Frequently Asked Questions During the Third Trimester

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The third trimester of pregnancy will be from week 28 to week 40. Some mothers have a longer third trimester. It all depends on when your baby is ready to be born. Your baby will be almost fully developed. During the third trimester, your baby will start to gain weight rapidly. You might also experience Braxton hicks during the third trimester, these are small contractions preparing your body for birth. 


How Will I Know If I Am In Labour?

During the third trimester, you will start to experience Braxton hicks. These can be confused with labour contractions. When labour is approaching there will be a few signs you can look out for. Your amniotic sack will break (your water will break). If the water is clear, it means that everything is normal, and you can wait a bit before rushing to the hospital. If the amniotic fluid is green, yellow, or red it is recommended that you go to the hospital as soon as possible. You might also see a mucus plug coming out with the amniotic fluid, this is normal. The mucus plug was there to protect the baby from bacteria entering the uterus. You will start to feel contractions, these contractions will start to form a pattern. It is important that you time your contractions, this is an indication of how close you are to giving birth. If you experience 2-3 contractions every 10 minutes for 2 hours, it is considered that you are in labour. 


Until When Can I Work?

This will be different for each individual. Every woman has a different pregnancy experience. Some women might need to take time off work earlier than other women. It also depends on your work situation and when your employer would give you time off of work. If there are no serious complications with your pregnancy you can work until the end of your pregnancy. 


What Do I Need To Pack In My Hospital Bag?

Hospitals normally give you a list of things that you need to bring with you. Remember to take any documents or diagnostic tests related to the pregnancy with you. For yourself, you can pack clean pyjamas and underwear. Remember to take into consideration breastfeeding, so it will be best to take pyjamas that can open in the front. Your underwear should be able to hold maternity pads in them. Most hospitals do provide maternity pads after birth. These pads are not very comfortable as they are very large in size. You can also pack your slippers and a gown for when you need to walk around in the hospital. You do not need to pack perfume or deodorants in your toiletry bag as strong scents might upset your baby. Remember to pack diapers, baby wipes, baby blankets and baby clothes for the baby. Most hospitals will give you a newborn baby bag containing the essentials. 


What Can I Expect Post-partum?

Women are not always informed enough about the topic, post-partum period. It is beneficial to speak to your healthcare provider about the post-partum period while you are still pregnant. It is also important to be informed about all the physical and emotional changes you will experience post-partum. It will be beneficial to attend post-partum and breastfeeding groups during pregnancy to gain as much knowledge as possible before having the baby in your arms. 


Who Can Be With Me During Childbirth?

You are allowed to have someone with you that you trust whether it is your husband, a family member or a friend. It is recommended that you take someone who knows you and your needs. You should share your birth plan with this person so that they can accompany you during the process of labour.


What is a Birth Plan?

This is a document that outlines your wishes during labour. This will include the method you will use to cope with pain, whether you want to breastfeed or use a bottle, if you want to move around during labour, where you want to give birth for example at home or in a hospital. It is a document that you can change at any time. It is advised that you speak to your healthcare provider about possible options for you and what they can offer you. 


What Birth Options Do I Have?

There are a lot of different birth options available. You have to decide what you think is best for you and the baby, your healthcare provider can also help you make a decision. You can decide whether you want an epidural while giving birth through your vagina or if you want a caesarean section. You can also decide if you want to be in water (bathtub or pool) and if you want to be on all fours while giving birth. You do not have to lie on your back giving birth, you are allowed to move around and feel what position is best for you. 


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