You have made it to the last stretch of your pregnancy – the third trimester. From Weeks 28 – 40, your pregnancy progresses to its final stage as your baby inches closer to being born. This is also when you will start to feel real kicks from your baby!
What’s Happening in the Third Trimester?
Your baby will have doubled in weight as he or she starts putting on fat.
By Week 30 – 34, most babies will have turned upside down with their head facing the birth canal.
Your baby’s head will usually stay down in the late third trimester, and this will be confirmed by your gynaecologist with an ultrasound scan.
Once you’re past Week 37, your pregnancy is considered full term. It’s now time to count down to your little one’s arrival; expect to deliver anytime after 38 weeks.
Regular Antenatal Checks
Throughout your pregnancy, your obstetrician will check on your weight gain, blood pressure, protein and sugar in your urine to look for pregnancy-related conditions such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes at different antenatal visits. Excessive weight gain can put you at risk of developing the earlier mentioned conditions.
What is Pre-eclampsia?
Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure and large amounts of protein in the urine.
If left untreated, it is a serious condition which can cause impaired growth in the baby and cause water retention, sometimes even bleeding in expectant mothers.
Pre-eclampsia usually surfaces in the third trimester and premature delivery may be required due to the risks involved for the mother and baby.
Your doctor will also screen for Group B streptococcus (GBS), a naturally occurring bacteria which can be passed on to the newborn during delivery and cause life-threatening infections.
At 36 weeks, you will likely be visiting your doctor weekly to check on your baby’s growth. If you haven’t gone into labour by then, your doctor may conduct an examination of the cervix at Week 40 and decide if labour should be induced.
What Can I Expect in My Third Trimester?
As your baby grows even larger and puts pressure on other parts of the body, you will continue feeling the discomforts experienced in your second trimester like aches, heartburn, breathlessness, swelling of the ankles and tender breasts. Other changes that you will notice include:
Finding yourself visiting the toilet more frequently as your baby’s head presses down on your bladder.
Feeling more tired as your baby’s weight increases.
Your breasts may begin leaking a thick, sticky fluid known as colostrum.
As your due date approaches, you may experience Braxton Hicks or false contractions as your body prepares itself for labour.
You may also experience mixed emotions of tiredness, anxiety or excitement towards impending motherhood.
What Can I Do in My Third Trimester?
Try to continue to stay active with regular walks, prenatal yoga or Pilates.
Relieve aches by adjusting your posture, sitting on chairs which provide good back support and stretching to prepare your muscles for labour.
Get ready for your baby’s arrival by packing your hospital bag, as well as preparing the necessary baby clothes, equipment and furniture you will need very soon.
Discuss any pain relief options for your labour with your obstetrician.
It is also a good time to start thinking of the paediatrician that you might like to care for your newborn.