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3rd trimester

07th Nov 2023

The third trimester of pregnancy: What to expect and everything you need to know


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You’re nearly there! The third trimester has arrived and you’re in the home stretch. Here are some symptoms, things to do and ways to prepare for baby.

You’re likely tired, emotional and ready to get the show on the road. With your due date approaching, it’s natural to wonder what to expect during the last weeks of pregnancy. Let’s explore the key changes and milestones you might face in the third trimester.

Weight gain
Your baby is growing rapidly during this trimester, which means more weight gain for you. The average recommended weight gain in the third trimester is about 0.5lbs or 0.22kgs per week.

Bump growth
Your belly will continue to grow, and you might find it challenging to get comfortable while sleeping or sitting. Consider using pillows for support. For more information on what size baby will be around this time, read here.

Peeing. A lot.
As your baby’s head engages in preparation for birth, it may put pressure on your bladder. This can lead to more frequent trips to the bathroom, and frequent night time wake ups to go to the bathroom too.

Braxton Hicks contractions continue
You might experience more frequent Braxton Hicks contractions, which are practice contractions preparing your body for labour. These should not be painful, but they can be uncomfortable at this stage.

Shortness of breath
As your uterus expands, it can push against your diaphragm, making it harder to breathe deeply. Try sitting up straight and taking slow, deep breaths.

Heartburn and indigestion can intensify
Hormonal changes can lead to increased heartburn and indigestion. Eating smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding spicy or greasy foods can help. If you need relief, your doctor can advise you as to what to take or how to proceed.

Swelling and fluid retention
Swelling in your feet, ankles, and hands is common. Elevating your legs, staying gently active and staying hydrated can reduce swelling.

Baby’s movements
Even though your baby has less space to move around, you should still feel regular movements. If you notice a decrease in normal activity, contact your healthcare provider. Some babies will have a natural movement pattern that you’ll recognise, like not moving much during the day but starting to move when you lie down, for instance. If you’re concerned at all, give your healthcare provider a call to put your mind at ease.

The urge to prepare for your baby’s arrival, known as the nesting instinct, might kick in. Use this time to organise the baby’s space, pack your baby’s bag, and make any necessary arrangements for childcare for your other children, for example.

Final antenatal classes and labour prep
Consider attending antenatal classes or workshops to prepare for labour, childbirth, and baby care. These can provide valuable information and boost your confidence around delivery options. If you have any birth preferences, discuss them with your healthcare provider, including your preferences for pain relief and your chosen birthing environment.

Hospital bag
Pack your hospital bag with essentials like clothing for you and your baby, toiletries, and important documents. Having it ready can reduce stress when the time comes.

Baby’s position
Your healthcare provider will check your baby’s position as you approach your due date. They may recommend measures to encourage optimal positioning.

In these final weeks of pregnancy, it’s crucial to maintain regular prenatal check-ups with your healthcare provider. They will monitor your baby’s health and your own, ensuring a safe and healthy delivery. Every pregnancy is unique so always trust your instincts. If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider.