Third Trimester

According to a pregnancy calendar, the third trimester is the final stage of your pregnancy. During this time you might find that your size makes even routine tasks uncomfortable. You might begin having a hard time sleeping and the size of your growing fetus might also be putting a significant amount of strain on your back.

Your unborn child will be going through significant changes during these last few weeks. Your fetus will gain approximately six pounds and grow five inches during this time. Her eyes will open and close and her skin will become less wrinkly as fat accumulates. The lanugo (downy hair that covers a fetus from sometime around the beginning of the 2nd trimester) will be almost entirely gone by the time your baby is born.

When Does the Third Trimester Begin?

The third trimester starts at 28 weeks. Your baby is approximately 10 inches long and weighs two pounds. His rate of survival is very high, close to 90 percent by some statistics, if he were to born at this stage. And the likelihood of neurological and physical impairment is low but a premature baby at 28 third trimester weeks will still require intensive neonatal care.

Many women choose to get a 3-D third trimester ultrasound around 32 weeks of fetus development. At this point the baby is large enough to fully see all her features. Her face will be a little chubby and 3-D images will be exceptionally clear because she will be fully developed but not so large that she's overly cramped in the uterus.

Your Body

Third trimester symptoms are often more challenging than other stages of your pregnancy unless you had extreme morning sickness in the first trimester. You'll probably gain the most amount of weight and your belly will get much larger and stick out far enough to become a hindrance. Third trimester pictures of pregnant women show that many have a significant change in the shape of their bellies in the final trimester as their babies drop in a downward position. You may experience more backaches and the weight of your baby can cause painful hemorrhoids, spider veins and varicose veins.

Your growing uterus can cause swelling in your feet and ankles as it puts pressure on the veins that send blood to your legs and feet. Fluid retention is common and you may find that your eyelids and face are puffier than usual. Extreme face of eye swelling could be a sign of high blood pressure so be sure to let your health care provider know about persistent swelling.

Vaginal discharge tends to be heavier and you'll find you need to urinate more often as the baby presses down on your bladder. Heartburn and shortness of breath are also common. You might begin experience Braxton Hicks contractions and these can be painful.

Late Term Pregnancy Termination

Most women will not choose third trimester abortions if they no longer wish to be pregnant. In fact, these types of abortions are illegal in many places. The procedure needs to be done surgically and physical side effects can be heavy cramping and bleeding. Emotional side effects can be more damaging and long lasting.

Preparing for Childbirth

The last weeks of your pregnancy will likely be full of final preparations like finishing the nursery and buying baby items you may not have yet like diapers, wipes, baby shampoo and rash cream. You may find that you suddenly have increased energy levels and want to nest. While it's a good idea to make sure your home is organized before your baby arrives, try not to overdo it. Try to get as much sleep as you can because sleep may seem like a long-ago luxury once the baby arrives.


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