keeps doing so until birth.
- Rapid weight gain: By the time the baby is 35th week, all the parts are becoming chubby, and it is a time of rapid weight gain. The baby might gain about 1/2 lbs every week for the subsequent month.
- Rapid brain development: by the 37th week, the baby’s brain will have grown and even test various skills such as blinking, dreaming and thermal regulation.
Changes to expect in Mom’s body during the third trimester
As the baby bump gets bigger and reaches the optimal level, the following are the changes you should anticipate;
- Abdominal achiness: Because of the growing baby and fast accumulating weight, there is a possibility of feeling some sharp pain as ligaments supporting the lower abdomen adjust.
- Fatigue: The emerging demands of pregnancy put the body into a lot of pressure for nutrients, protection, and preparation for the period after birth. Therefore, you will grow tired fast because of the double roles (caring the baby and your body). Make sure to take enough food and stay active.
- Regular heartburns: As the baby bump becomes larger and larger, it presses the stomach upwards, and you keep feeling like its contents want to come out. If it becomes too much, a physician can assist you to control it with the use of PPIs.
- Braxton Hick Contractions: These are irregular contractions that take place in the body as it prepares for the real labour.
- Stretch marks: These are tiny marks like tears that appear at the points that your skin is being overstretched by the growing bump. They may also appear in other areas such as hands, breasts, thighs, and back where the body is putting extra weight.
- Poor bladder control: Everything you do, from sneezing, stretching or other activity that puts some pressure down there will make you feel like peeing. Make sure to take your daily Kegels regimen to be able to control the bladder.
- Leaking breasts: This is common in the entire third trimester as the body starts preparing to supply the baby not through the placenta, but through the mother’s breasts.
Even if the symptoms become severe during the last part of the third trimester, know that you are about to get over with a great reward; the new baby.
Symptoms that require medical attention
As the delivery date draws nearer, there is a high, likelihood that false labour signs such as these will emerge;
- Lightening: Here, you feel the baby swaying back and forth as if it is about to drop from the pelvis by around the 36th week.
- Labour contractions: When you compare these to the Braxton Hicks contractions, they intensify as opposed to ebbing out.
- Water breaking and running down: This means that the baby is about to be born within a few hours.
The doctor will explain to you the right time to check into the hospital. This will be around the time when labour begins.
However, apart from these labour signs, the following symptoms should be attended to by a physician:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Severe abdominal pain
- Always remember that it is better to call a doctor when unsure of anything and not trusting your instincts at this stage.
Things to do during the third trimester
- Carefully monitor your weight to ensure you are taking the right meals and not gaining a lot.
- Carry on with fitness training as long as you can and your doctor approves of it. This is important to keep your body in the right shape and prepare it for childbirth.
- Have the doctor carry regular checks including anaemia, glucose levels, and others to ensure everything is okay. Other important tests include effacement and dilation, and non-stress test some weeks to delivery.
- A hospital tour to the facility of birthing will help you plan more effectively. Extend this by holding an interview with your practitioner.
- Ensure to have all the baby gear essentials that you will take with you to the hospital (the car seat, stroller, and crib).
- Take time learning what takes place after delivery so that the body completely adjusts to the new settings. For example, learn what happens to the body 12 hours after delivery, 24 hours after delivery, and days after delivery.
- Learn how to breastfeed: Well this may sound obvious; but it is not. Consider digging more info on breastfeeding or even take a class.
- Talk to the doctor about the stages of labour you will go through: This will prepare you well so that you can know when it is time to check in for delivery.
- Set out an appropriate budget because you will not be able to work during the last weeks of the third trimester and months after delivery.
- Pack the hospital bag: This should have the most important first baby items that you will need including baby’s clothes, diapers, wipes, and pacifier among others.