Your Third Trimester

Weeks 28-40

Are you getting excited to meet your new baby? There’s a lot to do during this final chapter of your pregnancy — some fun things, like decorating your baby’s room, and some not-so-fun things, like trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in. As you prepare for labor, childbirth, and life with your little one, we’re here to help ease the way.

Weeks 28-32

Your baby

Is the size of an eggplant, a little more than 2 pounds now, and 14 to 15 inches long.
With lungs almost fully developed, your little one is busy practicing breathing.
Your baby’s skin is becoming less wrinkly and smoothing out.
The hair on your baby’s head is getting longer.

Your baby’s brain and vision are developing very quickly now. The bones are fully formed, but still soft and flexible for delivery. Little fingernails and toenails are growing, lungs are maturing, and the nervous system is almost complete. Your little one has been busy going through so many big changes!

Your body

Are you feeling really pregnant these days? As you adjust to a new center of gravity and new symptoms like back pain, it goes with the territory. And so does this: As your body starts to produce breast milk, you may start to notice wet spots. Nursing pads can help — they’re designed to fit between your nipples and your bra to absorb leaks. You’ll definitely need them once your baby gets here, so stock up and start using them now if you need to.

Now’s a good time to pack your hospital bag, just in case you go into labor early. It’s also important to keep an eye out for sudden puffiness in your face, hands and feet — or headache and vision changes. Call us right away if you notice any of these signs.

To do list:

  • Save the address and phone number of your labor and delivery department to your cell phone.

  • Start the process of choosing a pediatrician. Need a recommendation? Ask us!

  • Keep taking your prenatal vitamins — and continue while you’re breastfeeding, too.

Weeks 33-36

Your baby

Weighs up to 5 pounds and is about the size of a spaghetti squash.
Your little one acts more like a newborn now, closing his or her eyes when sleeping and opening them when awake.
Your baby is taking up most of the space in the amniotic sac as he or she gets bigger, so there’s less fluid to cushion kicks. Are you feeling your little one’s movements more sharply?

Your body

Frequent trips to the bathroom, leg cramps, breathlessness, trouble sleeping — even Braxton Hicks contractions. Already! They’re all signs that your baby is preparing to make his or her way into the world. Your body needs rest, so take naps when you can. And continue to eat a diet that includes omega-3 fatty acids from foods like salmon and walnuts. They’re especially good for your baby’s brain and vision development.

At 36 weeks, you may be waddling when you walk, and you may experience pain or discomfort as your baby’s head, along with your larger uterus, makes walking uncomfortable. These symptoms should improve when your baby drops farther into your pelvic cavity and your body gets ready for childbirth.

To do list:

Pack your hospital bag.
Wrap up loose ends at work.
Practice the breathing and relaxation techniques you learned in childbirth class.
Track your baby’s movements:

  • Lie down on your side or relax in a comfortable chair.

  • Make a note of the time.

  • Pay attention only to your baby’s movements. Count any movement that you can feel (except hiccups). Any twist, kick, or turn is 1 movement.

  • After you count 10 movements, check the time and record on the card how many minutes it took.

If your baby does not kick or move within 1 hour

  • Do some or all of these things and then try again:

  • Eat or drink something, like fruit or juice.

  • Lie on your left side.

  • Walk around for 5 minutes.

Call us right away if your baby:

  • Has not moved 10 times by the end of 2 hours

  • Has a sudden decrease in normal activity

Weeks 37-40

Your baby

Is about the size of a honeydew melon.
Little hands are strong enough to grasp with his or her fingers.
Your baby is nearly full-term, which means if you go into labor right now, he or she is most likely ready to thrive without medical help.

Are you feeling a bit weighed down? No wonder! Your baby weighs 6 pounds or more — and will spend the next weeks putting on a few more pounds. By now your baby’s physical development is complete. Although the lungs are fully mature, the umbilical cord will support your baby’s breathing until after birth.

Your body

You might be breathing a little easier as your baby drops down into the birth canal. Your nipples may stick out a little more as you get ready to breastfeed. You won’t feel it, but your cervix is starting to thin and open to prepare for childbirth. Try to relax, take it easy, and enjoy these last days before your baby comes. The amazing moment when you finally meet your baby is just around the corner.

Call labor and delivery if:

  • You have bleeding similar to a menstrual period

  • Your baby has moved fewer than 10 times in 2 hours

  • Your baby’s movements have slowed down for 24 hours

 

If your water breaks, be prepared to tell us the:

  • Time it happened

  • Color of the fluid

  • Amount of fluid (gush or trickle)

  • To absorb the fluid, use a sanitary pad or a towel, not a tampon.​

Call labor and delivery immediately if:

  • Contractions that become regular or stronger

  • Fainting spells or dizziness

  • Blurred vision

  • Pain in your chest or belly

  • Fever of 100.4 degrees or higher

  • Sudden puffiness in your hands or face

  • Sudden weight gain of more than 2 pounds in 1 week

 

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