The Third Trimester of Pregnancy - Expected Changes and Tips
The third trimester of pregnancy, the final three months to your baby’s birth is a time of rapid changes both for you and for your baby. Here is a guide of what you can expect during this extremely crucial time.
What is the duration of third trimester?
The nine-month-long pregnancy journey is divided into three trimesters. The first lasts till month three, the second till six and the third or the final trimester starts from the 7th month and ends at the 9th month which is at baby’s birth. If you see this in weeks, then the duration of the third trimester is from week 28th to week 40th, or until you give birth.
Changes that occur in the mother during the third trimester
With the rapid and continuous growth and development of the child during the third trimester, there are a lot of changes that occur in the expectant mother. Changes that can be frequently experienced are as follows:
- Abdominal achiness- This occurs as the ligaments around the uterus stretch to accommodate the growing baby.
- Frequent urination- With the growth of the baby, the head of the baby starts pressing down the bladder and thus may require one to urinate more frequently. At times such extra need to urinate may be a cause of disturbed sleep as well.
- Fatigue- This occurs since the demand of the body increases during the third trimester. Also, the inability to take proper rest due to disturbed sleep at night may be a cause of such fatigue. It’s recommended that the mother eats healthy and stays active to minimize it.
- Heartburn or Acid reflux- With the increasing size of the baby in the womb, the contents of the stomach may be pushed up leading to heartburns. In case of severe problems specific anti-acid medicines prescribed by your doctor helps you to keep a check on it.
- Backaches- Due to laxed tissues to accommodate the growing baby the expectant mother can experience such backaches. It’s recommended that one uses a good backrest, comfortable pillows, and stays active to minimize these.
- Braxton hicks’ contraction (False labour) – As your body prepares for the arrival of your baby, mild and irregular contractions or tightness in the abdomen may be felt in the body. These are not real labour contractions and only prepare the body for it. If they get severe, then one should report them to the doctor.
- Crazy dreams and forgetfulness- Due to a rise in pregnancy hormones one may have dreams which are more vivid than ever. Besides one may also get more forgetful as the due date approaches. It’s recommended to take these with a light sense of humour knowing that it is normal.
- Enlarged and leaking breasts– Along with the growing uterus, the breasts also prepare themselves. This is for the future feeding of the child. One may thus have engorged and leaking breasts. Usage of a loose bra, and breast pads can be helpful.
- Dry and itchy skin may be observed due to stretching of the skin. Usage of emollients to keep the skin hydrated can help.
- Swelling of ankles, hands, and face may be seen as they continue to retain fluids.
- Stretch marks- may be noticed on the belly or even thighs at this stage.
- Bleeding-Though some bleeding by the end of pregnancy may be indicative of the beginning of labour, but at times mild spotting may be a sign of a more serious problem. Call your doctor as soon as you notice any bleeding.
- Emotional changes-The last stage of pregnancy often makes one worried or anxious about labour and birth. Most women feel positive and excited but some may experience antenatal anxiety. It Is recommended to speak to someone in the family to stay aware and connected, or one can also speak to their doctor about it to keep it at a minimum.
Tips for a comfortable third trimester
Many changes that are observed in women during the third trimester may make them uncomfortable overall on a day-to-day basis. Here are some things that can be followed for a more comfortable third trimester.
- Avoid eating right before lying down to prevent episodes of heartburn.
- Use heating pads to relieve pain in the hands and legs
- To avoid swollen legs one can use compression stockings as recommended by their gynaecologist. Also, avoiding standing for very long periods and resting with legs elevated at night can keep this at a minimum.
- For a comfortable and good night sleeping, it’s recommended to get into a comfortable position first. Sleeping on the side, preferably left is recommended which helps in better circulation of blood to the uterus and also makes breathing easier for the mother. One can also try the usage of pregnancy pillows for comfort. Also, keeping fluid intake at its minimum just before sleeping can prevent the frequent need to urinate at night.
- Pamper yourself by soaking in a warm water bath often, it also helps to keep yourself relaxed.
- Get in touch with your doctor to discuss the yoga postures or exercises that you can do in your third trimester, which helps in many ways.
- Use of plenty of emollients, to keep your skin hydrated also prevents itching.
- Relax and enjoy the phase despite the changes, know that your baby is almost on the way.
Changes in your baby
Along with changes in the mother, you should know that your baby is continuously growing and maturing in this trimester. It should make you excited to know that your baby can now see and hear. Your baby’s lungs and kidneys mature more as he/she prepares for arrival into the world. The baby now takes a head-down position gradually and begins descending in the cervical area. The skull bones remain soft for an easy passage from the birth canal. You can keep yourself aware of all these changes by discussing them with your gynaecologist, during hospital visits which are more frequent in the third trimester.
It is recommended that any mom-to-be enrolls for childbirth classes at this stage for a better understanding of identifying labour pain and preparing for it. Ankura hospital for women and children has a team of highly experienced specialist gynaecologists and provides a complete healthcare experience for women and children.