The third trimester of pregnancy is the final trimester and lasts from weeks 29 to 40 of pregnancy. During this time, your baby continues to grow and develop, and your body prepares for labor and delivery.
During the third trimester, your baby’s lungs mature and they begin to practice breathing. They also develop their senses of sight and hearing, and they can even recognize your voice. By the end of the third trimester, your baby will be about 19-21 inches long and weigh between 6 and 9 pounds.
Your changing body
Your body also goes through many changes during the third trimester. You may experience weight gain, swelling in your feet and ankles, and heartburn. You may also have trouble sleeping and feel more tired than usual.
Some of the most common symptoms of the third trimester include:
- Braxton Hicks contractions: These are mild, irregular contractions that are normal during pregnancy. They help your body prepare for labor.
- Backaches: Pregnancy hormones can relax the ligaments in your pelvis, which can lead to back pain.
- Shortness of breath: As your baby grows, they take up more space in your abdomen, which can make it difficult to breathe deeply.
- Heartburn: Hormones can also relax the valve between your stomach and esophagus, which can lead to heartburn.
- Spider veins, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids: These are all caused by increased blood flow during pregnancy.
- Frequent urination: As your baby grows, they put pressure on your bladder, which can make you need to urinate more often.
What to expect
During the third trimester, you will have more frequent prenatal checkups. Your doctor will monitor your weight gain, blood pressure, and other vital signs. They will also check your baby’s growth and development.
It is important to listen to your body and rest when you need to. You may also want to start taking childbirth classes to prepare for labor and delivery.
When to call the doctor
Call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms during the third trimester:
- Severe or frequent contractions
- Vaginal bleeding
- Fluid leaking from your vagina
- Severe headache
- Blurred vision
- Swelling in your hands or face
- Pain in your upper abdomen
- Decreased fetal movement
The third trimester of pregnancy can be both exciting and challenging. As you get closer to your due date, it is important to listen to your body and take care of yourself. Be sure to eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and get enough sleep.