A pregnancy is usually divided into three parts, called trimesters. The last three months of pregnancy are usually referred to the third trimester. If you talk about weeks, it includes weeks 27 to 40. What can you expect in the third trimester?
In the beginning of the third trimester, the baby already weighs about two pounds, and is 14 inches long. This means that if you haven’t been showing much until now, from now on everybody is going to know you are in the family way!
The development of the baby is now speeding up. It will grow in size, usually resulting in some discomfort for the mother. As the baby gets bigger, it will press on the bladder, with the result that the mother will need to urinate frequently.
Many women also experience back-ache at this time in the pregnancy. This is partly due to the size of the baby, and the ensuing big stomach. But it is also because the body is preparing for birth. Hormones in the body make the joints loosen up, which later is imperative for the pelvis to be able to accommodate the baby coming out. A lot of women also feel the pain in their hips.
To alleviate pain in your back and elsewhere, try to shift position. Staying in any one position for an extended period of pain is not good. If you have to sit down, put a cushion or something to support your back. While standing up, lift one foot and put it on a low stool. There are special cushions you can use when sleeping, putting it between your legs, to alleviate discomfort while lying down.
By the end of pregnancy the baby will take its position deep down, preparing for birth. Before that, though, it will be pressing on the lungs of the mother. This can make it difficult to breath. Some women feel a kind of panic, which makes it even worse. The best is to try to keep your chest high up, and open, allowing the air to flow as freely as possible.
The same goes for the stomach, the baby will press on it, giving it less space. This can lead to severe heart-burn. The remedy for this is watching your diet. Eat smaller meals, at intervals during the day. Try to avoid fried food, or spicy food.
Some women get really scared during the third trimester when they experience contractions. Most of the time it isn’t time for birth, it is something called Braxton Hicks contractions. Again, the body is preparing for birth. Usually these contractions are weaker and more sporadic than the real thing. Of course, always check with your doctor if you are concerned.
The third trimester can be tiresome. Your body is big, your breasts are swelling, and it’s difficult to be comfortable. It’s good to stay active, keeping up with exercises. But it’s also a time to build up the reserves you need for caring for your baby later. A time to rest a bit more than usual, if you can. The birth is approaching, the baby will soon come out. All those problems will be forgotten when you hold your child in your arms!