Your 3rd trimester – From 28 weeks
A third trimester guide to how you might be feeling, what is happening in your body and your pregnancy care. This could be the time when you well and truly feel like you are making a human being. As your bump gets bigger and your baby kicks, it can be a great time to bond with your baby.
How you might be feeling during your third trimester
- You could be enjoying those wriggles and kicks from your baby.
- There may be more aches and pains in your back and hips as your body changes to accommodate your growing baby.
- Your tiredness could return as your body adapts to carrying the extra weight of your weight and amniotic fluid. Your sleep may also be affected if you struggle to get comfortable and you may need frequent trips to the loo.
- Some pregnant women start to feel sick again. This could be linked to tiredness or indigestion as your expanding womb means there’s less room in your stomach.
- Your growing womb can also lead to heartburn.
- You might feel breathless, as there can be less room for your lungs to expand. But when your baby starts to settle into your pelvis, this should ease.
- You might start to experience Braxton Hicks contractions, mild tightenings of your uterus.
What’s happening in your body during your third trimester?
Your baby is growing – starting to get fat, his brain is growing too so your baby’s head will be getting bigger. He will grow from about 36cm long to about 50cm at birth and his weight can go from about 1.5lbs to 7.5lbs at birth – although this will vary a lot.
His lungs will be maturing during the third trimester so he can breathe for himself when he is born. His liver and kidneys also develop and he will start to open his eyes.
You may experience…
You will be producing the hormone Relaxin, which help to soften the pelvic joints and ligaments in preparation for birth. This can be the cause of some backache – it can be worth seeing a chiropractorto ease any discomfort.
Not everyone gets stretchmarks and some pregnant women will only start to get them right at the end of their pregnancy.
According to Daphne Metland from Babycentre: there’s no real way to prevent stretchmarks, although you can minimise them by eating well, trying not to gain too much additional weight and drinking plenty of water.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
About 50% of pregnant women will experience some pain and/or tingling in their hands, with numbness in the fingers. It is thought to be caused by swelling which puts pressure on the median nerve.
It can be quite normal for some women to experience a mild degree of itchy skin, especially on the bump as their skin stretches. However, it is always important to get this checked out with your midwife. Or pop into your pregnancy assessment unit just in case it is Obstetric Cholestasis, which is a rare but serious condition.
Some swelling in your ankles and your hands is common in the third trimester, especially towards the end of the day. If you are concerned about it or if the swelling is sudden or starts to affect your legs, hands and or face – get it checked out, just in case it is pre-elampsia.
A range of emotions
Your emotions can range from happiness and excitement to feeling scared and uncertain about the birth of your baby. You might be teary and you could be volatile with changing mood swings.
Tiredness and lack of decent sleep can have an affect but if you feel low, it is worth mentioning it to your midwife as it is possible to feel depressed in pregnancy.
It can also be worth looking at how well you are eating, whether you are stressed with work, whether you are anxious due to a previous birth experience. Talking it through with someone can be really useful, which is why going to some good antenatal classes, where you will have the time to ask questions, is worth the investment.
Your midwife appointments
- These take place at about 28 weeks, 31 weeks, 34 weeks, 36 weeks, 38 weeks, 40 weeks and at 41 weeks, if your baby hasn’t arrived by then.
- They will involve routine tests – checking your blood pressure and your urine, measuring your bump and listening to your baby’s heartbeat.
You will be offered a blood test to rule out gestational diabetes.
- The position of your baby is checked – making sure he’s not breech or lying sideways across your abdomen.
Book your antenatal classes
Make sure you have antenatal classes or birth preparation sessions booked – these can be essential preparation for you to feel better prepared for labour & birth. Find out more about your birth preparation options.
This is the time to think about:
- writing your birth plan
- your birth preparation
- dealing with any anxiety, especially if it is to do with the birth of your baby. I can also provide support through one to one sessions to help you manage any stress and anxiety.
- organising your TENS machine and, if you are planning a homebirth, you may need to book a birth pool too.
Tips to help you in your 3rd trimester
- Eat well
- Drink plenty of water
- Get plenty of rest
- Take walks and gentle exercise
- Listen to your body and rest when you need to
- Get checked out if you feel unwell, if something changes or if you are concerned about your baby