Third Trimester of Pregnancy: Know Everything by Best Obstetrician
What is the third trimester of pregnancy?
Pregnancy happens in 3 stages of 3 months each called trimester. When you reach week 27 of your pregnancy tenure, it means you’re now in your third trimester. In an ideal scenario, this trimester ends at week 40, however, depending on your condition or complications it ends when your baby is delivered. A full-term pregnancy ranges between weeks 37 to 42 of pregnancy. Anything before week 37 is considered premature, and if your baby has not arrived by week 42, your OB-GYN will induce labour to avoid complications or opt for a c-section if there are complications.
What happens during the third trimester of pregnancy?
The third trimester is more tiring and uncomfortable than the other two trimesters primarily because the embryo grows to its full form. The discomfort is mainly attributed to the baby’s position and size, and with the due date approaching soon, anxiety also reaches its peak, making this trimester emotionally challenging as well. It is very important that at this stage you remain positive and try to adapt to the upcoming changes. Here is what you can expect during this stage:
- Embryo Movements: Your baby’s movements are more pronounced and the kicks are more exciting not just for you but also for your family.
- Braxton Hicks contractions: Look out for mild and irregular contractions, more likely to happen around the afternoon or evening, and especially after any physical activity. These contractions increase in frequency and strength as you approach your due date. Now is the time to keep your doctor and healthcare provider on speed dial.
- Backaches: Pregnancy hormones relax the connective tissues around your pelvic area. This helps you bear the child and its growing presence, however, it is often tough on your back, and results in discomfort. The best way to deal with this is by choosing chairs with good back support. At this point, your Lamaze & yoga lessons will be helpful to keep you agile.
- Shortness of breath: As the baby grows, it often pushes the adjoining organs to make space for itself. At this phase practise good posture to spare some space for your lungs to expand and let you breathe properly.
- Heartburn: Digestive issues are also at their peak because it has to make space for the baby. This is why the pregnancy hormones relax the valve between your stomach & oesophagus, which makes it inevitable for the stomach acid to reflux back into your oesophagus, causing heartburn. At this juncture, it is recommended to eat small, frequent meals, while avoiding fried or spicy foods, citrus fruits & chocolate. Be careful, especially when you get sudden cravings.
- Varicose veins & haemorrhoids: The mother’s body is the host for the child’s nourishment. This leads to Increased blood circulation, causing tiny reddish-purplish veins or swollen veins to appear around your body which tend to fade after delivery. The swollen varicose veins on your legs can be very painful and itchy. These can also develop around the rectal area causes haemorrhoids. During the third trimester, keep your legs elevated, eat plenty of fibre and stay hydrated. For veins try warm water soaks or cooling pads on affected areas.
- Frequent urination: As the baby moves towards your pelvis, it adds pressure on your bladder, causing frequent urination, especially during winter. This can be a little problematic as you might experience leakages due to cough, sneezing, or even in the middle of a hearty laugh. This is inevitable in your third trimester as your due date approaches.
What are the complications during the third trimester?
It is essential that you take all sorts of health and medical precautions for some of the most commonly seen problems during the third trimester of pregnancy. These are:
- Gestational diabetes: This is very common during the third trimester of pregnancy. One must follow a special diet and practise Lamaze and yoga to give the body the mobility to stabilise and manage blood sugar levels naturally. If there are other concerns, seek advice from your OB-GYN.
- Iron deficiency/Anaemia: Iron deficiency, also called anaemia, occurs in the third trimester because your haemoglobin rates have dropped, and there isn’t enough RBC to carry adequate oxygen to all parts of your body. Take iron supplements as advised by your OB-GYN.
- Group B strep: This is a naturally found bacteria that live in the vagina or rectum, which can infect your baby at birth. An antibiotic course is suggested during labour in case you test positive for this bacteria.
Apart from this adequate prenatal care should be taken w.r.t. Your babies, such as checking the baby’s progress in terms of size, heart rate, position and movements. Make sure you and your gynaecologist have chalked out a proper birthing plan and made your choices.
How is the third trimester monitored?
During the third trimester, you will need frequent checkups, especially during week 32 to week 36. The doctors will check your weight and blood pressure and thoroughly examine you for any signs or symptoms you experience. Take your vaccines and more importantly the doses of tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccines. These are recommended for each pregnancy ideally taken between weeks 27 and 36 of the third trimester. This will build immunity for the baby at the time of birth.
What emotional changes happen during the third trimester of pregnancy?
There are ample emotional changes in expectant mothers. Some are good and some not so good, but it must be ensured that the mother is always in a positive frame of mind.
- Anticipation Anxiety: As the due date grows nearer, you start worrying about things like- how much it will hurt? or how long the labour will last? or simply how will you cope with the new responsibilities as a parent? For this, it is advisable to enrol for Lamaze classes. This is a special method which includes breathing techniques and emotional support to help the body naturally manage the pain during labour.
- Nesting Instinct: You start looking forward to the arrival of the baby. Start journaling the baby’s developments and plan ahead for the nursery, or baby’s basic needs, etc. You are filled with renewed energy to tidy things up for the baby’s arrival. This is called the nesting instinct. And this is typical for all expectant mothers during the third trimester.
How to prep for your delivery?
Make a checklist of all the things you will need during your third trimester. Start with charting out a birthing plan with your OB-GYN and healthcare provider. This will include monitoring your health pre-labour, any concerns that may indicate a c-section and consultations post-delivery.
At the CK Birla Hospital®, we take pride in planning things out for our expectant families for a seamless and memorable experience of welcoming a child into this world. For this, we don’t leave any stones unturned.
- Avail of the Pregnancy Welfare & Growth Scan, including Doppler Scan as required to check the baby’s position.
- We also help pregnant mothers with their labour and birthing preparations with professionally guided Lamaze and yoga sessions to help manage labour pain and discomfort.
- We help plan out a proper diet chart so that we can prevent iron deficiency or gestational diabetes which is very common during the third trimester and leads to unnecessary complications.
- We support normal deliveries and insist on minimal medicines during birth. We also have water-birthing facilities that can further make your delivery seamless.
- For sudden labour, we have an emergency ambulance service ready to get you to a fully sanitised and safe facility for a healthy delivery.
- We provide lactation consultation, internal medicine and paediatric consultations for newborns and their mothers.
- Our state-of-the-art NICU is fully equipped to deal with any kind of complications in the best possible manner.
Everyone who sees you now is extra careful around you and more attentive to your needs. This is by far the second-best feeling during a pregnancy trumped only by the news of the baby’s arrival. But like they say, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Which is why, our hands-on team of professional caregivers make sure you are well supported and looked after in a homely atmosphere, under compassionate care. Check out our comprehensive maternity package offer here (link to offer blog)