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Your Guide to the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

So I’m sure you’re at the stage in your pregnancy where you feel like there isn’t any possible way your stomach can get any bigger. Well take it from me, it can and it will! In the third trimester, your belly will almost double in size as your little peanut gains most of his weight in these last three months. So what should you expect from this third and final trimester?

When does it start?

The third trimester begins at 28 weeks and lasts up until the end of your pregnancy, which is 40 weeks if you’re lucky! A lot of first time moms tend to go a little past the 40-week mark. Around 50% of all babies are later than their expected due date. One good thing is that most midwives don’t let you go ten days past due if you make it to 42 weeks your physician will induce labor if it doesn’t start on its own, only to make sure the baby comes out in time.

Woman in third trimester

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But in the meantime, remember this is the home stretch, and you are almost at that finish line!

How does your baby grow during the third trimester?

Your precious baby will do A LOT of growing in the final three months. Going from 2.5 pounds and 16 inches long at week 28 to around 8 to 9 pounds and 22 inches long by 40 weeks! This month calls for a baby growth spurt! So don’t let it surprise you when the kicks to the ribs and the gut get a little more prominent as he starts to run out of room in there!

Take a look at some of the fun highlights of this trimester brought to us by!

  • BonesAs your baby transforms cartilage to bone in months 7 and 8, he’ll be getting all of her calcium from you — so be sure to eat plenty of calcium-rich foods.
  • Hair, skin, and nailsBy week 32 of pregnancy, baby’s formerly see-through skin will become opaque. In week 36, fat continues to accumulate as your baby sheds his vernix (the waxy substance that protects his skin from your amniotic fluid) and lanugo (the hairy coat that keeps him warm in there).
  • Digestive systemIn the final weeks of pregnancy, meconium — or baby’s first poop, consisting mostly of blood cells, vernix and lanugo — starts to build up in baby’s intestines.
  • Five Senses: Your baby’s touch receptors will be fully developed around week 29 or week 30. By week 31 of pregnancy, your baby will get signals from all five senses, perceiving light and dark, tasting what you eat, and listening to the sound of your voice.
  • BrainIn the third trimester your baby’s brain will grow faster than ever, test-driving some nifty skills including blinking, dreaming and regulating his own body temperature.

If you use their baby app, it lists out all of these exciting developments!

Around 34 weeks is when most babies will turn around, and their heads will be facing downward, a baby still in the head up position is called breached. Most doctors will try to turn your baby manually if they stay in the breached position past 36 weeks.

Body changes to expect this trimester

Lady in third trimester

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  • Abdominal aches and pains: As your round ligaments (which support your lower abdomen) stretch to accommodate your growing baby bump, you may feel crampy or sharp pain. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do other than taking it easy.
  • Diastasis Recti: This is a condition that not all women experience during pregnancy but for the unlucky few this is where your ab muscles split apart due to your growing bump. This tear can be anywhere from a mild pain to a sharp pain and will last until after pregnancy when it has the chance to heal
  • Fatigue: You’ll feel more drained this trimester because of the demands pregnancy is putting on your body, so make sure you are eating well, staying active (without overdoing it), and after your activity is over, REST!
  • Heartburn: In the last few weeks of pregnancy, your uterus will push your stomach upward, causing that persistent awful burn. If it’s bothering you, talk to your doctor about any types of antacids you can take.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions: This is your body’s way of preparing for labor, you’ll start to feel these irregular “practice” contractions now until real labor starts. And trust me, when real labor starts, you will know the difference!
  • Stretch marks: These tiny tears, which appear on skin that’s being stretched to its limit during pregnancy. Stretch marks are usually the result of genetics, and if you’re prone to them, there isn’t a way to avoid them. Make sure you moisturize every day to minimize the color.
  • Back pain: As your joints loosen and your growing belly pulls your center of gravity forward, you may start to have an achy back — another reason to put your feet up. (Sharp, shooting pain from your back down your legs, on the other hand, may be a sign of sciatica.)
  • Clumsiness: Your hormones are on overdrive, your belly is throwing you off balance, and you’re more forgetful than ever. You’re in good (pregnant) company, just try to take it slow and remember to keep a positive attitude!
  • Lack of bladder control: You sneeze = you pee. All that extra weight on your bladder makes it harder to stay dry.
  • Breasts leaking: Your body’s starting to prepare for feeding your baby.

With all of these symptoms coming your way, along with trouble sleeping and getting comfortable, especially if your third trimester falls within the summer months. Just try to keep your eye on the big prize and know that in the end all of these aches and pains are completely worth it when your little baby is finally in your arms.

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