You've come to the end of the line. (Literally!) This is the most exciting and tense trimester of pregnancy. You'll undoubtedly be eager to meet your baby, but bear with me — you'll soon have your newborn in your arms. Read on to learn more about fetal development in the third trimester and common third trimester symptoms. We'll also provide you with a comprehensive to-do list beginning three months before your baby's arrival so that you're as ready as possible.
How Many Weeks Is the Third Trimester?
The third trimester is from 28 to 40 weeks of pregnancy, which lasts around 13 weeks officially, although in real life the third trimester ends when your baby is born.
When your pregnancy reaches 39 weeks, it is considered full term. Some moms-to-be go into labor earlier than this, while others give birth later than this. In reality, only a small percentage of newborns arrive precisely on their dates of birth, with the majority being born in the two weeks either side of that date.
A preterm birth is the term used to describe a baby born before 37 weeks gestation. It's vital to be aware of the symptoms of preterm labor in your third trimester, just in case your little one decides to make an early debut.
Your Baby’s Development in the Third Trimester
In the third trimester of pregnancy, your infant continues to develop at a rapid rate, even though she will gain roughly half of her birth weight during the final months.
Your baby may weigh roughly 6 to 9 pounds and be 18 to 20 inches long when they are born.
Your baby's body changes as he or she gets fatter under his or her skin. They will resemble the newborn you expect to see at birth as they grows plump beneath their skin. By 36 weeks, they will have effectively expanded, leaving little room for movement throughout the remainder of pregnancy.
Here are a few more fetal development milestones for the third trimester:
- 28 Weeks: Eyes Wide Open
- 30 Weeks: Shedding Hairs
- 31 Weeks: Controlling Body Temperature
- 34 Weeks: Turning Head-Down
- 39 Weeks: Full-Term Baby
What’s in Store for You This Trimester?
The third trimester is often the most uncomfortable time in pregnancy, as it carries its own share of symptoms and discomforts. Most common third trimester symptoms include: frequent urination, leg cramps, hemorrhoids, constipation, heartburn or indigestion , fatigue , backaches , shortness of breath , difficulty sleeping , anxiety, and mood swings.
During this third trimester, your baby is continuing to develop in preparation for birth. By the third trimester you can feel your baby moving around a lot more in your belly. It may seem like a seizure at times if you’ve never felt it before or been around someone when they’ve felt it. However, the movements are usually very gentle and not painful at all.
Your third trimester is an important one, as this is when your baby's brain develops most rapidly. At this stage of development, your baby can hear outside noises and responds to voices by moving, which means you might start feeling your baby's kicks in response to music you're listening to or a noise nearby.
The third trimester is not for the faint of heart. It takes a ton of energy and endurance, as well as physical strength. If you're lucky, third trimester will pass quickly and before you know it, your baby should make a timely appearance.
Third Trimester Symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent urination
- Extreme third trimester fatigue
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Braxton Hicks contractions (False contractions)
- Swollen feet and ankles
The third trimester is the best time to get all of your affairs in order. That means picking out a name if you haven't already, setting up baby showers with friends and family so they can buy presents for the new arrival, creating a welcoming space for the new baby, making sure that everyone who needs has a copy of the baby's birth certificate, and establishing a relationship with your pediatrician.
By: April Carson