What to Expect: Third Trimester

You’re nearly there, the finish line is materialising, and you may be feeling scared and excited. Expect some discomfort as your pregnancy reaches this stage. If sleeping is becoming harder and harder, think of it as preparation for your new baby as a full night sleep will soon become a thing of the past for probably the next few years!

The beginning of the last trimester, a small amount of colostrum (thin, yellow breast milk) may leak from your breasts. If your blood group is Rhesus negative, an antibody check will be taken in the last trimester. You may feel that you are putting on weight quickly at this point. Swollen feet, legs and fingers at the end of the third trimester are common. It is usually harmless, as long as your blood pressure is normal and you do not have protein in your urine. Put your feet up when you are resting and wear shoes that are comfortable. Your body is now beginning to feel the strain and you may find yourself getting tired and out of breath when climbing stairs. Try to maintain good posture when you are standing or sitting throughout the third trimester.

Your midwife or doctor will check your baby’s position as well as checking the baby’s heartbeat and rate of growth. You may now be feeling a bit uncomfortable due to your baby’s bottom sticking up under your ribs or by his/her head bumping into your bladder. You may also be feeling quite breathless as your lungs are squashed by your expanding uterus. This is a period of rapid growth, so eat small, frequent meals to keep energy levels high in the last trimester. Unfortunately, expect some backache, a common symptom of this stage of pregnancy. Ensure that you don’t lift anything heavy, get plenty of rest and wear good support underwear.

Rapid growth could result in you feeling quite hungry in the final weeks of the last trimester. Because of the weight of your uterus pushing against your stomach, it is better to eat small snacks at regular short intervals instead of large meals. This will help with indigestion and heartburn. Your body will be working extremely hard now, so you may feel hot and flushed as you have more blood circulating and you are burning more calories.

If your baby has hiccups, you will feel them. Although you will experience less movement in the third trimester as your baby becomes more cramped in the uterus, you will feel a strange buzzing sensation inside your vagina as the baby’s head moves against your pelvic floor muscles. Emotionally, expect excitement and apprehension as your due date approaches. The last weeks can sometimes be tedious and tiring as you are eager for the birth. Your baby will be three times as heavy at birth as it was at 28 weeks and will weigh anything from 5.5lbs to 11lbs (2.5-5kg).

Finally, the day you have been waiting for has almost arrived. You will feel sharp kicks under your ribs at either side and the presenting part presses through the softened, partially-opened cervix. Your baby is ready to be born; but remember, some babies come sooner or later than the due date. Be patient, you’re almost there!