You are probably feeling as if you’ve reached a significant milestone by this stage. Getting to the start of your third trimester really is the beginning of the countdown to when you will be having your baby.
Officially, the third trimester relates to the time between 28-40 weeks of gestation. There can be a week or two of variation though, depending on the source.
This is the trimester when all of your baby’s organs and systems will be preparing for life outside the womb. Although they have been fully formed since week 12, an enormous amount of maturity and development has been taking place since then.
Your baby’s movements will become stronger, more defined and less subtle than they have been. As your baby grows, less room will be available for it to move freely, so kicks and obvious changes in its position will all be clearly felt by you.
Time to Unwrap Some Presents!
It’s baby shower time! If your friends and family want to organise one for you, accept their offer in the spirit that it’s made. Showers can be a lot of fun. It will also give you an opportunity to get together with people that you may not have time to catch up with after the baby is born.
If you don’t like being the centre of attention or worry that you’ll feel awkward, just aim to keep it low-key. Everyone loves a baby and gets excited when one is coming. Remember, this is your chance to get a little pampering for all your hard work growing your baby.
Now, Where Did I Put That Suitcase?
This will be the time you need to think about packing your hospital bag. Remember, you won’t be going away for a month so be practical with what you pack. Toiletries, maternity pads, nightdresses and comfortable day clothes, as well as nappies and clothing for the baby are some of the essentials.
At some stage, sit down with your partner and make a list of the people you will want to contact when the baby is born. Straight after birth is not the time to be searching for telephone numbers or giving your partner instructions on where at home you’ve written them down.
You’re Having a Little Holiday Too
Make clear arrangements with another trusted adult regarding who will be minding your older children when you have the baby. If your partner is going to stay with you at the hospital, you may even need to make arrangements to have your older children and pets taken care of.
Apart from just being a time when the baby is finally maturing, the third trimester really is the time for organising practicalities. Make lists, cross them off as you do things, write important dates on your calendar and generally try to keep track of things. You can avoid a lot of anxiety and stress just by being organised.
Your Physical Changes in Your Third Trimester
- You are certainly going to get bigger in the third trimester. Your tummy is growing upwards and outwards, making deep breaths a thing of the past. You’ll be feeling increasingly bulky, breathless and swollen – not a great combination really.
- Some women carry their pregnancy neatly, as if they have popped a basketball under their jumper. Others seem to spread from their front to their back and around again. It really depends on individual shape and size and your baby’s growth. There is no one way to appear.
- The third trimester is when the risk of complications can peak. Preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, hypertension, bleeding or problems with the amniotic fluid can all occur, which is why your antenatal check-ups will increase in frequency.
- You could feel unsteady on your feet and become more prone to falling. Avoid wearing high heels and take your time getting to where you want to go.
Your Emotional Changes in Your Third Trimester
- You will tire more easily during your third trimester and feel the effects of nurturing your growing baby. As you get closer to term, you may feel exhausted on some days and totally fed up with being pregnant. This will undoubtedly have an effect on your mood and how you feel generally.
- You could become increasingly concerned about the labour and delivery. The concept of the unknown and leaving things to see how they turn out may not bode well with you, especially if you normally like to feel you are in control and have everything sorted.
- You may be placing a significant emotional investment into planning a natural, drug-free labour and delivery and building your hopes on this. Keep an open mind and try to remember that although the majority of births proceed without complications, there is always the possibility that intervention may become necessary.
- Invest some time and energy into writing up your birth plan. Include your partner’s wishes and how you feel he could best support you. If you are considering having other people present apart from your partner, talk to them about how you both see their role. Remember that labour can be unpredictable and despite planning, there are often unforeseen events that can occur.
- You may seriously start to wonder how you are going to cope looking after a new baby. If you have other young children whose demands on you are high, the thought of caring for another child may seem overwhelming. Talk with your partner and organise some early supports within your family and friends.
Your Baby’s Changes in Your Third Trimester
As your baby progresses past 30 weeks of gestation, its chances of survival, if it were born now, are much better than in the previous weeks. For every day baby remains in your womb, their body systems further mature towards independent life.
When you have your antenatal check-ups, don’t be alarmed if your baby is lying in any other position than head down. It is not uncommon for babies to prefer to lie in the breech position early in the third trimester. This may cause you some discomfort underneath your ribs; for instead of a nice round bottom nestling under your ribcage, a hard bony skull is making its presence felt!
Hints for Your Third Trimester
- Rest and put your feet up when you can. Don’t push yourself. Try to have a daytime rest everyday and nurture your body.
- Get the nursery ready. Wash and fold those tiny clothes and take pleasure in nesting for your little one. Take a moment each day to just sit in your baby’s room and think about how your new life will be when you have your baby. This is a lovely thing to do.
- Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. You probably won’t feel like big, heavy meals, there’s just not enough room for your stomach to hold much anymore. Remember to drink at least 2 litres of water every day to keep you well hydrated and your mind alert. Don’t venture too far from a toilet; it will become your new best friend in the third trimester.
- Read to your baby every day, this isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Your baby will hear music, your partner and other children’s voices and everyday domestic noises as well.