The third trimester can be uncomfortable but soon all will be forgotten when you hold your baby!

Week 28

Your Baby:

Congratulations, you are now in your third trimester. Your baby is over two pounds and about the size of a cucumber. Billions of neurons are forming and connecting in the brain. Sleep patterns include REM (rapid eye movement) so it’s possible the baby can dream. On average, the baby’s weight will approximately triple between this week and birth.

Your Body:

Welcome to the home stretch! Your baby is probably getting into position for childbirth. The downside, baby’s head may now be sitting on your sciatic nerve causing a sharp, shooting pain or a tingling numbness that travels from your bottom down the back of your legs. Also, your muscles and ligaments are loosening – you may notice your shoe size going up a half a size and/or your hips slightly widening.

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Week 29

Your Baby:

Your baby is about the size of a cabbage and weighs approximately three pounds. Baby’s skin is becoming thicker, smoother and less translucent. At this stage, hiccups are common and can be easily felt. Your baby now produces hormones from ovaries and testes which are now well developed.

Your Body:

Varicose veins are swollen veins that are very common during pregnancy. While they are not cause for concern, some women say they are painful. Increased blood volume, in combination your expanding uterus compressing your pelvic region are the main causes of these temporarily engorged veins. Avoid standing or sitting for extended periods of time. Special support hose and daily exercise such as walking will improve circulation and help.

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Week 30

Your Baby:

Your baby is about three pounds and the size of a cauliflower. Baby has started shedding lanugo, the fine hair that’s been keeping him or her warm in exchange for increased body fat. This is swallowed in the amniotic fluid along with vernix. Both contribute to the formation of the meconium (baby’s first bowel movement). Baby’s lips are fully formed and their smile can frequently be seen by ultrasound.

Your Body:

Although you are on the home stretch, there are some unpleasant physical changes you may be experiencing. You may notice that your sense of balance is compromised. This is due to your altered center of gravity caused by your enlarging uterus and baby. Your placenta now weighs almost a pound and a half. You are also circulating 2.8 additional pounds of blood volume. Your uterus now weighs 1.25 pounds – a 20-fold increase from before you were pregnant. The fact that sleeping is more uncomfortable thanks to frequent urination, leg cramps and heartburn doesn’t help matters either! Now is the time to ask for and accept help from family and friends.

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Week 31

Your Baby:

Measuring 18 inches long your baby is about the size of a large head of lettuce. Baby’s brain is allowing all five senses to come into play. He or she continues to swallow amniotic fluid and urinate several times a day in preparation for life on the outside. The baby’s thigh bone (femur) is now about 2.75 inches long.

Your Body:

You may be feeling like it’s difficult to catch your breath. That’s because your uterus is starting to push up on your diaphragm, leaving your lungs with less room to expand. Soon your baby will drop lower into the pelvis in preparation for birth, giving you much more room to take advantage of those breathing techniques you learned in childbirth class.

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Week 32

Your Baby:

At roughly four pounds your baby is about the size of a coconut. Hiccups are very evident at this stage. Baby continues to put on more fat which will help in the regulation of their body temperature. From now until a full term birth, your baby will gain up to half of their total birth weight. The pigment melanin is now being produced, which is giving the hair more color.

Your Body:

Carpal tunnel syndrome is not uncommon during pregnancy. Fluid accumulates, causing swelling that can press and squeeze nerves in the wrist. If you feel numbness, tingling or burning in the middle fingers try reducing any repetitive movement you may be doing. If typing is part of your job, switch to an ergonomic keyboard. Wrist splints to help immobilize the area are also available.

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Week 33

Your Baby:

Your baby is about the size of a pineapple. Antibodies are being passed from you to baby as the immune system continues to develop. The lungs are almost mature. Baby sleeps most of the time and has more distinct wakeful patterns. Your baby’s amniotic fluid volume is nearing peak levels at this time.

Your Body:

You’re only weeks away from meeting your baby! As your body prepares for birth you may feel increasing Braxton Hicks contractions. When actual labor begins, the contractions become stronger and more regular. At this time, most women are gaining an average of a pound a week – with about 50% of this going directly to your baby.

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Week 34

Your Baby:

Averaging five pounds and 20 inches long, baby is about the size of an eggplant. By now, most babies are in their birth position – either head down or bottom first (breech). Fingernails have reached the tips of the fingers. In fact, the baby may even accidentally scratch their skin. With continuing brain maturation, baby’s eyes are now open when awake and closed while sleeping.

Your Body:

If you have noticed that your vision seems worse during pregnancy you are not alone. Vision changes are caused by an increase in fluid behind the lens in your eye that changes the shape. This may make some women more near or farsighted than they were before pregnancy. A decrease in tear production can also make wearing contact lenses uncomfortable. No need to change your prescription, these temporary changes resolve after the birth of your baby. In the latter stages of your pregnancy, your practitioner will pay close attention to your blood pressure, weight gain, and the amount of protein you are excreting in your urine to watch for signs of pre-eclampsia.

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Week 35

Your Baby:

Your baby is about the size of a butternut squash weighing an average of 5.25 pounds. This week marks the most rapid period of weight gain for your little one. Amniotic fluid volume has peaked and will now begin to slowly decrease until the time of delivery. Bones are absorbing more calcium and getting harder, but the bones in baby’s head remains pliable to facilitate an easier exit through the birth canal. Thank goodness, because the circumference of baby’s head is approximately 12.5 inches!

