• For those of you just tuning in, pregnancy is divided into three trimesters, each lasting 3 months, or approximately 13 weeks. The third trimester consists of weeks 28-40. There is no doubt that you are pregnant now! And you are in the home stretch.

    Your Body

    1. 1. Heartburn- More hormones, more uterine expansion and pressure lead to even more heartburn. Keep those Tums handy.
    2. 2. Your now much larger breasts might begin to leak a yellow milky liquid – a precursor to milk called colostrum.
    3. 3. Your bladder cannot expand normally (it’s squished) so you will have to go to the bathroom constantly. You may want to hold off on taking any long car trips unless your companion has infinite patience for bathroom breaks.
    4. 4. Constipation – It has the potential to just get worse and you may develop hemorrhoids, so be attentive to your diet and keep up the fluids and fiber.
    5. 5. Braxton Hicks Contractions will continue – They are mild and irregular and are your body’s preparations for labor. If they become regular and painful contact your Obstetrician.
    6. 6. Fatigue – You are carrying quite a load. You may feel less tired now than in your first trimester, but not as energetic as you did during your second trimester.
    7. 7. Hip Discomfort – The hormones of pregnancy cause a looseness of your ligaments which will help your pelvis accommodate the passage of your baby during delivery. During your third trimester you may feel the discomfort of these changes.
    8. 8. Shortness of breath – You may feel short of breath after very little activity because of the lack of space for your lungs. If you have severe or sudden shortness of breath you should contact your doctor immediately.
    9. 9. Difficulty Sleeping – You should not lie flat on your back because this can put pressure on the uterine artery and be dangerous for the baby, so side sleeping is now your only option. A body pillow that fits between your arms and legs makes this position much more comfortable, but turning over is an ordeal. There is just no way around this one.
    10. 10. Varicose Veins – You have an increase in your circulation and the uterus puts pressure on the veins trying to bring the blood out of the legs back to your heart, so if you notice large veins in your legs try to keep them elevated and your doctor may recommend support stockings. Not attractive, but at this point, does it matter?!
    11. 11. Your belly button will pop out…like those temperature thermometers you use when cooking meat…to signal that – you’re almost done!

    Your Baby
    Your baby’s body is fully developed and the fat is now accumulating. The fine hair that covered the skin before has mostly fallen off. Your baby can open and close his/her eyes. You might notice a foot or elbow making its way across your belly. And your baby will begin to turn into position with his/her head facing downward for birth. If your baby does not turn around this is called a breech position and your doctor might try a few maneuvers to re-position the baby. By the end of this trimester your baby will weigh somewhere between 6-9 pounds and will be approximately 19 inches long.

    What You Need to Do

    1. 1. Rest! You can never get enough at this stage.
    2. 2. Keep doing those Kegel exercises.
    3. 3. Take a childbirth class if you didn’t do so during your second trimester.
    4. 4. Avoid lifting and moving heavy objects.
    5. 5. Start thinking about baby names…if you haven’t already.
    6. 6. Make a birth plan – your wish list for how things are done on the day of your delivery, in the delivery room and after. Review this plan with your Obstetrician.
    7. 7. Pack your hospital bag.
    8. 8. Read books, watch movies…this might be your last chance to enjoy them uninterrupted (except for bathroom breaks, of course) for a while.

    -Monique Araya, MD, FAAP

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