Now that you have successfully navigated two-thirds of your pregnancy, what
can you expect in the last three months?
The third trimester of pregnancy, from weeks 28 to 40, is a remarkable
period of growth and development for your baby. This is when your baby
begins to develop fat under her skin, so that she starts to look like the
baby you expect to see at birth.
Portrait in Miniature
By the end of week 32, your little one is likely to weigh about 4
pounds and be about 11 inches long. She will continue to gain weight
rapidly so that by the time she's born, she may weigh about 7 to 8
She'll begin to develop a sleep-wake cycle, and you may start to be
aware of when she's awake and moving and when she's asleep and quiet.
You may also notice periods of rhythmic movement that probably mean she
has the hiccups.
In your third trimester, your baby now begins to suck her thumb or make
sucking movements with her mouth, so that she'll already have learned how
to nurse by the time she's born. Her eyelids are no longer fused, which
means she can open and close them regularly. She develops her ability to
see and hear, and you'll notice that she becomes responsive to stimuli in
your environment, such as noises, music, or light.
The Comfort Zone
In the third trimester, you'll probably discover both positives and
negatives about the final months of pregnancy. The negatives are the
physical discomforts you’re probably experiencing, most of them due to the
increasing size and weight of your baby. You may find yourself feeling
short of breath as your baby begins to press up against your diaphragm and
lungs, so that climbing a flight of stairs or taking a brisk walk around
the block is no longer an easy task. Backache and fatigue may slow you down
because of the increased weight you're carrying around.
Easy Does It
Take this chance to slow down and make fewer demands on yourself. Ask
friends or family members to help you whenever possible.
It may be hard to find a comfortable sleeping position at night, and
you may find yourself making frequent bathroom runs as the baby presses
on your bladder. Cutting down on fluids just before you go to bed will
Many women notice swelling (also called edema) in their ankles and feet
because of extra fluids in their body. Elevating your legs whenever you
can will help relieve this swelling.
Emotionally, you may find that you're getting downright impatient with
this pregnancy. You want your baby in your arms, not in your uterus any
Here are some more tips for making your third trimester comfortable and
If weather permits, take a leisurely walk outdoors a few times a week.
The fresh air will invigorate you, get your blood circulating, and
decrease some of the aches and stiffness you may be feeling.
Attend a childbirth class to learn comfort measures and stretching
exercises. Use the relaxation exercises taught there, along with some
visual imagery and music, to help you relax and focus on the excitement
Sleep on your side at night for comfort. Use pillows to support your
upper leg and your back. Get at least seven hours of sleep each night
and nap during the day so you approach childbirth as rested as
Read, read, and read. Information about labor, birth, and baby care
will help to decrease your anxieties and prepare you for the events
Keep your weekly prenatal appointment so that your healthcare provider
can follow your progress and your baby's as you approach birth. Knowing
that all is well will enable you to relax and enjoy the last few weeks
of being pregnant.
On the positive side of your third trimester is the increasing anticipation
and excitement. Knowing that your baby is growing and healthy, feeling him
move and kick ever more vigorously, preparing for his birth, choosing a
name, buying baby clothes and getting all the things ready to care for him
in your home, and realizing that in just a number of weeks he'll be here
all make this time special.
It is an incredible time, so try to relax and enjoy it. You're almost