Pregnancy Third Trimester

Pregnancy is 9 months, or 40 weeks long, and is divided into three phases. The third trimester is the third and final phase, which lasts from months 7 to 9, or weeks 29 to 40. Just a few days to giving birth, this final phase can be the most challenging too. This is the time when your baby grows fully. By week 32, the bones get fully developed. In the 36th week, the baby starts to take a position to get ready for birth. This is when his/her head starts to move into your pelvic area. If this doesn’t happen, and the baby is not able to take the position, your doctor will help you with it, or you might be recommended to go through a cesarean, which is a surgery in which the doctor cuts through your abdomen and uterus to deliver the baby. 

Here are the changes that happen to the baby in the third trimester:

  • The heart, lungs and other vital organs mature and develop fully.
  • Bones develop, and your baby gains muscle mass and fat.
  • Bones in the skull get soft to make it easier to pass through during delivery. 
  • Can open eyes and see
  • Can hear.
  • Can smile.
  • Can cry.
  • Can suck thumb

At the end of pregnancy, the baby gets 19-21 inches long and weighs around 3.5 kilos.

What Happens To Your Body During The Third Trimester?

This is the most challenging phase in pregnancy, and as their due date gets near, women get increasingly anxious and uncomfortable. The baby grows so big and occupies a large area in the abdominal cavity that many women find it difficult to breathe deeply. They also find it difficult to get comfortable for sleep. However, not all women feel discomfort as they anxiously await the beginning of the new chapter in their life. Here is how a woman’s body changes during the third trimester:

  • Your abdomen aches: In the third trimester, your baby grows large and occupies a large area in the abdomen. This can cause some abdominal discomfort and aches.
  • Backache: You gain weight during pregnancy, which puts excess pressure on the back, leading to backache. You can use a heating pad to ease the pain. Your doctor might also prescribe a safe medicine. 
  • Hips discomfort: Towards the end of pregnancy, the ligaments loosen up to make your body ready for delivery. This causes discomfort in the pelvis and hip areas. To ease it, instead of giving in to the discomfort, maintain a good posture. Sit straight, and if you sit on a chair or a sofa, choose the one with proper back support. 
  • You get frequent leg cramps.
  • Sciatica pain in which you feel the pain that goes from your lower back, to your hips, and to your legs, is also common during the third trimester. To ease it, you can do Yoga, opt for physiotherapy or go for a massage. 
  • You might get varicose veins.
  • Light bleeding towards the end of pregnancy can be a sign that you are going into labour. However, spotting can indicate something serious too. It might indicate preterm labour, or placental abruption, that is the placenta has separated from the uterine wall, or placenta previa, which means the placenta is covering the cervix. These are serious conditions that need immediate medical care.
  • Braxton-Hicks Contractions: These are mild contractions, also called false labour, which you get close to birth. Although these are not as intense as the real one but might be confused with the real labour. You can distinguish it with the fact that real labour gets closer and closer and the intensity increases. 
  • Your breasts get large and close to the due date, a yellowish fluid starts to leak from nipples. This fluid is called colostrum that nourishes the baby for the first few weeks before the breasts start producing milk.
  • Towards the end of pregnancy, there is increased vaginal discharge that may contain mucus. If there is a sudden burst of fluids, that might mean that your water has broken.
  • You might get hemorrhoid during this period. 
  • As your baby grows large, its head presses against the bladder, which means frequent bathroom trips. Also, you might experience that urine leaks when you cough, sneeze or exercise. 
  • You suffer from heartburn and constipation.
  • Many women get stretch marks on their tummy, breasts, thighs, and hips. These are marks that form when your skin stretches. 
  • You feel tired often during the third trimester but get your energy back in the second one. That energy again drops in the third trimester due to weight gain, frequent urination, and anxiety over giving birth. To cope with it, have healthy foods, exercise, and rest well.
  • During pregnancy, your uterus expands so much that it rests right below the rib cage. This leaves lungs with little room to expand. This can cause shortness of breath.
  • Weight gain: You gain over 10 kilos during pregnancy. This weight comprises that of the baby, the placenta, amniotic fluids, new breast tissues, and increased fluid volume.  

