What Should I Expect During My Third Trimester?

By the time the third trimester rolls around most women are accustomed to their pregnancy and excited and nervous about the impending delivery. During the last three months of pregnancy the baby will put on weight and continue growing. The baby’s lungs will mature more and prepare the baby for delivery. Moms at this stage will generally put on more weight and the stomach will distend even more. False labor contractions usually begin, which can be really scary for first time moms who aren’t sure whether they are the real thing or not.

Pregnant women in their third trimesters may want to take a childbirth and breastfeeding class to prepare for the birth and feeding the baby. Women usually become uncomfortable with their bodies during this stage and may find it difficult to sleep or find a comfortable position. Swelling feet and ankles are also more common during this stage as the baby puts more pressure on mom’s arteries.

At the end of the third trimester most babies have reached 19-21 inches in length and will weigh between six and nine pounds on average. During the third trimester the fetus develops sight and hearing and the lungs and kidneys finish maturing.

Many women experience what is referred to as “lightening” by the 36th week. This is when the baby’s head drops down into the pelvis to prepare for delivery. The baby’s skull bones are soft to make delivery easier. When the baby is 38 to 40 weeks he/she has matured and is ready to make an entrance into the world.

During this part of the pregnancy it is not uncommon for women to feel very hot because the baby is also producing body heat and increasing the mother’s body temperature. The baby’s growth has also resulted in more pressure being placed on the bladder, which increases the amount of bathroom trips necessary each day. This is a common part of the pregnancy when stretch marks begin to appear on the thighs, breasts, and abdomen.

There are many other symptoms that pregnant women may experience during the third trimester and these are just a few. Heartburn, indigestion, and varicose veins are also quite common. The most important thing is for women to rest and enjoy the last months of their pregnancy.