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What to Expect in your Third Trimester

What to Expect in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Congratulations, you made it to the last trimester of your pregnancy! Your maternity care plan is in its final stages and you’re a pro at managing any pregnancy pains that might come up. You probably can’t wait to meet the soon-to-be addition to your family, but you might be wondering what you can expect in these last few months.

To help you get a better understanding of your baby’s development and the pregnancy symptoms you may experience, we’ve laid out an easy guide for you to follow for weeks 28 through 40. From experiencing hip pain to Braxton Hicks contractions, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to close out your pregnancy on a strong note.

Baby Development Timeline

What happens in the third trimester when it comes to your baby’s development? The answer is there’s so much for you to be excited about! As you draw closer to the big day, some big changes will happen. To make it easy for you to see all these exciting developments, we’ve created an easy timeline for you to follow. Feel free to mark down these milestones in your maternity care plan as well!

28 weeks: Your baby has continued to grow over the course of your pregnancy, but at this stage she’s about the size of a bowling pin. When you meet your baby at the end of your third trimester, she will be an average of 19-21” in length.

30 weeks: At this mark, your baby will start putting on almost half a pound a week until birth. During this growth spurt, your baby will run low on space and enter the fetal position before birth.

36 weeks: Around this time, you will feel more and more movement with your baby. She will begin to shift her position towards your pelvis called the “lightening” position. Once this movement is completed, it is one of the early signs of labor. During this time, it's important to note that it's normal to experience hip pain.

Your baby’s brain is also in full development mode. In addition to developing her five senses, your baby will even start to dream!

37-40 weeks: At 37 weeks, your baby is fully developed and may even have some hair! By these last few weeks, your little one’s organs have matured enough that they’re ready for life outside the womb. Get ready to welcome your baby into the world soon!

What to Expect in the Third Trimester: Pregnancy Symptoms

You’re probably wondering what to expect in the third trimester when it comes to symptoms. While there are some new third trimester pregnancy pains, one of most relevant is Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions occur as your body prepares for labor. During these “fake” contractions, your uterine muscles tighten between 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

If you’re looking to tell the difference between a real contraction and Braxton Hicks, get up and move around. Real contractions won’t subside by shifting your position or getting up to stretch. Real contractions will increase in intensity and length as time goes on. If you're unsure, feel free to reach out to your doctor. Identifying Braxton Hicks contractions is a routine part of maternity care.

While Braxton Hicks contractions might seem inconvenient, they are the perfect opportunity to practice your breathing and relaxation techniques before the real thing happens!

Other Third Trimester Pregnancy Pains

Lower back and hip pain: Expect lower back and hip pain during these final months as your baby gets bigger and your hormones begin to shift for labor. The good news is that regular exercise such as walking can do wonders to help.

Shortness of breath: While this third trimester pregnancy pain might be alarming at first, it’s nothing to worry about. As your uterus gets bigger, it will naturally press against your diaphragm and rib cage, making it harder to breathe. An easy fix is to try and stand up more often. Once your baby arrives, this symptom will go away.

Swelling: While it’s completely normal to have swollen ankles or feet, if you experience swelling in your hands or face, be sure to reach out to your doctor.

Congratulations, You Made It!

Congratulations on making it to the home stretch! While it’s been a long journey, you’re on your way to meeting your child! Now that you know what to expect in the third trimester, you can focus more time on preparing for the arrival of your baby!

Schedule an Appointment at King’s Daughters’ Health Today

If you’re pregnant, schedule an appointment at King’s Daughters’ Health. Our family-centered obstetricians can answer any questions or concerns you may have and help you hit the ground running, so you can have a healthier, safer pregnancy. Contact us today to learn more about our OB-GYN team and the maternity care services we provide.

CALL TODAY: 812.801.0856

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