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Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Third Trimester of Pregnancy

During the 7th month, the fetus who is growing and gaining weight takes up more and more room and there is less amniotic fluid. It is during these last three months of terms that the fetus grows the most; his weight triples between six and nine months of pregnancy.

His skin becomes thicker, continues to be keratinized and becomes covered with a whitish coating, the vernix caseosa, a secretion formed by the sebaceous glands. This fatty coating of fluid protects the skin and serves to lubricate the baby's body during parturition.




Week 28 - (26 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

The eyes are partially open and can perceive light. Your baby's eye lashes and eye brows continue to grow and subcutaneous fat is deposited. If you have a baby boy, his testes will probably begin descending. About 9 out of 10 babies born now will survive with intensive care services and the help of medical technology. Your baby is almost 15 inches and weighs over two pounds.

Your Body:

In your third trimester you will experience heartburn, constipation, hemorrhoids, urinary incontinence, varicose veins, swelling, and at times, itchy skin. But, you will also experience the birth of your baby. Your breasts may begin to leak colostrum at this point, but don't worry if they don't. You will still be able to breastfeed if you choose to do so.

Have you thought about how you will feed your baby? Half of the babies in the United States are bottle-fed, while the other half are breastfed. While many people will try to sway you one way or the other, be sure to do what is right for you, what you feel comfortable with, and what will work for you and your family. There is no wrong answer.
Your doctor will probably want to see you every two weeks for a while. If you haven't taken a childbirth class, you may want to do some reading on the subject to familiarize yourself with what will be happening during labor and delivery. Your doctor may wish to test for your blood type now to determine if you need what is called a "Rhogam" shot. A Rhogam will prevent complications if you and your baby have a different type of blood. If you partner does not know his blood type, he may want to have his blood typed as well.

Week 29 - (27 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Your baby can open his eyes and will turn his head towards the source of any light. His sensory organs are well developed. His fingernails and toenails are growing and he is beginning to regulate his own temperature. The bone marrow is completely in charge of production of the red blood cells now. Your baby even urinates about a half liter of urine into the amniotic fluid everyday. Your baby weighs about 2.5 pounds and is over 15 inches long.

The movements that you feel will probably begin to change at this point. You once were the home of wild gymnastic parties, now as the space becomes cramped you will notice smaller movements, such as elbows and knees.

Your Body:

Remember, the irritations of pregnancy - the itchy skin, hemorrhoids, urinary incontinence, varicose veins, leg cramps, swelling, shortness of breath and feelings of discomfort - will pass with the birth of your baby. Also remember that as your baby is growing, so is your body. You may feel as if there is not enough room inside you for your organs, but rest assured, there is. The best way to deal with the discomforts of late pregnancy are to maintain proper nutrition, drink plenty of fluids, practice good posture, exercise and rest whenever you can.

Your fundus is approximately 2 ? to 3 inches above your navel at this point.

Week 30 - (28 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Your baby's permanent teeth have developed and are "waiting" in his gums. Your baby very aware of the surroundings and his eyelids will open and close. He will even look around and turn toward light. We tend to think of the uterus as a dark place but the uterus actually can be light and dark depending on your environment. Your baby weighs almost three pounds now and is approximately 15.5 inches long.

You may be able to distinguish sleep and wake cycles in your baby. Although it usually seems as if the baby wants to sleep while you are awake and vice versa at night. This is not indicative of a sleepless newborn. Your voice is not only heard by your baby, but is also recognized. Also, he has a grip so strong it is capable of gripping onto your finger. At this point, your baby may be practicing nursing as he sucks his thumb. He has lungs that are capable of breathing air, although medical help may be needed. About 9 out of 10 babies born now will survive.

Your Body:

Although you may not feel like it, exercise is a great way to keep up your energy and stamina. Taking a nice leisurely walk or swimming a couple laps of the pool can help more then you think. Also, your posture is very important to your comfort so remember to continue practicing the mechanics of good posture. Sleeping may also be a problem now but remember to use pillows to prop or support your legs and belly. Also, sleeping on your left side may help as well.

You may find yourself with a nasty case of heartburn from time to time. This is caused as the uterus grows and displaces some of your internal organs. However, don't let it get you down. To help, remain seated or upright for at least 30 to 45 minutes after eating a meal or, if heartburn is interfering with sleep, try sleeping in a recliner. Some women report eating smaller, more frequent meals helps, as well as staying away from spicy, greasy or heavy foods. Remember to discuss with your doctor taking anything for your heartburn - even over the counter medications.

