The mother enters the third trimester of pregnancy feeling healthy, since the second trimester was not harsh on her mind and body. But, as the childbirth nears, the mom to be will feel tired and experience pain due to the growth of her belly and the weight gain.

While the fetus gets ready for survival outside of the protective uterus, the mother gets eager to hold her baby in arms, but at the same time she may feel nervous about childbirth. There could be few moments of anxiety when the mother will not feel the baby’s movement as she did in second trimester; however it is normal as the movements of the baby is hindered by his/her rapid growth, as a result of which there is less space in the uterus.

Newborns normally range from 2.5 kg to 4.5 kg (5.5 lb to 10 lb) in weight and 46 cm to 56 cm (18 in to 22 in) in length from crown to toe.

Changes in the baby

The internal organs of the baby mature, in preparation of independent life outside the uterus. The immune system of the fetus gets a boost as the maternal antibodies pass into its tiny body through the placenta. Towards the last few weeks of third trimester, the baby assumes a head-down position in preparation for its journey into independence. The final changes that can be seen in the baby are:

  • Maturity of internal organs
  • Regulation in body temperature
  • Production of surfactant in the lungs
  • Awareness of sounds outside the mother’s body
  • Reaction of pupils to light
  • Accumulation of fat under the skin
  • Decrease in Lanugo on the skin
  • Appearance of a coating of vernix on skin to protect it from amniotic fluid
  • Formation of nails on fingers and toes and enamel on teeth
  • Tremendous gain in height and weight

Changes in the mom to be

The rapid growth of fetus and changes in her own body seem to overwhelm the mother as she nears childbirth, causing emotional confusion of doubts, fear mixed with feeling of exhilaration. The noticeable changes in mother are:

  • Mood swings mainly caused by inappropriate body proportions
  • Sleeplessness
  • Heartburn
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hemorrhoids caused mainly due to pressure of uterus
  • Backache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Swelling of hands and feet
  • Frequent urination due to pressure on bladder as the baby drops into pelvic region
  • Softening of cervix in preparation for labor
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Appearance of stretch marks on thighs, buttocks and abdomen
  • Fullness in breasts
  • Increase in Braxton Hicks contraction – irregular and painless contractions of uterus

Tips for the 3rd Trimester

It is very important for the last month of the pregnancy to be monitored appropriately to check the blood pressure, weight of mother as well as activities of the fetus. The mother will need all the love, support and care she can get from the family at this stage. Here are some important guidelines to be followed during third trimester of pregnancy:

  • Do not hesitate to consult physician in case of any inappropriate changes
  • Get ready for the new arrival. It’s time for maternity shopping for both mom and baby
  • Eat healthy diet and increase intake of milk and other dairy products
  • Working mothers should plan maternity leave
  • Avoid spicy, greasy foods, which tend to aggravate heartburn
  • Rest and get enough sleep