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The Third Trimester

 What  To Expect? ( Week 28 to Week 40)



This is the most challenging phase of your pregnancy. There are only a few more weeks left for your delivery and you have to be ready now with everything to welcome your baby. Your belly will be bigger now and you never know when your water tank can burst and your baby may come out. Doctors give due dates. But sometimes babies can come out earlier too. So always be prepared and check for signs and symptoms of delivery. The third trimester begins from week 28 and lasts till birth, which can be from week 40 to week 42. These are the 7th, 8th, and 9th months of pregnancy. Many babies come before or past the 40-week mark. Once you reach 42 weeks, you should start getting delivery pains or the doctor will induce labor. Because 42 weeks is the last week of pregnancy. If your baby won't come out at this time, he can die inside. Check here to know what happens in the first and second trimesters.


Changes In The Mothers Body:-


1. Swelling of ankles and feet:- This symptom starts when you enter weeks 22 to 23 and lasts until delivery. Not all women experience this but 80% of women face this issue during pregnancy. You may do not have any pain. You will just feel uncomfortable as you cant wear your favorite sandals or shoes. Your feet may swell due to water accumulation in your feet. To reduce this, do walking or do any activity in which your legs can move all the time. Don't stand or sit in one place for long hours. Stay active to be healthy. If you are not feeling well then lie down, don't just stand or sit for long as this can cause more swelling in your feet. Your ankles and face may look bloated. Put your feet on a stool when you sit and keep them elevated when you sleep.

2. Dizziness and clumsiness:- This is caused due to low blood pressure in your body. And also due to change in hormones. Don't panic and eat a healthy diet and focus more on the hydration of your body. Since your stomach has become very big you may lose your balance sometimes and drop things often. You may often feel hungry so don't forget to eat nutritious and healthy food to avoid dizziness and weakness.

3. Cramps and Aches:- As your uterus is expanding, it puts pressure on the muscles and ligaments nearby which causes cramps and aches in your lower abdomen. Minor cramps can also be caused by gas, constipation, or sex. This is very normal. To reduce aches have a warm bath, relax your muscles or change your sleeping position. 

4. Backpain and Sciatica:- As your belly is expanding and you're putting on more pregnancy weight, you might experience back pain which can be very mild to severe. To reduce it try a pregnancy massage, sit up straight with back support, Sit on a comfortable chair, sleep with a pregnancy pillow. Avoid lifting weights and wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Walking is the best to ease the pain. You may also nerve pain which is also called sciatica from your back to your bumps and don your legs. This can occur due to hormonal changes or the growing size of your baby. Massage, walking, and exercise can give a lot of relief at this time.


5. Sensitive and Bleeding gums:- This occurs in almost 50 % of pregnant women. Their gums become more tender and sore and may sometimes bleed too. This occurs due to the change in hormone levels in your body. Since your body is producing more RBCs and the blood is circulating more all over your body, hormone changes send more blood to gums making them more sensitive. Your gums will be normal after your baby's birth, till that time take good care of your oral hygiene. Use a soft toothbrush and delicate toothpaste to avoid bleeding. Rinse your mouth often. If your gums bleed more often and you feel severe pain then make an appointment with a dentist.  

6. Congestion:- Hormonal changes in your body cause your mucus membranes lining your nose to swell a bit. You may have a stuffy nose all the time and you may even snore at night during sleep. Use saline drops to clear congestion or apply Vicks. You can also take a steam or use a humidifier in your room to keep the air moist. You may also experience nosebleeds during these hormonal changes. Don't panic and just keep your head straight and apply pressure to the nostril to stop bleeding. 

7. Breast Enlargement and leaking:- As your pregnancy months increase, your bra size will also increase as your body is preparing milk for your baby. But now at this phase of the second trimester, you may not have any tender or sore breasts like you had in the first trimester. Your breasts have grown up to 2 pounds by the end of the third trimester. When you are about to deliver your baby or when you are close to your due date you may see a yellowish fluid called colostrum leaking from your breast. This acts as an antibody to your baby. 

8. Mild Contractions:- You can feel a very mild contraction in your lower abdomen for a  minute or two. This arent a sign of labor. They just come and go away on their own. It can occur when you have sex, dehydration, exercise or when someone touches your baby bump. Labor contractions start very mild and get severe and severe. If you cant hold your breath and your contractions increase to a level where you are not able to sit or stand or even lie down, it's time to call your doctor as you will be delivering your baby soon.


9. Frequent Urination.

10. Heartburn.

11. Constipation.




12. White milky discharge.

13. Headaches.

14. Dreams:- In the third trimester you may get many vivid dreams at night or when you are asleep. This is because of the change in hormones.