Week 31 - (29 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

From now until the end of your pregnancy, your baby will gain weight faster than he'll increase in length. By now the baby's lungs and digestive tract are nearly mature. Your baby's irises can now dilate and contract in response to light. Due to the deposits of white fat underneath the skin your baby's skin is no longer red, but is now the wonderful newborn pink color. His fingernails may reach the end of the hands, too. Your baby is now a little over 3 pounds and is 16 inches long.

You may worry that if you are breathless from walking or sometimes even just sitting that your baby is in danger. This is not true. Your baby is getting plenty of oxygen from your placenta.

Your Body:

Your abdomen may be aching as it swells and your rib cage and pelvis may be sore as the baby gets bigger and fills up all the space you have available. It's a wonderful thing that your baby is growing so well, but it may not feel that way. You will find yourself with lots of aches and pains from the pressure and the decreased amount of room in your abdomen. Most frequently experienced are pelvic and back pain. This would be a great time to ask your partner for a back rub or to invest in a heating pad. Also, don't forget that maintaining good posture, exercise and stretching can help, too.

Week 32 - (30 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Your baby sleeps approximately 90 to 95 percent of the day now. His skin has become thicker and he continues to gain more of a pinkish color. Your baby's movements will peak this week. From now on the will change in quantity and quality. Most of the wrinkles are disappearing from your baby's face, and there may be a lot of hair on his head. The weight gain has been fairly incredible recently. Your baby is now almost 4 pounds and is 17 inches long.

Your Body:

The discomforts of pregnancy may be wearing you down. Remember to rest as much as you can. There are many things you can do to help relieve some of these discomforts such as massage, relaxation techniques, stretching, exercise, proper posture and a healthy, balanced diet. Be sure not to take any sort of pain medication - even over the counter remedies such as Tylenol or Advil - without first discussing it with your doctor.

You may be wondering about what the birthing process will truly be like. Depending upon whom you ask, you may find yourself with varying examples. According to reports and research, approximately ten percent of women will report that labor is truly painful while another ten percent will report no pain at all. Everyone else is somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. Your experience will differ from others as you may have a different pain threshold, may choose to use or not to use any type of medications during birth. There are many factors that can affect the amount of pain you will experience during birth.

Your body is producing a hormone called relaxin. This hormone is responsible for loosening or relaxing the pelvis, making it move mobile during delivery. You may feel the effects of this hormone in your legs as you experience what is called "waddling." Don't worry; this is only temporary. And, when it comes time to give birth, you will be very grateful its there.

Your fundus is approximately four inches above your navel.

Pregnancy Symptoms You May Experience

  • Breast Changes, tenderness, fullness, darkening of the areola

  • Frequent Urination

  • Constipation

  • Indigestion or heartburn

  • Occasional headaches

  • Stretch Marks (cocoa butter can help with these)

  • Itching

  • Round ligament pains

  • Hemorrhoids

Prenatal learning and memorization of sounds may exist. Many experiments have been conducted over the last few years in an effort to determine more precisely the hearing ability of the fetus in utero. What does the fetus hear? And can the fetus remember sounds heard during intrauterine development?

It is possible to verify that the fetus is forming his sense of taste between the 5th and 7th month of development. And if from the third month on, the fetus swallows his amniotic fluid, it perhaps had no particular flavour for him.

And yet, beginning with the 8th week of development, the taste buds develop on the tongue, and also in the palate, gums, and throat.



Week 33 - (31 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

By now, you have all the amniotic fluid you are going to have and the amount will remain consistent until delivery. Your baby's brain continues to grow, increasing the size of his head. Your baby continues to develop fat deposits under the skin, changing the color of his skin from red to pink. If you're having a boy his testicles have moved from their location near the kidneys through the groin to the scrotum. If you are having a girl, her chlorus is relatively prominent. Your baby is approximately 17.5 inches long weighs a little over four pounds now.

Your Body:

You will be gaining about a pound a week now. While mild swelling is normal, be sure to watch out for any sudden (over the course of two to three days), especially in your face. If you do experience sudden swelling, be sure to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

You can now probably distinguish the baby's knee from his elbow, even though the movements are smaller. You may also notice small bumps that appear to be rhythmic in your uterus. This is probably caused by the baby having hiccups and isn't cause for alarm. Take this time to continue learning all you can about your labor, the birth process, your postpartum months.

Week 34 - (32 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Your baby can - and does - respond just as a newborn would by opening his eyes while awake and closing them while sleeping. Your baby can also grasp firmly and his little fingernails may need to be trimmed shortly after birth. This month also offers more time for your baby to build antibodies and for his skin to continue to thicken. Your baby is approximately 18 inches long and weighs about 4.5 pounds. It's wonderful to know that if your baby was born now, it has a 95 percent chance of full and normal survival with medical intervention.

