Your Quick Guide Through the Third Trimester


Table of Contents

third trimester

Weeks 29-32

You may feel breathless due to all that additional weight you are carrying. Leg cramps at night are common around this time. If you find it hard to sleep because you can't get comfortable, try lying curled up on your side with a pillow between your legs and a cushion under your bump to see if it feels easier. You might feel the urge to pass urine a lot as well. Your baby will be very active by this time, and you will be aware of a lot of movements.

Weeks 33-36

You will notice contractions around this time; these are known as Braxton Hicks contractions. This is your uterus practicing for the tightening or contractions of labor from time to time, and it is a common phenomenon during pregnancy. If these contractions are more often and associated with pain, contact your doctor. Only around 5% of babies arrive on their due date. There is not much area for your baby to move about, but still she will change positions frequently.

Weeks 37-40

By around 37 weeks, your pregnancy is considered full-term. As your baby starts to move down into your pelvis, you will feel an increased pressure in your lower abdomen. The date of delivery for most women would be between 38 and 42 weeks of pregnancy.

Care You Need

Prenatal Tests:

The last month of pregnancy involves weekly check-ups. Your doctor may suggest routine tests such as monitoring your blood pressure and weight, your baby's heartbeat and movements and tests to detect infections. Your prenatal visits may include pelvic examinations to check the baby's position and detect cervical changes. Towards the end of pregnancy, if your baby's head has moved down into your lower abdomen or at the top of the birth canal, you are ready to deliver. If your baby is positioned feet first, then your doctor will try to turn the baby by applying pressure to your abdomen. This procedure is known as an external cephalic version. If the baby still remains in the same position, you may have to opt for a C-section delivery.

Diet and Exercise:

During the third trimester, your body feels like it weighs a ton, and it’s an effort to just get around. But you are also approaching delivery time, so you have to make sure you have more energy and your body is strong and flexible for delivering your baby. You may feel short of breath, legs cramping and pelvic ache, especially when exercising during the final months of your pregnancy. Even simple stretches can tire you out, but don’t worry since that is natural. Let your body be your guide and do as much exercise as is comfortable. Exercises ideal for third trimester:

  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Cardio workouts
  • Low impact aerobics
  • Strength training
  • Yoga and meditation

Avoid these during your third trimester:

  • Lying on your back for more than 5 minutes at a time
  • Excessive stretching
  • Exercises with a higher risk of falling
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Excessive abdominal work
  • Breathing so hard during exercise that you are unable to carry on a conversation

Watch Out For

  • Bleeding (could be a sign of a medical condition called placenta previa, which requires an emergent ultrasound and complete bed rest for the remaining weeks of pregnancy. In the absence of placenta previa, sexual intercourse could also cause bleeding).
  • Swelling in your feet, headaches, blurring of vision, chest pain (can indicate increased blood pressure which will require further investigation and supervised treatment).
  • Burning sensation while urinating (indicative of an infection which is common and has to be treated)
  • Severe abdominal pain (could be due to UTI, false labour pains or true labour pains)
  • Fits
  • Unable to feel your baby kick
  • Breaking your water before time

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