You’re finally here — your third trimester of pregnancy. There are only a few more weeks left before you officially become a new mom. This time is exciting, but it’s also going to be the most challenging as well. You may think that there’s absolutely no way you can get any bigger, but rest assure, you will gain more weight before it’s over.
Weeks 27 through 40 are the gestational age. Over the next several weeks, your fetus is filling out and is accumulating fat on its body weighing around four to four and a half pounds and reaching around 15 to 17 inches long by your 32nd week. By week 36, your baby is around five to six pounds on average and approximately 16 to 19 inches long. And between 37 to 41 weeks, congratulations, your baby is full term and is ready to come into the world.
Your third trimester is a busy time. It helps to know what you can expect during these final weeks of you being pregnant.
Signs and Symptoms in Your Third Trimester of Pregnancy
As your belly gets a lot bigger, you can expect to sleep less due to being uncomfortable. You’ll experience aches and pains, weight gain and other symptoms. The good news, however, is your morning sickness is probably gone for good now. You’ll begin noticing your baby’s movements more as they become more obvious as your baby is growing.
You’re likely getting excited for the big day, but you’re not done just yet. There are still some more symptoms you may experience before it’s all said and done. These include:
- Braxton Hicks contractions: These are mild contractions you experience in your abdomen that feel like a slight tightness. As you get nearer to your due date, they will become stronger.
- Lack of appetite: You may have less of an appetite in your third trimester, particularly because the growing fetus is placing pressure on your abdomen and there’s not a whole lot of room left for food.
- Heartburn: The valve between your esophagus and stomach is relaxing due to pregnancy hormones allowing stomach acid to backflow into your esophagus which causes heartburn.
- Shortness of breath: Let’s face it; you’ve put on more weight, so you have a lot more to carry around causing you to get winded easily.
- Backache: That extra weight is also putting more pressure on your back causing it to feel sore and achy. There may also be some discomfort in your hips and pelvis with your ligaments loosening up in preparation for labor.
- Frequent urination: Your baby is probably sitting on your bladder at this point causing you to have to urinate more frequently. You may also leak urine from time to time from the extra pressure, particularly when you cough, laugh or sneeze.
- Spider veins or varicose veins: Blood circulation increases causing spider veins (tiny red veins) that show up on your neck, arms and face. You may also start noticing enlarged, gnarled veins on your legs known as varicose veins.
What to Expect During Your Third Trimester of Pregnancy
You will visit your obstetrician more often during your third trimester. They’ll regularly perform some tests and exams such as:
Checking your blood pressure.
Giving you an ultrasound regularly.
Testing your urine for protein.
Checking your legs and hands for swelling.
Measuring your uterus length (fundal height).
Listening to the fetal heart rate.
At this point, that little baby bump you had has now turned into a basketball-sized lump in your abdomen making leg shaving, shoe tying and other activities almost impossible. Your baby’s punching and kicking may lose strength gradually as the utero space becomes tighter.
If you haven’t gone into labor yet, your OB may induce you. However, they may let you go a week or two past your due date.
Pregnancy is an exciting time in your life. To ensure the best possible outcome, you need to see your doctor and/or OB regularly for prenatal care, undergo all recommended tests and take your prenatal vitamins. This will ensure you’re doing everything you’re supposed to be doing to give your new baby the healthiest start in life.