Your Body:

Your body is really getting ready and you may notice that you have more and more contractions that seem less and less like practice! This is a great sign that your body is getting ready. This is a good time to learn all you can about labor and the stages of labor:

First Stage - This begins when you start to have regular contractions that increase in frequency and intensity. The contractions will then pick up and you will be in the active phase of the first stage of labor. Contractions are more intense and come more frequently, usually requiring more of your attention. Somewhere between this active phase and the next phase, transition, you will change to your place of birth. Transition is the short but hard part of labor. Transition has contractions coming very close together, but they never actually feel any stronger than the contractions of the active phase. At the end of transition you will be completely dilated.

Second Stage - You begin this stage when you are completely dilated. You will begin pushing your baby into this world. Your contractions will get further apart and feel differently. If you have been un-medicated you will feel the urge to push. If you have been medicated you may or may not feel the urge to push and will be directed at how to proceed. If there is an episiotomy done, it will be done at the end of this stage. The end of the second stage will be marked by the birth of your baby!

Third Stage - This is the anticlimax. Anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour after delivering your baby they will want you to give a few small pushes to get the placenta out.

Week 35 - (33 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Your baby is getting plump. The fat deposits are now beginning to offer form and fullness to your baby's legs and arms. Your baby is taking up most of the room in your uterus, so there is a lot less room to move around. Also, your baby's lungs are now completely developed and producing what is called "surfactant", a substance that helps in the exchange of oxygen in the lungs. Your baby is now approximately 18 inches long and weighs about five pounds. If you were to have your premature baby now, you'd be happy to know that there is a 99 percent chance of the baby surviving.

Your Body:

Your routine visits to your healthcare provider may start to include the checking of your cervix now. Your doctor is checking your cervix for signs of effacement and dilation, the indication that labor is not far behind. You may be having trouble sleeping now and there are also numerous physical reasons that sleep may be difficult. For instance, the baby may be putting extra pressure on your bladder and going the bathroom every 45 minutes isn't conducive to sleep. You may also have a backache, swollen feet or may not be able to find a comfortable position. You may want to try doing pelvic tilts before bed, limiting fluids after a certain time, and being tired when you go to bed to aid in falling asleep.

Week 36 - (34 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Your baby continues to put on weight by about ? pound each week. Its no wonder the womb is becoming very cramped. Your baby is gaining weight quickly because layers of fat pile on and help in both body temperature regulation and developing his immunity in preparation for life in the outside world. You may find you are carrying your baby much lower now (or soon will be) as the baby drops into the birth canal, readying himself for birth. Your baby is about 19 inches long and weighs from 5.5 to 6.0 pounds. The vast majority of babies born now will live with little need for intensive medical treatment.

Your Body:

You will probably begin to see your healthcare provider every week now until you give birth. The average weight gain to this point is approximately 25 to 30 pounds. However, based on your body type, height and your baby's size (or even how many babies you are carrying) your weight gain may be more or less. You should be consuming about 2400-2500 calories a day, but be sure to make them count by eating healthy, nutritious foods as your body is working very hard now getting ready for delivery and needs the fuel.

Most babies will be in a head down position at this point. However, about 4 percent of the babies will be breech (meaning the buttocks or feet descend into the birth canal first). If your baby is breech, don't panic. There are plenty of things that you can do to encourage the baby to turn, including special exercises that you can learn from your healthcare provider.

Other things to ask your healthcare provider about (if you have not yet done so) include breastfeeding, Group B Strep and a hospital/birth facility tour.

Week 37 - (35 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Your baby is continuing to grow and gain weight during these last few weeks. Also, he is practicing breathing movements in preparation for the "real world." Your baby will also turn his head toward light and sound just as a newborn would. Around this time your baby's head must be down, if not it could be in a breech position (babies bottom or legs comes into the pelvis first). By the end of this week, your pregnancy would have come full term. Your baby can be born any day now. Your baby is anywhere from 19 to 20 inches long and weighs approximately 6.5 pounds.

Your Body:

Your pregnancy is considered a "term" pregnancy at this point and nothing will be done to stop labor in most circumstances. Any vaginal discharge you may have been having will have more cervical mucus in it as your body begins to prepare for labor. You should plan to take a tour of your birth facility if you have not previously. If you are having a homebirth try to invite everyone over for a quick run through of what you expect.

