The last trimester of pregnancy can be at time of anticipation and anxiety. In a few short weeks, your baby will be born. It’s an exciting time, preparing for the baby’s arrival. But it can also be scary or difficult as the tremendous responsibility you’re undertaking becomes more real.
Baby’s Development in the Third Trimester
During this period, the baby is growing at a phenomenal rate. The eyes open and in this trimester, begin to detect light. Bones fully develop, the nervous system continues to develop, fingernails and toenails have grown, and brain and lungs are fully formed by the end of this trimester.
Although the length of pregnancy is conventionally given as 40 weeks, that is really an estimate. A baby is considered at term at 37 weeks, but babies born even early in the third trimester can survive out of the womb. At the same time, not all babies are born by 40 weeks. They may be born a week to 10 days after the 40 week mark—often a result of an inaccurate conception date. Your doctor will monitor the baby’s development to make sure the baby is progressing as he or she should.
Changes For You During the Third Trimester
Just as the baby grows tremendously during this third trimester, you’ll notice significant changes in your own body.
The baby’s increased weight makes itself known—you may feel the strain in your back or pelvic region. Some women find relief sleeping with a pillow between their legs to ease pressure. As the baby takes up more room in the uterus, you may feel more digestive discomfort. Pregnancy hormones affect the muscles in the body, so you may get heartburn as the muscles at the top of the stomach relax, allowing digestive acids to go into the esophagus. With the uterus growing, it pushes the stomach up, closer to the throat, making it harder to digest food. Eating frequent, small meals of nutritious but non-spicy foods can help.
Many women become increasingly tired this last trimester, as the body tries to adjust to the additional weight and internal activity. Other changes include constipation, hemorrhoids, varicose veins and swelling. If you experience any bleeding or spotting, be sure to contact your doctor.
Considerations for the Third Trimester
As you enter the final weeks of pregnancy, it is important to prepare for your baby’s arrival. For some women, this is still a time of uncertainty, particularly for those who are considering placing their baby for adoption. It is not easy to sort through the pros and cons of such a difficult decision, and it is often hard to find someone to talk to. At A Child’s Hope, we understand. Our counselors are available to listen and talk with women throughout their pregnancy about adoption, providing a compassionate ear and valuable information. For more information, please call our 24-hour hotline at 877-890-4673 or text “pregnant” to 919-971-4396.