What to Expect During The Third Trimester

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If you are in your third trimester, congratulations you are in your final trimester before giving birth!

The third trimester is between week 28 and week 40. During this time, it will be a good idea to get everything ready for your baby’s arrival. Consult with your healthcare provider about your birth options and how you can prepare for your and your baby’s birth. 


Pregnancy At Week 28

Your uterus would have grown a lot over the past weeks and might cause discomfort pushing against your rib cage. Lower back pain might also give you discomfort during this time. You might also experience haemorrhoids during this time caused by your growing uterus.

Your baby is +- 376mm and weighs +- 1 kg. Your baby will start to develop eyelashes and open their eyes partially. The baby will experience REM (rapid eye movement) when they are dreaming. The baby’s central nervous system will be able to regulate its body temperature. Toenails will start to be visible. Your baby will now have more body fat which will give their skin a smooth appearance. Your baby’s body and head hair are developed.


Pregnancy During Week 29  

Breathing may become challenging, and you might find yourself getting out of breath more quickly as the baby exerts pressure on your lungs. Additionally, you could experience leg cramps and notice the development of varicose veins. It's not uncommon for your belly button to protrude, but this usually returns to normal after giving birth. It's crucial to prioritise rest during this period to prepare your body for childbirth.

At this stage, your baby is expected to measure around 386 mm and weigh approximately 1.2 kg. The baby's weight can double or even triple in the weeks leading up to birth. All the systems in your baby's body will start maturing in readiness for childbirth, with the head continuing to grow to accommodate the developing brain.


Understanding Pregnancy At Week 30

Pregnancy hormones can still cause your back to ache, so you must rest well during this time. You might experience discomfort moving around with your belly that is growing. Braxton hicks (contractions) can be felt during this time, it is recommended that you speak to your healthcare provider if you experience this. 

Your baby will be +- 399 mm and weigh +- 1.3kg.  The hair on the baby’s head will be more noticeable. Because the baby’s brain can regulate their body temperature, they will start to lose the lanugo hair that helped regulate their temperature. The baby’s eyes will be able to open wide.  Red blood cell production will start to take place in the bone marrow instead of the spleen. 


Your Pregnancy Experience During Week 31

Omega 3 is important for your baby’s brain health during this time. You will feel the need to urinate quite often, and it is better to follow the urge than to hold it back. Delaying urination can lead to bladder infection during this time. Your baby will start to move deeper into your pelvis which will give you the urge to urinate more frequently. 

Your baby will be +- 411mm and weigh +- 1.5kg. The baby’s brain is still developing and sending signals to the body. The development of the baby is almost finished and the baby will start to gain weight rapidly from here on. The irises of the baby’s eyes will be able to contract and dilate in response to light. Your baby might be sleeping for a longer period now. 


Your Experience During Week 32

Here's an interesting fact: The number of centimetres from the top of your pubic bone to the tip of your uterus corresponds to the number of weeks you've been pregnant. You might still experience some swelling in your ankles, hands, and feet, as well as some back pain. At this point, your baby is expected to measure around 424 mm and weigh approximately 1.7 kg. They will be sleeping for about 90% of the day, emphasising the importance of adequate rest for you as well in preparation for childbirth. Additionally, your baby will begin practising breathing movements.


Pregnancy At Week 33

You might find it challenging to sleep at night, so it is advised that you take naps during the day. It will be a good time to start to pack your bag for the hospital. 

The baby’s skin will look smooth and plump, this is because of the extra fat that is layered beneath the skin. Your baby will be able to respond to light. The amniotic fluid will be at its highest level now. Your baby’s immune system is still busy developing, the baby will still rely on your antibodies.  Your baby will be +- 437 mm and weigh +- 1.9 kg.


Pregnancy During Week 34

As your baby moves down to your pelvic area you might experience pain or pressure in that area. Your breasts will still be growing and getting fuller.

The fingernails of your baby would have reached the end of the tip now. Upper and lower limbs will appear chubby. Your baby will now be too big to float around in the amniotic fluids. The baby’s intestinal and digestive systems would be functioning by now.


What to Expect During Week 35

Your body will have generated relaxin, a hormone intended to loosen ligaments and joints in the pelvic region, preparing for childbirth. This hormone can also affect other joints in your body.

At this stage, your baby is expected to measure around 462 mm and weigh approximately 2.4 kg. The baby will begin producing their first stool known as meconium, a dark-green substance. Additionally, the baby's lungs will initiate development and produce surfactant, crucial for their lung function.


Pregnancy During Week 36

By the 36th week, you may continue to experience weight gain as your baby is still in the growth phase. Braxton Hicks contractions may become more frequent during this period. The baby's body will take on a plump appearance, and it's typical for baby boys to weigh more than baby girls. Due to limited space in the amniotic fluid, your baby may exhibit reduced movement.


Your Pregnancy Experience During Week 37

The pelvic pressure may pose challenges for walking and mobility. Braxton Hicks contractions persist, and you might experience discomfort akin to menstrual cramps. If you have concerns about these contractions, it's recommended to reach out to your healthcare provider.

At this point, your baby is anticipated to measure approximately 486 mm and weigh around 2.9 kg. Their body continues to accumulate fat, creating dimples and folds in the neck and wrist regions. As your baby readies for life outside the womb, it will begin practising breathing and exhaling amniotic fluid.


Pregnancy During Week 38

Your growing belly will seem lower, as your baby's head is now nestled in the pelvic area, getting ready for birth.

At this stage, your baby is expected to measure around 498 mm and weigh approximately 3 kg. Their lungs will continue producing surfactant. The flexibility of the bones in your baby's skull allows them to overlap, protecting the birthing process. Additionally, your baby will develop vernix, a greasy white substance, to safeguard their skin.


Your Pregnancy Experience At Week 39

It is uncommon for you to still gain weight after this time. You might experience more intense Braxton hicks now and the urge to urinate frequently with the baby rested in your pelvic area. The baby will be +- 507 mm and weigh +- 3.3 kg. The baby’s brain will still be developing even though the external growth has slowed down. Your baby will be born with +- 300 bones, as your baby grows it will merge to form 206 bones like an adult. 


Pregnancy at Week 40

This week holds different experiences for various women – some may be welcoming their newborns, while others are patiently awaiting their little ones. The timing depends on your baby and birth plan. Your baby is expected to measure around 512 mm and weigh approximately 3.5 kg. It's the week when you'll be going into labour.

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