When you reach the third trimester of pregnancy, you're on the home stretch. You'll be looking forward to seeing your baby face to face but before you do, there's still a few more weeks of growing to get through. Here's what to expect in these final few weeks.
Baby’s growth during the third trimester
Your baby will be rapidly putting on weight in the third trimester as fat stores are developed in preparation for birth. Your baby will have established sleep-wake routines and you will be able to tell by their movements the times when they are active and awake.
The average length of pregnancy is 40 weeks, with most babies being born somewhere between 38 to 42 weeks. By the 37th week, all your baby’s systems and organs will have developed to a point that means your baby is able to survive without medical assistance if born after this time.
What’s happening to mum?
In the third trimester, the extra weight you’re carrying may be making you feel cumbersome and tired, and your back may feel achy and sore. You might also feel discomfort in your pelvis and hips as your ligaments loosen to prepare for labour. Your growing baby will be putting pressure on all your internal organs, which can lead to you experiencing common pregnancy complaints such as the need to go to the toilet all the time, heartburn and breathlessness. You might start to feel mild contractions known as Braxton Hicks contractions, which are warm-ups to prepare your uterus for the real labour to come.
Despite all these discomforts, many women find the third trimester a time of great excitement as they make final plans in preparation for the imminent birth of their baby.
To ensure the ongoing health of you and your baby, visits with your lead maternity carer (LMC) become more frequent as the due date approaches. This is also a good opportunity for you to ask questions about anything that might be concerning you.
Red flag symptoms
Any of these symptoms could be a sign that something is wrong with your pregnancy. Don't wait for your regular prenatal visit to talk about them. Call your doctor or LMC right away if you experience:
- severe abdominal pain or cramps
- severe nausea or vomiting
- severe dizziness
- pain or burning during urination
- baby not moving as normal.