Congratulations, you've made it to the third trimester! This is the final stretch of your pregnancy, and you're likely feeling a mix of excitement and anticipation. In this blog, we'll cover what you can expect during the third trimester, including physical changes, fetal development, and preparing for your baby's arrival.
During the third trimester, you'll likely notice some significant changes in your body, including:
Larger belly: as your baby continues to grow, your belly will expand even more
Shortness of breath: as your uterus presses against your diaphragm, you may feel short of breath or experience difficulty breathing
Braxton Hicks contractions: these "practice" contractions may become more frequent and intense as your due date approaches
Swelling: some women experience swelling in their hands, feet, or face during the third trimester
Increased fatigue: as your body prepares for labor and delivery, you may feel more tired or need more rest
Pelvic pressure: as your baby descends into your pelvis, you may feel increased pressure or discomfort
How can I manage the physical discomforts of the third trimester?
There are several ways you can manage physical discomforts during the third trimester, including:
Resting and taking breaks throughout the day
Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation
Wearing comfortable, supportive clothing and shoes
Taking warm baths or using a heating pad for back pain
Staying hydrated and eating a healthy, balanced diet
Talking to your healthcare provider about any concerns or pain management options
During the third trimester, your baby will continue to grow and develop, with some key milestones including:
Increased movement: as your baby grows larger and has less room to move, you may feel more intense kicks and movements
Weight gain: your baby will continue to gain weight during the third trimester, preparing for life outside the womb
Lung development: your baby's lungs will continue to mature and develop, in preparation for breathing air after birth
Positioning: as your due date approaches, your baby will likely settle into a head-down position in your pelvis, preparing for labor and delivery
What are some signs that labor may be approaching?
Some signs that labor may be approaching include:
Regular contractions that become stronger and closer together
Changes in vaginal discharge or the loss of the mucus plug
Pelvic pressure or a feeling of "lightening" as your baby drops lower into your pelvis
Increased back pain or cramping
Rupture of the amniotic sac (water breaking)
It's important to note that not all women will experience these signs of labor, and some women may experience false labor or Braxton Hicks contractions that don't progress into true labor.
Preparing for Baby
As your due date approaches, there are several things you can do to prepare for your baby's arrival, including:
Packing your hospital bag: include essentials like clothing, toiletries, and any necessary medical items like your insurance card or birth plan
Setting up the nursery: this may include purchasing furniture, decorating, and organizing baby items like clothing and diapers
Installing the car seat: make sure your car seat is installed correctly and you know how to use it
Choosing a pediatrician: research and choose a pediatrician to care for your baby after birth
Taking a childbirth class: this can help prepare you for labor and delivery, and give you tools to manage pain and stress during the process
How can I prepare emotionally for my baby's arrival?
The third trimester can be an emotional time as you prepare to welcome your new baby into the world. Some things you can do to prepare emotionally include:
Talking to your partner, friends, or family members about your feelings and concerns
Considering therapy or counseling if you're struggling with anxiety or depression
Making a plan for postpartum support, whether that's from family members, friends, or a postpartum doula
Taking time for self-care activities like exercise, meditation, or getting a massage
Educating yourself about the postpartum period, including physical and emotional changes you may experience, and how to care for your baby
The third trimester is an exciting and challenging time as you prepare for your baby's arrival. By taking care of yourself physically and emotionally, and preparing for your baby's needs, you can feel confident and empowered as you approach labor and delivery. Remember to talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns or questions you have, and trust in your own instincts as you navigate this final stage of pregnancy.