15. Hair Growth:- Your pregnancy hormones can boost your hair growth. Women who had hair problems earlier will be very happy now as they have long and thick hair. Hair can also grow more on some parts of your body like the face, upper lips, underarms, and genital area. Don't go for waxing or laser treatment to remove hair. It is not safe for the baby. Ask your doctor's advice instead. He may suggest you some creams and medicines to reduce hair growth.

16. Hemorrhoids or Varicose Veins:- These are the swollen blue veins that form around your vagina. During pregnancy, they enlarge as there is extra blood flow and increased pressure from the growing uterus. Due to the excess blood flow in your body, tiny red veins also known as spider veins appear on your skin. You can feel them by touching and they are a bit itchy and uncomfortable too. Take a warm bath to feel comfortable. You will have more of these in the third trimester.

17.Shortness of breath:- As your baby is growing bigger in size this month, your uterus expands a lot leaving less space for the lungs to expand. Thus you may experience shortness of breath sometimes. 


18. Skin Changes and Stretch Marks:- Have you ever wondered why a pregnant women's face is always glowing? Hormonal changes can make the skin on the face glowy and beautiful. You might see stretch marks now all over your belly, breasts, thighs, and abdomen. This happens due to the enlargement of the skin to make space for your growing baby. You can use stretch marks cream or apply coconut oil after consulting your doctor. They will fade away after 3 to 4 months after delivery. 

19. Urinary Tract Infections:- This is more common in the second and third trimester as your uterus is expanding making it harder for your bladder to remove urine frequently. This can lead to bacterial infections in the urinary tract or the bladder. Its symptoms include pain while peeing, pain during sex, cloudy and smelly urine, abdominal pain, and light blood in your urine. This can be very harmful to you and your baby if not treated early. These bacterial infections can spread to your kidneys and cause infections, early labor, and low-weight babies. 

20. Weight Gain:- You have to take 300 to 500 calories a day in the second trimester. Don't worry if your weight increases or if you are fat-shamed by people. Think about your baby more now than focusing on becoming slim. You will gain a half to one pound every week. To avoid overweight, eat a healthy diet. Avoid junk foods or packaged foods that have so many calories. By the end of your pregnancy, you may have put on 25 to 30 pounds.

21. Difficulty in sleeping.

22. Lots of movement by the baby.

Baby Development In The Third Trimester:- 

  • By the end of the third trimester, your baby weighs 6 to 9 pounds and 18 to 22 inches long in height.
  • In the last two weeks of pregnancy, your baby will turn upside down. His head begins to move to the pelvic area. Sometimes they may not be able to turn completely and be in the breech position. At that time doctors try to turn the baby or if it's not possible they will go for a c-section delivery.
  • Your baby can now cry and smile in your womb.
  • He can hear, give lots of kicks, and open his eyes.
  • He can suck his thumb too.
  • His lungs and kidneys mature more.
  • His brain and heart have developed a lot.
  • His body had developed 16% of fat by now.
  • He has his fingers, toes, fingernails, toenails in their correct position.
  • Their soft bones had started to form in the 7th and 8th months.
  • The protective sheet (vernix) and the tiny soft hair (lanugo) all over his body will shed now as he is ready to go to the outside world.
  • His digestive system is very much matured and his stomach will be starting to make the baby's first poop which consists of blood vessels, vernix, and small hair (lanugo).

The Do's and Dont's During The Third Trimester

Do's:-

  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Take Vitamin, Calcium, Folic acid, and Magnesium tablets suggested by your doctor regularly.
  • Do light Excercise and Walking regularly.
  • Have a healthy diet with lots of green vegetables, fresh homemade juices, and fruits.
  • Eat small frequent meals.
  • Maintain oral hygiene. 
  • Buy a pregnancy pillow for comfortable sleep at night.
  • Gain knowledge about pregnancy, labor, delivery, and breastfeeding.
  • Check your weight and blood pressure monthly.
  • Take rest whenever you feel weak.
  • Take an ultrasound between week 18 and week 22.

Dont's:-

  • Avoid overeating. Do not exceed more than 300-500 calories in a day.
  • Don't lift heavyweights.
  • Avoid strenuous exercises and strength training.
  • Limit your caffeine intake. No more than one cup of coffee a day.
  • Quit smoking and alcohol completely.
  • Avoid eating raw fish and raw sprouts.
  • Don't drink unpasteurized milk or other dairy products which are not pasteurized.

When To Call The Doctor:-

  1. Severe cramps and abdominal pain.
  2. Severe vomitings and nausea.
  3. Fever.
  4. Heavy Bleeding.
  5. Urinary Tract  Infection.
  6. Severe headache and dizziness.
  7. Rapid Weight Gain.
  8. Severe swelling of hands, legs, and face.
  9. No movement of your baby.
  10. No heartbeat of your baby.

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