If you have not given any thought to whether you will breastfeed or bottle feed, now would be the time to do so. There are lots of great books, pamphlets and literature out there about both methods, so be sure to adopt the one that is right for you, your baby and your family.

Pregnancy Symptoms You May Experience

  • Breast Changes, tenderness, fullness, darkening of the areola

  • Frequent Urination

  • Constipation

  • Indigestion or heartburn

  • Occasional headaches

  • Stretch Marks (cocoa butter can help with these)

  • Itching

  • Round ligament pains

  • Hemorrhoids

The final weeks of pregnancy

During the last month of pregnancy, you should visit your physician weekly. In addition to sleep disturbances, you may experience a feeling of major lassitude and impairment due to the increasing size of the fetus. You are prepared for childbirth and you impatiently wait for the first signs of labor.

The term of pregnancy is set at 41 weeks, plus 6 days counting from the first day of the Last Menstrual Period (LMP). The strict mean duration of pregnancy is 282.5 days. If pregnancy continues after the expected date, the term postdatism or postmaturity is used.



Week 38 - (36 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Your baby could be gaining as much as one full ounce of weight per day now. While he continues to urinate and practice breathing, your baby is also storing meconium (your baby's first bowel movement) in his intestines. His lungs are continuing to mature and his grasp has become even firmer then before. Your baby is approximately 20 inches long and weighs about 6 ? to 7 pounds. Almost all babies born now will live with little medical intervention.

Your Body:

You may begin to feel electrical buzzes down your legs and inside your vagina. This is caused from the baby hitting nerves as he settles into your pelvis. You may be experiencing some Braxton-Hicks contractions, which can be irregular and very painful. These contractions may be felt in your back, hips, lower abdomen and your pelvis. The difference between these contractions and "real" ones are that true labor contractions usually start at the top of your uterus and spread over the entire uterus, through your back and into the pelvis. True labor pains will be progressive in strength and duration and will not be alleviated when you change positions. If you're unsure, call your doctor. But don't worry. You'll know the difference - trust your body.

Week 39 - (37 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

The lanugo (that soft covering of hair) is mostly gone now and your baby will continue to gain weight, even up to the last week or two of pregnancy. It doesn't have much room to move in the uterus so movements may begin to slow. At this point, all the organ systems are developed and in place. Your baby is still building a layer of fat to help control body temperature after birth. The last part of development is maturing of lungs. Your baby is ready to greet the world. He is approximately 20 inches and weighs little over 7 pounds.

Your Body:

Your baby may descend into your pelvis now (if he hasn't already). This is called engagement or lightening and usually occurs before labor in first time moms and during labor in subsequent births. You may be feeling huge and very clumsy as well. This happens because your center of gravity shifts, making you feel off balance. The good news: the uterus is not pressing on your diaphragm any more so you can breathe easier. The bad news: the uterus is now pressing on your bladder so you'll be going to the bathroom even more often then before. Your uterus is now 7 to 8 inches above your naval.

As your day of delivery grows closer, you may experience some of the following (although they are not all present and may not be excellent indicators of oncoming labor):

  • Bloody show

  • Loss of mucous plug

  • Nesting instinct

  • Loose stools

  • Loss of weight

  • Increase in appetite
Pregnancy Symptoms You May Experience

  • Breast Changes, tenderness, fullness, darkening of the areola

  • Frequent Urination

  • Constipation

  • Indigestion or heartburn

  • Occasional headaches

  • Stretch Marks (cocoa butter can help with these)

  • Itching

  • Round ligament pains

  • Hemorrhoids
Week 40 - (38 Weeks Gestational)

Your Baby:

Congratulations! Your baby is full term and ready to be born at any time. This is the last week of pregnancy - or is it? If your baby doesn't come this week, don't worry. It's normal for due dates to be off a little and before you know it, your little one will be here. Babies come on their own time. You won't actually be "past due" until you hit around 42 or 43 weeks (depending on your caregiver's guidelines). Just try to relax and take it easy. Your baby is about 20 inches long and may weigh as much as 7 or 8 pounds.

Your Body:

Congratulations! You've made it! This is your "official" last week of pregnancy - hopefully. Your body has been getting ready in many ways over the last few weeks but as you know many healthy pregnancies will still be in full gear past 40 weeks gestation. This is very normal and no cause for concern. Only about four percent of women will actually give birth on their due date. In most cases (98 percent), women will give birth 2 weeks before or 2 weeks after their actual due date. You are not considered "post due" until approximately 42 or 43 weeks gestation. Take the time to rest, relax and prepare yourself for the arrival of your baby.



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