Learn all about the third trimester of pregnancy. From signs & symptoms to medical tests performed AND from what to wear to possible pregnancy complications.
If you are reading this, then you may nearly be there! Yay!! The third
trimester is a mixed bag of treats with some good and some not so good side
effects for you.
Your mind is probably popping with so many questions, a few of these
might seem weird and your brain is running so fast that you want answers
Your questions and concerns might even be keeping you awake at night
(although that could also be the giant kicking baby and the frequent need to
Hopefully here are some of your queries answered.
of the Third trimester of Pregnancy
The third trimester of pregnancy starts from week 28 of
pregnancy until week 40 of pregnancy.
Week 40 is considered to be the week that babies should come out, but
in truth anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks is normal.
Apparently, only 5% of babies
will actually be born on their due date, so it is obviously more of an estimate
than normality. Not coming out on the due date will be the first of very many
things that your child decides to do to surprise you (and show you who is
really the boss!)
you be experiencing during the third trimester?
Because of the baby’s size the
closer you get to term the more uncomfortable you might be.
Sleeping becomes harder because
the baby’s more active moments will often wake you up. You will be going to the
toilet more often because your bladder has less room. You will probably also be
eating little meals across the day rather than three big ones because your
stomach is a bit squished too.
With most of the weight and your centre of gravity out in
front of you, you will find it hard to walk and balance, and you may also have
increased back pain. You need to be more careful and stop lifting heavy items
or climbing up onto chairs or ladders
because your balance won’t be as reliable as before.
Your hips and pelvis may start
to ache a little as they loosen up for labour. A heat pack on your back may
help to relieve some pain, as can taking paracetamol.
You may find it more
comfortable and supportive for your back if you sleep on your side with a
pillow under your belly as well as one between your knees.
Your baby may ‘drop’ as he is
getting in the right position for labour, but some women never really
experience this feeling, so don’t worry if it doesn’t happen for you.
You may feel false labour contractions or ‘Braxton Hicks’ increasingly throughout this trimester. They
shouldn’t be very painful, just uncomfortable, and they should not become
regular or get increasingly closer together. False labour has less of a pattern
to it than real labour when it starts.
But if you are worried that
real labour may have started, contact your maternity ward for advice.
following are a few common signs and symptoms during the third trimester of
You can become increasingly
fatigued the closer you get to the end of this time. It is important to
continue to look after yourself as best you can, eating as nutritionally as
possible, getting small amounts of sunshine each day, and some light exercise
as well if you can manage it. Rest or nap whenever you can and put your feet up
often as well.
Weight Gain in the 3rd Trimester
Your weight gain during the third trimester is a little less than the
second trimester, and should only be around 1-2 kg each month, or no more than
5kg for the entire trimester. If you gain a lot more or a lot less than this,
talk to your doctor.
your baby up to in the third trimester?
Your baby will be fully formed by this trimester, which is why it has a
chance of survival even if born at anytime from
now on. It has all of the functioning bits and bobs it needs, through the third
trimester it will mainly grow bigger, put on fat, and gain strength.
He will get better at stretching and kicking
you, his lungs will get ready to take breaths outside of the amniotic sac, and
he will open his eyes.
Babies on average will be around 50
cm long and weigh around 3.2 kg at the end of the third trimester, but
their actual sizes can vary a lot.
Tests during the Third Trimester
The following medical tests
are very important and have to be performed during the third trimester of
pregnancy. Every pregnant woman is expected to get them done:
Group B streptococcus culture
RhoGam (Rh-ve mothers)
of these Medical Tests
These tests act as a
"final checkpoint" of wellbeing as a pregnant woman gets closer to
the time of delivery. These tests help prevent passing on infectious diseases
to the foetus as well as preventing loss during subsequent pregnancies.
Complications in the third trimester
If you notice spotting or bleeding during this trimester it could be a
sign that something is wrong, and maybe
an indication of placenta previa, placental abruption or pre-term labour. It
may also be nothing to worry about, but if you experience spotting make sure
that you contact your doctor.
You may be susceptible to UTC’s during this time because of frequent urination.
If you experience any pain or burning when you wee, contact your doctor.
You may suffer from haemorrhoids, which are varicose veins around your
anus, especially if you are suffering from constipation as well. The extra
blood flow around your vagina and anus as
well as your general reduction in hydration because the baby is taking all of
your fluids may make it difficult to pass stools. The fact that all of your
muscles are relaxing ready for labour may also cause constipation.
Drink as much water as possible to keep hydrated and talk to your
pharmacist about an over-the-counter stool softener if you need it.
This is a condition that can happen in the later stages of pregnancy,
or sometimes immediately after giving birth. It is characterised by high blood
pressure, swelling and protein in the urine, but usually women with it can feel perfectly fine beforehand. If it
occurs, however, the baby and placenta
need to be delivered immediately as both the mother and baby can be in danger.
If you experience sudden dramatic swelling, severe headache, dizziness
or blurred vision, nausea or vomiting these can all be signs of preeclampsia,
which needs immediate attention, so make sure you contact your doctor.
As a good
rule, you should contact your doctor if you experience any of the following
during this trimester:
Severe abdominal pain or cramps
Severe nausea or vomiting
Pain or burning during urination
Rapid weight gain (more than 4kg per month) or too little weight gain.
you might have during the Third Trimester
1. How long
should you keep working?
Most women will finish work around 3-4 weeks before their due date. When
you finish working will vary from woman to woman.
If your doctor considers you to be a high-risk pregnancy it may be
advisable to start your maternity leave sooner rather than later. It may be
better for you to rest up to make sure your baby stays in until he is full-term
and you don’t run the risk of complications like high blood pressure or
2. Is sexual
Sexual intercourse is considered safe, but some doctors may recommend
avoiding sexual intercourse in the third
trimester as it may cause premature rupture of membranes (your water bag)
particularly in high-risk patients.
Most couples, however, will continue to enjoy sexual intercourse right
up to when the baby is born, and it has been known to help bring on labour when
a baby is overdue.
You may start looking more beautiful and attractive than ever.
Pregnancy brings that glow to women which you can't have when you’re back in
your extra small or small size. So, enjoy this time to start wearing extra-large
sizes of clothing, and a nice big size of slippers.
Try to make yourself
comfortable by selecting soft, light clothing and don't forget to have lots of
undergarments as you may start discharging soon. You might want to wear liners
in your underwear to absorb extra discharge. Read more on what to wear when you are pregnant here.
my water breaks?
Despite all the talk about it, in less than 10% of pregnancies will the
waters break before contractions begin, so you are unlikely to be suddenly
surprised by this happening. It is not like the movies where that always seems
to be the first sign of a baby coming.
In most pregnancies, your doctor
may have to break the amniotic sac for you during labour to move things along.
If your waters do break however contact your doctor immediately, as
this means labour needs to start because the baby is not as protected in the
womb anymore and needs to come out.
Welcome to Babyinfo – the ultimate pregnancy and newborn information guide. We are here to help you find all the pregnancy and baby info you need to make the most beautiful experience of your life even better.
Our team is comprised of an amazing mix of experienced mothers, recently pregnant women, and editors with tremendous medical knowledge in the fields of gynaecology and childbirth.
Think of us as your friendly advisors, here to give you honest, easy to understand and authentic information. We are here to be your support at this crucial time in your life, when you need it the most.
Note: This website is in no way meant to replace doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare providers that may be utilized by current mothers or mothers-to-be. All mothers are advised to see a doctor for medical advice and the appropriate care before, during, and after pregnancy.