The nine months long pregnancy period is divided into three 3-month segments for the sake of convenience. Each of these segments is called a trimester. Each trimester has a few typical features, signs and symptoms experienced by the would-be mother which separate it from the other two trimesters. Again, each trimester brings about different changes in your body as well as in the body of your fetus, thus requiring different investigation procedures for monitoring pregnancy.
Once you are at the start of your third trimester, you are allowed to feel that you have reached a significant milestone. Indeed, the last six months haven’t been easy with your belly continuing to enlarge every passing week and daily morning sickness ruining most of your days. You have braved it all, and are now at the threshold of the last lap of changes before your fetus gets welcomed by the outside world.
When does the third trimester begin?
The third trimester typically begins in the 28th week of pregnancy and continues till you give birth, which usually occurs around week 40. In other words, the third trimester spans the last three months of your pregnancy period. There can be a variation of a couple of weeks, but this is the time when you should be thinking about packing your bags for the hospital.
Labor pain may start earlier or later – there is nothing to worry about if it’s not exactly on time. However, if you are on your 42nd week of pregnancy and you are still not experiencing labor, your physician may choose to induce it in order to ensure safe delivery.
How is your body going to change in the third trimester?
Your bulk is only going to increase in the weeks to come. Your belly is going to grow upwards and outwards, so expect some breathlessness and heavy feeling most of the time. You may also feel abdominal pain at times as your round ligament, which supports your lower abdomen, stretches to accommodate the bulk.
The demands of pregnancy will make you tired and exhausted. If you are standing or walking too much, you will encounter bulging veins in your lower body (medically termed as varicose veins) because of all the pressure that your bulk generates on the blood vessels. They are not uncommon in pregnancy, but you need to make sure they go away once your baby is born.
Because of the unequal distribution of weight, thanks to your belly, you are more prone to go off balance in the third trimester than you have ever been. There’s not much you can do to counter this clumsiness, except being careful at all times and having a sense of humor about it.
Another thing that you should have a sense of humor about is the lack of bladder control that you are definitely going to experience now. As the extra weight on the pelvic floor presses on your bladder, it’s completely normal for you to pee as you sneeze.
What are the changes in the fetus during this time?
The third trimester is the time where your fetus is going to grow bigger steadily and develop rapidly. Not surprisingly, you may experience some kicks and pokes in your belly as your little one changes positions and adjusts to the new changes.
Typically, the bones, brain and the digestive system of the fetus undergo massive improvements during the third trimester. By the 32nd week, its skin becomes opaque and by the next month, it has begun to shed the waxy vernix caseosa and the lanugo hair that had covered its entire body till now. Also, since the surfactants in the lungs have developed by this stage, the chances of viability of the baby are much higher during this time than before.
What are some useful tips for the third trimester?
Third trimester is also the time when complications are expected to peak. So you need to take proper care of yourself if you want your little one to be healthy and kicking. Take plenty of fluids and food when you are hungry, but make sure you don’t overeat. Your gigantic uterus is likely to push your stomach towards the fag end of pregnancy, and you may have to grow accustomed to the feeling of heartburn.
Don’t venture too far away from toilet. While staying hydrated is important for both you and your baby, it is likely to make you go to the bathroom more frequently than you would imagine.
Finally, take rest whenever you can. It’s not easy to move around while carrying another life inside you. Keep your feet up while resting so as to avoid getting varicose veins in the legs. Remember that what you do to your body has an indirect but certain effect on your fetus.