From the moment you get pregnant till the day of your childbirth, your pregnancy can be preciously divided into three stages known as trimesters. Your pregnancy is a period that takes a time of around 9 to 10 months or approximately 40 weeks. The third trimester marks the closing days of your pregnancy and also one of the most challenging phases of your pregnancy. The third trimester begins from almost the 26th or 28th week of your pregnancy and ends on the duration of your labor and thus the due date of your pregnancy. If you are pregnant or if you are planning for a child, it is very important for you as a new mother or a mother-to-be to know about the different phases of your pregnancy in vivid detail- what you should do, what you must avoid, what problems and physical changes you might experience in those stages of pregnancy, and most importantly how to take good care of yourself and your growing baby.
What Happens in the Third Trimester?
In The Mother’s Body:
As you are in your third trimester, you are almost in the final phase of your pregnancy. Your belly is growing faster, and it is now showing a large baby bump. But this can increase body aches along with pain and swelling in different body parts, including in the ankles and feet. In fact, in this phase of pregnancy, the new mother must be worried about childbirth and the pains of labor also. Here are some of the changes that might occur in the mother’s body during the third trimester of her pregnancy:
- Heartburn, indigestion, bloating, and stomach upset
- Increase in the frequency of urination- This happens because now that the baby has increased in size and weight, it exerts pressure on your bladders that might cause you to urinate frequently. It is advised to maintain vaginal hygiene during this phase of pregnancy as there might be chances of catching vaginal or urinary tract infections.
- Swelling in ankles and feet due to accumulation of fluid and increase in body weight
- The mother can be sense the baby’s movements
- Chances of insomnia or troubles while sleeping
- A sudden increase in body weight
- Tenderness, soreness, and swelling of breasts: this occurs in most cases, and the mother-to-be might also feel a sensation of leaking of a yellowish to milky fluid known as colostrum, from the nipples due to the function of the lactating hormone during this phase of pregnancy. According to recent studies, the size of your breasts might increase to about 2 pounds and so you should wear maternity wear to relieve back pain.
- Braxton- Hicks contractions occur with a sudden contraction in the uterus. Usually, these contractions are not so painful and are not so extreme as the contractions that one might face during labor. But in some cases, these contractions might be painful, and, in that case, you should seek a professional if the pain from the cramps lasts too long.
- Stretch marks will now begin to appear in the abdomen, on the breasts, buttocks, thighs and waits. Though this occurrence is not common among all mothers this might happen in some cases because of the gradual increase in weight and stretching of the abdominal muscles.
- Bleeding and vaginal discharge: Many women experience bleeding and discharge of a thick, clear, or mildly reddish fluid from the vaginal opening. This discharge might occur due to the widening of the cervical region as your due date comes closer. If the bleeding starts in a period that is closer to your due date, then you will know that your labor is going to begin. But if you have sudden traces of blood from the vagina, consult your health care expert as there might be chances of placenta previa or premature labor.
- Trouble breathing: Breathlessness is common during this phase of pregnancy because you are carrying added weight now and as your belly is gradually bulging day by day, it is reducing the space of expansion for the lungs and this is causing difficulty in breathing.
- Excessive tiredness and feeling of exhaustion- this might occur due to a lot of possible reasons like lack of sleep in the third trimester, pain for carrying extra weight within your body leading to lack of body balance, stress and anxiety about labor and childbirth and many others.
- Sciatica is a terrible pain caused in the nervous system that primarily affects the back to the buttocks and in the legs.
- Sprains and spasms in the veins and muscles.
Symptoms of concern:
Apart from the above physiological changes, a woman can also experience certain complications in her third trimester. Some of them are as follows:
- Severe nausea along with vomiting
- Cramps and excessive pain in the abdomen
- Profuse bleeding from the vagina
- Pain and infections in the urinary tract
- Severe dizziness
If you notice any of these symptoms in your third trimester, you must visit your health care, expert, immediately.
Changes In The Baby:
Your baby is experiencing rapid growth and development in the third trimester of your pregnancy and by the end of this trimester, your baby has almost grown completely. The upper part of the baby which is its head goes toward the cervical opening as it prepares for birth. In the third trimester, the baby undergoes some significant body changes. Some of those changes can be its ability to cry. Smile, laugh, hear and respond to the external sounds, try to open its eyes and sensitivity to bright and dull light, and many others.
What To Do In The Third Trimester: Ways To Stay Healthy And Fit
From the day you test positive for pregnancy, till the date of childbirth it is very important for you to take care of your health and take care of the growing fetus. Here are some of the ways that will help you to stay fit and healthy during your third trimester if you follow these guidelines:
- Visit your gynecologist regularly and discuss what problems you are facing in your check-up appointments.
- Take all the medicines regularly as prescribed by the physician and do not skip meals and medicines.
- Consume the prenatal vitamins that your doctor has prescribed.
- Have food substances that are rich in folic acid or folate or take folic acid supplements if necessary.
- Drink plenty of water every day.
- Do not consume excessive coffee or beverages and food substances that are rich in caffeine content.
- Do not have foods that are uncooked or raw like sushi, raw sprouts, shellfish, mackerel, swordfish, or similar other raw seafoods.
- Avoid travelling longer distances that require a lot of time to travel.
- Avoid excessive smoking, consumption of alcohol, and harmful drugs.
- Avoid having junk foods such as burgers or hot dogs, packaged food substances, and foods with artificial colors and preservatives as these foods might cause harm to the health of the child. Try having foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber such as fresh fruits, leafy green vegetables, and low- proteins. Have a healthy and balanced diet in your pregnancy.
- Do mild exercises, yoga, and workouts but make sure that the exercise does not become strenuous or overloaded
- Consume enough amount of calories in your regular diet
- Try to get enough sleep and rest
- Do light work and do not pull heavyweights
- Make an appointment with your dentist to maintain oral and dental hygiene during this phase of your pregnancy
The To-Do List to Prepare Yourself for Childbirth and Third Trimester:
As you are in your third trimester now and soon you will be bringing home your little bundle of joy, you should take prior preparations. For this purpose, you should make a schedule for preparing yourself for this phase of your pregnancy. Look at the to-do list that we are providing you with here:
- Request for a maternity leave from your authorities at the job
- Take enough rest and sleep well. Try to go to bed early and wake up in time.
- Try to cook some food that can be eaten after you return home from the hospital after the baby’s birth
- Go for parenting training so that you can be a good parent for your child
- Discuss a schedule with your doctor that will contain the due date, details of your delivery and labor, and the time of childbirth
- Pack your bags with the necessary kits that you might require after delivery to the hospital
- Stay in a good mental state and enjoy the arrival of your baby with your near and dear ones.
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