Your Third Trimester of Pregnancy
You’ve reached your third trimester – you’re almost there! Soon you’ll be meeting your baby for the first time – how exciting! It also usually feels like the longest, as you’re so eager for your due date to arrive and carrying your baby during those last few months can be exhausting!
The third trimester starts on the 28th week of pregnancy all the way up until you give birth around the 40th week. Your pregnancy is at full term by week 37, but of course, some mums-to-be don’t go into labour until after week 40, so the exact length of your trimester can vary.
YOUR BABY’S GROWTH IN THE THIRD TRIMESTER
Your little one will be growing at a fast pace during the last few months. You might feel as if your belly couldn’t possibly grow any more, but your baby gains about half their birth weight during the third trimester, so be prepared for your bump to get even bigger!
Your baby reaches a lot of amazing developmental milestones during the last trimester too. Their brain is growing at a rapid rate, meaning that they start to open their eyes and respond to light, sound and touch. Your baby will also start to grow fingernails and toes, and their skin will start to smooth as they begin to get more plump.
YOUR BODY CHANGES DURING THE THIRD TRIMESTER
Not only will your baby be going through a lot of changes, you will be too – you might notice:
For many mums, tiredness is a common side effect – which is no surprise, as you are carrying an almost full-term baby! Now is the time to make sure you’re reaching out to your partner, family and friends for support, so that you can get some well-deserved rest.
- Needing to pee more often
Feeling like you have to pee more than usual? As your baby starts to move further down your pelvis, it can put pressure on your bladder, which can cause leaks – this is completely normal and nothing to feel embarrassed about. A panty liner can give you a little extra security during this time.
- Back and hip pain
Increased hormone levels mean that the connective tissue in your pelvic area will start to loosen to prepare for giving birth – the result? An achy back and hips! Gentle exercise that strengthens the hip muscles can help ease the pain. If the pain is keeping you awake, try sleeping on your side with your knees bent, using pillows to support your stomach. If it’s causing you a lot of discomfort, visit your GP to put your mind at ease.
- Braxton Hicks contractions
During pregnancy, your body can experience false contractions, known as Braxton Hicks. They can range from mild to more painful, which is why some women might mistake them for labour contractions. The key difference is that Braxton Hicks contractions are irregular and may disappear if you start moving around or change position, whereas labour contractions get closer together as they progress and don't go away when you move around – but if you’re in any doubt, it’s worth checking in with your doctor.
- Swollen feet and ankles
Many women experience swelling around their ankles and feet, which is usually caused by water retention, hormones and weight gain. Keeping your legs elevated can help keep you as comfortable as possible. In some rare cases, swelling can be a sign of something more serious, so speak to your doctor if the swelling comes on suddenly or gets worse.
TIPS FOR YOUR THIRD TRIMESTER
First of all – don’t push yourself too hard! Your body is going through a lot of changes, so make looking after yourself and your baby is a top priority. You can do this by:
- Carrying on taking your prenatal vitamins
They’re not just for the early stages – it’s recommended that you take them throughout your whole pregnancy to make sure you’re getting everything you need.
- Eating a healthy diet
As well as taking your vitamins, eating a healthy diet will give you and your baby the right nutrients.
- Keeping active when you can
We know carrying an almost full-term baby is tiring, but gentle-to-moderate exercise like jogging and swimming can help boost your mood, improve your blood pressure and help control your weight during those last few months.
- Doing Kegel exercises to help build your pelvic floor
Kegels help to keep the muscles around your bladder and uterus, so if you do them during your pregnancy, it can help prepare your muscles for giving birth.
- Going to all of your health check-ups
Make sure to attend all of your antenatal appointments to check on how you and your little one are doing. Your doctor or midwife will also be offering you helpful advice about breastfeeding and looking after your newborn.
Of course, we know you’ll be feeling the excitement of meeting your baby, so the last trimester is also a great time to:
- Take childbirth classes with your partner, friend or family member
- Pack your overnight back ready for when you go into labour
- Have your nursery ready – nesting is real!
- Install your baby’s car seat
- Make sure you have all the baby supplies you need (including Metanium Everyday Ointment, of course)
Your baby will be here before you know it, why not have a look at our newborn articles to prepare for your little one.
Breastfeeding How To’s: Positioning, tips and helpful accessories
How to shop smart and save on your baby budget
Travelling with your newborn: What you need to know
Heading back to work after giving birth
Welcome to the club: What to expect from a newborn