Possible Complications During Third Trimester

Here are some of the complications that might occur during the third trimester:

Gestational Diabetes

  • In this the woman’s blood sugar level spikes during pregnancy.
  • This happens because the pregnancy-induced hormonal changes might make it difficult for your body to use insulin. As the insulin is no longer able to bring the blood sugar level down, it leads to its spike.
  • Although it doesn’t impact the mother in a major way, it can have an impact on the baby. 
  • The baby can become too large, which is known as macrosomia, due to which you might need to undergo cesarean, or there could be injuries while giving birth.
  • Gestational diabetes can be treated with diet, such as eating fewer carbohydrates or making lifestyle changes, such as doing light physical exercise. In some cases, your doctor might prescribe you some medicines.
  • Gestational diabetes goes away after giving birth, however, it increases the woman’s risk of getting diabetes later in her life. 


  • This is a serious condition, chiefly characterised by high blood pressure, that can have a detrimental impact on both the mother and the baby.
  • Its symptoms include high blood pressure, protein in the urine, sudden weight gain, swelling in hands and feet, a headache that just won’t go away, poor vision, abdominal pain, and shortness of breath.
  • If left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to seizure, kidney failure, and can even lead to the death of the mother and the child. 
  • Treatment chiefly depends on the severity of the condition and how far you are in your pregnancy. If you are close to your due date, delivery is the option.

Placenta Problems

  • Bleeding towards the end of pregnancy might be a sign that you are about to go into labour. However, if spotting occurs, that might also indicate a problem with the placenta.
  • There are basically two issues: placenta previa, in which the placenta blocks the cervix, and placental abruption in which it prematurely separates from the uterus. 

Premature Rupture Of Membranes (PROM)

  • Rupture of the membrane is the medical term for water has broken and happens during pregnancy. It is when the amniotic sac that surrounds the baby ruptures and the fluid gets out.
  • However, if this happens too early, called premature rupture of membranes (PROM), then it can pose a problem.
  • However, the exact cause is not known. An infection in the amniotic sac, or hereditary might be the possible reasons. 
  • Treatment options include giving antibiotics, steroids, and medicines to stop labour. If PROM occurs after 34 weeks of pregnancy, the doctor might prescribe delivery. 

Preterm Labour

  • This happens when a woman starts having contractions accompanied by changes in the cervix before the 37th week of her pregnancy.
  • There are certain risk factors behind it such as if you are pregnant with twins, excess amniotic fluids, or there is an infection in the amniotic sac, or if you had preterm delivery in the past. 

Post-term Labour

  • Pregnancy generally lasts for 40 weeks. But if this period gets prolonged till 42 weeks, then it’s called post-term pregnancy.
  • Although this doesn’t have any major impact on the mother, can affect the baby in a major way.
  • The placenta, which provides oxygen and nutrients to the baby, is designed for 40 weeks, and likely gets less effective after that. Hence, the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby gets reduced, which might compress the umbilical cord, which in turn reduces the oxygen supply to the baby.
  • This can even lead to the death of the baby.
  • In case of less amniotic fluid around the baby, or if his/her heart rate drops, the doctors might induce labour. If this is not the case, they might wait, but not for more than 42 to 43 weeks. 

Tips To Take Care Of Yourself During Third Trimester

With just a few days to your due date, it is extremely crucial to take care of yourself during the third trimester, as it is throughout the pregnancy. Here are some tips that might help:

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Stay active, unless you experience aches, pains, or swelling.
  • Take care of your dental health, as poor dental health has been linked to preterm labour
  • Do Kegel exercises
  • Rest and sleep enough,37%20to%2042%20of%20pregnancy.