Third trimester — the home stretch of pregnancy

The third trimester includes 28th to 40th week of pregnancy and can be both mentally and physically challenging for the expectant mom. By the end of week 37, the baby is considered to be full-term and is ready to be born.

Body changes during the third trimester

Pains, aches, and anxieties may increase during this trimester. Here are some of the bodily changes that you may feel in this trimester

  • Backaches – increased body weight adds pressure to your back leading to a backache. Loosening of ligaments in the pelvis and hips adds to the discomfort.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions – mild contractions that the body feels as a part of the preparation for the labor starts in this trimester. These are not as intense or periodical as true uterine contractions.
  • Fatigue – Unlike the second trimester when you felt energetic, you may feel weary and tired during the third
  • Frequent urination – Extra pressure of the growing baby on the urinary bladder increases the frequency of urination.
  • Heartburn – increased production of hormones reduces the digestive process leading to symptoms of indigestion like heartburn.
  • Hemorrhoids – veins around the anus enlarge and become swollen leading to hemorrhoids.
  • Spider/varicose veins — tiny red veins develop in the skin due to extra blood flow while the pressure of the growing baby in the lower part reduces the blood flow leading to varicose veins.

Fetal growth in the third trimester

The baby will be able to open and close the eyes and sense light in this trimester. Bones are fully formed and the body starts storing minerals as preparation for coming to the world. The baby moves within the womb and by 36th week comes to a head down position near the birth canal. Organs develop fully and by 37th week the baby is considered to be full-term. By the end of the trimester, the baby may weigh around 2.5 – 4 kg.

Doctor’s appointment in this trimester

You will have to meet your gynecologist more regularly during this trimester – usually once in two weeks during the first two months and every week during the last month. Apart from the usual tests and scans, the doctor may check the progress of baby’s development and movement through a vaginal examination.

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