Welcome to your Third Trimester of Pregnancy!
by Jennifer Shakeel
If you are anything like me, this is probably the hardest trimester of pregnancy to get through. I say this for a couple of reasons, it is so close to the time that your baby is going to be born that you just can’t stand it. You want to hold him or her, hear the cooing, see the perfect little fingers and toes. I can tell you that this excitement does not go away even when this is your third child.
The second reason I think this is the hardest trimester to get through is because by now, you are feeling pregnant. The aches, the restless nights, this is when you are going to put on the bulk of your weight and frankly, you are just tired of being pregnant. That is where I am at right now, counting down the days. To help, I am going to know tell you what you can expect with your growing baby this trimester and the changes in your body.
By now you are feeling the movements of that little acrobat inside you. The movements are going to range from bucking kicks and a flurry of smaller movements. I can tell you from experience that each baby is different. My first child was a wild acrobat that kicked like crazy. My second child really didn’t kick, but stretched all the time. These are different feelings I tell you. It was always fun to watch my second child’s head push up or his feet as he stretched.
Now at 28 weeks baby is starting to put his or her head down. This perfectly normal and automatic and the baby seems to like this position. Baby is also able to sense the difference between light and dark in the uterus. This can impact the sleep wake cycles of baby. Guess what, baby can hear too! Not just the sounds of your heart beat or the gurgling of your stomach, but he or she can hear your voice! So talk to you belly, have your spouse talk to your belly. My son says good night to his soon to be here little sister every night. To get an idea of what the sounds are like, think about the last time you were under water and could hear the people talking around you.
By now, baby is developing eyelashes as more subcutaneous fat is deposited. If you are having a boy then it is now that the testes are descending. Baby is almost 14 inches long and weight about 2.5 pounds. If you were to have baby now, they have a very good chance of surviving.
Baby is getting ready to entire the world at this point. The best way to help you get through this month is to remember that everyday your baby is in your uterus at this time is 2 less days he or she would have to spend in the hospital if baby was born now. The red cell production is being done completely by the baby’s bone marrow. Baby is urinating every day into the amniotic fluid at this point. Baby passes about a .5 liter per day.
As far as baby’s eyes are concerned the irises can now dilate and respond to light. Baby is able to open and close their eyes at their will now. The finger nails have reached the end of the fingers, there are some babies that come out needing a nail trim. Had a lot of indigestion during your pregnancy chances are you are expecting your baby to come out with a full head of hair. Know that old wives tales are not always true and it is perfectly normal for baby to come out with flowing locks… or no locks at all.
In the last month baby has packed on about 2 pounds most of which is fat and muscle tissue. This brings baby’s weight to almost four pounds now and they are almost 16 inches long!
It is a rare that I get very far into this month. I always go early. Based on my nursing experience, research I am going to tell you what to expect of baby this month. A full term pregnancy is basically a 40 week pregnancy. Typically most women give birth between 36 and 40 weeks. If you haven’t delivered by week 40 they will induce labor. The due date they give you is really just a best guess. The majority of babies will come either 2 weeks before the due date to two weeks after your due date.
Baby’s organs have been completely developed for a while now. This month baby is working on the finishing touches before being born. I call this the in uteuro primping. Just like those last touches you do in the mirror before going out, this is what baby is doing. The lungs are secreting the final burst of surfactant so that the lungs completely expand at birth. The kidneys are producing plenty of urine and he or she is adding another half pound for every week until they are at 37 weeks. Then weight gain slows down. The average weight of a baby is 7.5 pounds and they are 18 to 22 inches long.
Baby is going to give your body signals as to when they are ready to come out and that is going to induce labor.
You and Your Body this Last Trimester of Pregnancy
You start off the trimester with gaining about 5 pounds your 7th month… guess what, you will continue to put on 3 to 4 pounds each month until you give birth. Like I said, this is where all the weight comes. Fun! Fun! My advice, go out and buy new maternity clothes. You will feel better. Trust me.
You will probably notice that you are little more moody. My husband informed me that this was the month that he noticed I would get upset quicker and it would take me longer to calm down. I had a short fuse… no patience. Fortunately that subsided.
Sleep… ahhh, something you are surely missing in this trimester. I say that it is your mind and body’s way to prepare for long nights with a new baby. To help you get a better nights sleep try drinking something wrong and lay on your side. I can tell you that if I lay on my right side I fall asleep quickly, if I lay on my left it takes me forever to fall asleep. This isn’t saying that I stay asleep, I am usually up three and four times a night, and it takes nothing to wake me up. Again, I know that it is mother natures way of preparing me for a new baby.
That last month, you are going to notice that your belly is changing shape as baby changes positions and begins to drop. This should help breathing, as it should become easier. However, you will notice that you are visiting the potty more often.
I advise that you start making the birth plan. Have plan A and plan B for getting to the hospital when you go into labor. Pack a hospital bag and a diaper bag. If you already have children talk to friends and family to make arrangements for who can help you and hubby while you are in the hospital so that your other children are having their needs met. Know that you can be in the hospital for a day or days. With my first I was in and out in 22 hours. With my second I was in the hospital for 7 days, out for 4 days and we were back for another 5 days. Make a plan! It is better to have the plan and not need it then to try to deal with chaos after having a baby.
Good luck! Many blessings to you and yours with the birth of your precious little baby!
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!