Your Body:

Your uterus is now displacing your diaphragm and intestines causing the sensation of shortness of breath and frequent constipation. Baby and your enlarged uterus have teamed up to make you keenly aware of the location of the nearest bathroom. You will be tested for Group B streptococcus (GBS), a bacterium that is usually harmless to Mom. Up to 30% of pregnant women carry this bacteria and will have no symptoms. However, if your baby contracts GBS during delivery it can make him or her very sick. Your practitioner may take a swab from your vagina and rectum. If you test positive for GBS, antibiotics will be given via IV during labor to prevent your baby from contracting GBS.

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Week 36

Your Baby:

Your baby is about the size of a cantaloupe weighing 5.5 to 6 pounds. Baby will be gaining about an ounce a day until delivery. Your little passenger’s footprint is approximately 2.5 inches long from heel to toe. With the more rapid weight gain, the baby’s body is becoming more round and has lost it’s wrinkled appearance..

Your Body:

You will be seeing your practitioner weekly at this point in your pregnancy. If you notice white or yellowish fluid leaking from your nipples it’s perfectly normal. This fluid is called colostrum and it’s packed with antibodies for your baby. Use nursing pads to stay dry. If you are over the age of 35 or have a high risk pregnancy your practitioner may have you complete weekly or biweekly non-stress tests or biophysical profiles. A non-stress test (NST) assesses baby’s heart rate in response to fetal movement. A biophysical profile uses an ultrasound to measure baby’s amniotic fluid volume, fetal movement, tone and breathing movements, in combination with a NST.

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Week 37

Your Baby:

About the size of a honeydew melon your baby is considered full-term. Your little one has developed the ability to grasp with his or her fingers and will soon be holding yours! Baby is blinking, turning, thumb-sucking and doing practice breathing.

Your Body:

Now is the time to make sure you have the car seat properly installed and your bag packed. Your practitioner may perform a pelvic exam to check your cervix and the position of your baby. If this is your first pregnancy, your baby’s head will often drop down into the pelvis about two to three weeks before birth. This process is called lightening. If you have had other children this may not occur until labor begins. If you haven’t previously discussed details of your birthing plan, including pain management, now is the time to do so.

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Week 38

Your Baby:

Your baby continues to grow and now weighs six to eight pounds and is about the size of a canary melon. Baby continues to shed lanugo and vernix caseosa. His or her lungs are producing more surfactant in preparation to join you in the outside world. Your little treasure’s immune system continues to mature in preparation for coping with life outside of your womb. A steady flow of protective antibodies from Mom via the umbilical cord may soon be obtained through breast milk.

Your Body:

If you are having a boy make sure you and your partner have discussed circumcision. Whether you decide to breastfeed of formula feed is another personal decision that requires some discussion and preparation. Know your options and gather the tools needed to make feeding your baby easier. Sleeping is becoming more challenging by the day, so get as much rest as you can. Even though you are anxious for baby to arrive, take time for yourself……soon baby will come first!

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Week 39

Your Baby:

Your baby is about the size of a pumpkin, weighing six to nine pounds and is 19 to 21 inches long. Fast fact: generally the length of the baby is a more accurate predictor of gestational age than weight. Baby’s head – which is now about 3.7 inches wide with a circumference of 13.6 inches – has most likely dropped into your pelvis by now and is considered full term.

Your Body:

Discuss your newborn’s care with your practitioner following delivery. Typically baby’s nostrils will be cleared, the umbilical cord will be clamped and cut, an Apgar score will be given, baby will be weighed, measured and a Vitamin K shot along with eye ointment will be administered. Other procedures may be performed like lab work and a hearing test after you have had a chance to establish breastfeeding and some bonding time. If your newborn doesn’t resemble the Gerber baby right away don’t worry. A misshapen head and blotchy skin soon resolve and you will be too busy falling in love with your baby to care.

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Week 40

Your Baby:

Your baby is about the size of a watermelon, weighing seven to nine pounds. He or she has enough body fat to help maintain their temperature outside the womb. Bones in your baby’s skull are separated so the head can compress and mold itself to accommodate passage through the birth canal. These “soft spots” called fontanelles, will usually have fused by 18 months after birth. Kudos! You have reached what many consider to be a full term pregnancy. However, only 5% of baby’s arrive on the precise day of their estimated due date.

Your Body:

About half of all pregnancies go past 40 weeks. Walking and having sex are the least invasive ways to get things going. Your practitioner may suggest stripping your membranes (pushing the amniotic membrane away from the cervix) to get things started. Sometimes, medications are used to induce labor if your practitioner believes expediting delivery is in you or your baby’s best interest. Use this time to make a plan for your baby’s first week at home. If you are feeling a burst of energy otherwise known as the “nesting instinct” prepare some meals in advance or ask family and friends to help you.

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Week 41

Your Baby:

It’s not uncommon to go up to two weeks over your estimated due date (it’s only an estimate after all). Your baby is fully developed and he or she will soon join the world. Baby’s hair and nails continue to grow and the amniotic fluid volume continues to slowly decline. Your practitioner will monitor baby closely for signs of continued well being, including kick counts, nonstress tests, and biophysical profiles.

Your Body:

You are probably tired of fielding calls from people asking when your baby is going to arrive. Use this opportunity to ask friends and family for help with cooking, cleaning and running errands so you can rest. Do something nice for yourself like get a pedicure, pretty soon you will be able to see your feet again! Review your birth plan with your practitioner in case anything has changed. Consider signing up for a breastfeeding class after your baby arrives. It’s helpful to get professional advice and meet other new moms. Under most circumstances, if your baby has not arrived by 41 weeks, your practitioner will induce labor. Very few pregnancies are allowed to progress beyond 42 weeks.