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Everything You Need to Know About Third Trimester

Hooray - You’ve made it to the third trimester! The end of your pregnancy is closing in and you’re so close to finally being able to hold your little one in your arms. The countdown to your due date has probably begun. But don’t get too ahead of yourself just yet – with the third trimester comes a new set of challenges, both physical and mental. Let’s talk about some things you should expect during your third trimester and how to feel your best as you cross that finish line.

What is the third trimester?

The third trimester is the final chapter of your pregnancy. It starts around week 28 and lasts until you give birth. Since pregnancy is measured to be about 40 weeks long, the third trimester lasts about 13 weeks. It’s not often that a baby is born on its actual due date, so this last trimester may end early or a little late depending on when your baby is born.

What changes are happening with my baby in the third trimester?

During these final weeks, your baby is packing on the pounds and things start to get a little more cramped in there. The word ‘uncomfortable’ becomes your daily mantra. Your baby will put on anywhere from 5 to 8 pounds and grow about 5 inches during this last trimester. Besides its weight, your baby is also putting the finishing touches on many other bodily functions. They will transform cartilage into bone, grow hair and nails, and start utilizing all five senses. Your baby’s skin will also become opaque and the digestive tract starts to form your baby’s first poop, called meconium. Baby’s brain will also begin to practice blinking, dreaming, and even breathing.

Changes in your body during the third trimester

With all the growth and changes happening with your baby, it’s no surprise that you’ll begin to see and feel a lot of changes within your body too. Some of the more notable changes you may see are:

  • Weight gain – As your baby gains weight, so will you. Most women will gain about 8 to 10 pounds throughout the last trimester.
  • Sleep changes – general aches and pains, crazy dreams, and weight gain make it hard to sleep. Almost 75% of pregnant women will experience some level of insomnia.
  • Changes in your breasts – your breasts are gearing up for the monumental task of feeding your baby, so you may notice that they’ve grown in size and are tender to touch at times. They may even start leaking colostrum before the baby is born.
  • Frequent urination – As the baby continues to grow, they put a lot of pressure on your bladder. You may find you have the urge to pee frequently. The pressure can also cause you to leak urine sometimes when you sneeze, laugh, or cough.

Some other third trimester symptoms include:

  • Braxton-Hicks contractions – these “false” contractions are preparing your body for labor. They are irregular contractions or a tightening of the muscles around your stomach. Some women don’t notice them at all, while others find them to be very uncomfortable. So how can you tell Braxton-Hicks contractions from real contractions? Real contractions will be regular in pattern and don’t ease up or go away with rest.
  • Pain – All the added weight and pressure of the baby can cause pain in your hips, pelvis, and lower back.
  • Vaginal discharge – Increased estrogen levels can cause a white vaginal discharge.
  • Swelling – Fluid retention and added weight may cause some swelling, particularly in your feet and legs.
  • Shortness of breath – The baby is taking up a lot of real estate by the third trimester which makes it harder for your lungs to fully expand.
  • Hemorrhoids – Constipation plus the weight and pressure of the baby on your pelvic floor can all lead to hemorrhoids.
  • Lightning crotch – A funny name for a not so funny sensation, lightning crotch feels like a quick, sharp pain in your pelvis, vagina, or rectum when you or the baby moves. It’s caused by the baby hitting certain nerves. Not everyone will experience lightning crotch.
  • Anxiety – not all symptoms of pregnancy in the third trimester will be physical. As your pregnancy nears the end, you find yourself in a whirlwind of different emotions. The excitement and anticipation of meeting your new baby is often mixed with the fear and anxiety about giving birth and all the changes that will happen when your family grows. Anxiety of some form is common and completely understandable.

Diet and exercise in the third trimester

While many of these third trimester symptoms may be unavoidable, you can ease or limit how often you feel some of them by eating a healthy diet and keeping your body as active as possible.

Your diet should be filled with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein, and healthy fats and oils. These are the building blocks your baby needs to grow. The vitamins and nutrients in these foods help your baby to build bones, create red blood cells, develop healthy brain cells, and support every other organ in their body.

The food you eat is also incredibly important to your overall well being. Eating a healthy diet can help alleviate some of the uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms you may be feeling. Your diet can prevent excess weight gain which can help lower any pain or discomfort in your back and pelvic area, reduce pressure in your pelvic floor, and lower your risk of hemorrhoids and bladder leaking. A diet high in fiber can help with constipation as well.

Healthy, nutrient-dense foods can also help boost your energy. The baby will take what it needs from you, which can leave you feeling depleted. The best way to replenish your reserves is by eating a vitamin and nutrient-rich diet and by taking your prenatal vitamins. Try Pink Stork’s Total Prenatal + DHA capsules. They provide all the vitamins and nutrients you and your baby need.

Another way to help ease some third trimester symptoms is by keeping your body moving as much as you can. No one is saying you should be putting in hour-long sessions at the gym and running marathons, but a simple walk or low impact exercise routine can do wonders for your body and mind. As your baby and belly continue to grow, simple tasks - such as getting up out of bed - start to take much more effort. Light exercise keeps your joints and muscles loose, wards off excess weight gain, and can even help the baby move into the correct position for birth. Another way to help soothe your sore muscles is by taking a relaxing soak in our Pregnancy Bath Flakes. They’re made with 100% Dead Sea salts and magnesium to help sore muscles, improve your sleep, and lower stress.

And speaking of birth…when the time comes for you to deliver your baby, labor and the act of pushing take a lot of energy and stamina. By keeping your body active for as long as possible, you’re actually preparing yourself for the amazing physical feat of giving birth to your baby. And the best part of crossing that finish line is getting to hold your new little bundle of joy! Preparing your body for labor is an important part of your third trimester and our Labor Prep Tea is here to help. Labor Prep Tea helps to strengthen your uterine wall for better contractions, a shorter labor, and cramping relief after delivery.