The Gabrielson Clinic for Women

Third Trimester - Week by Week

Your Third Trimester (Weeks 27 – 42)

picture of sleeping newborn held by mom You’re on the final stretch of your pregnancy and you’re probably starting to count the weeks and day, waiting to meet your bundle of joy. Your third trimester is weeks 27 through 42 of pregnancy. Below is a weekly overview of your third trimester and baby’s development.

Week 28

At your uterus grows, you’ll continue to feel cramping. From your bladder to your lungs, baby is taking up as much room as he or she can get. Remember, it’s only for a relatively short period of time.

Having trouble falling or staying asleep? If so, find a relaxing activity to do such as reading, listening to music, or folding baby clothes. Restless nights can be caused by hormones, anxiety, or both.

Your third trimester is when you should begin counting your baby’s kicks (LINK TO PREGNANCY FAQ). Baby should have at least 10 movements in a two-hour period. He or she will most likely be on a bit of a similar schedule, but start tracking their movement and call your provider if there are inconsistencies after an established pattern or if you don’t have any movement in a two-hour period.

Baby is about the size of an eggplant.

Week 29

Do you feel consistent little flutters? Your baby can now hiccup and it’s pretty common as they are continuing to practice breathing.

Baby is now about 2.5 pounds and just over 15 inches long. He or she is working on filling out and the added pressure could continue to cause hemorrhoids, constipation and aches and pains. Rest often and make sure to drink lots of water and get in lots of good fiber.

Is the nursery ready and stocked? Make sure you have at least the essentials for bringing home baby and start packing you bag for you and baby so you don’t feel rushed if baby arrives earlier than expected.

Baby is about the size of an acorn squash.

Week 30

Feel the burn. Watch for specific foods that may give you heartburn, a common pregnancy symptom. Try to avoid eating too close to bed to help avoid heartburn. If you can fall asleep (or stay asleep) you may wake up from weird or odd dreams. Your brain is processing a lot and many pregnant women have weird dreams. Try not to read into them and jot them down so you don’t forget if you have pregnancy brain. You may laugh later.

General comfort may be dwindling as your belly grows. Try different sitting positions, standing, laying down and so forth to try to get as comfortable as possible. Pillows are great at night for extra support.

Baby is about as big as a zucchini.

Week 31

Baby is past the three-pound mark and continuing to fill out. All five senses are fully developed now and their brain activity is increasing daily.

At your prenatal check-ups, you can expect your provider to start checking their position to see if his or her head is up or down. They will move a lot before delivery, but checking the position can assure you’re ready.

If you haven’t yet, make sure to get to a childbirth class to learn about labor and delivery and what to expect. A test run to the hospital may be a good idea to see how long it takes so you can time when to head in if you start labor at home.

Firm up your birth plan and start packing your hospital bag.

Baby is about the size of asparagus.

Week 32

It’s time to make sure you have all your ducks in a row. Make sure you have a car seat and know how to correctly install it. Add your baby to your insurance plan and confirm any details with your place of employment for maternity and paternity leave.

You may still be experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions and as you get closer to delivery, you may even begin to leak from your breasts as they prepare to nourish your baby. This is normal as is increased vaginal discharge. All of these are signs your body is preparing for delivery.

Make sure to ask your provider any questions you may have at your prenatal appointment and talk to them about your birth plan so they are aware ahead of time.

Baby is about the size of a squash.

Week 33

You may get some relief from pressure on your ribcage or lungs if you notice your baby “drops”. Sometime between 32 and 34 weeks for most women, the baby will drop and get into head down position readying for delivery. This isn’t always the case so don’t worry if they are still sitting high.

Your metabolism is running amuck so you may find yourself feeling really hot (even in the winter). Stay cool and keep hydrated.

You may find you are also a little more clumsy than usual. Between pregnancy brain and a growing belly you’re not quite used to, it’s completely normal.

Baby is about the size of a pineapple.

Week 34

You’re getting closer to the big day, but having actual contractions at this point could mean premature labor. If you’re having regular contractions that last longer than one hour, have bleeding, and lower back pain, contact your provider. Braxton Hicks contractions are still normal at this point and usually go away within an hour and when you change positions. These are most common after exercise or intercourse.

If you baby has dropped, you’re probably feeling even more pressure on your bladder. Only a few more weeks to deal with that!

Some women can have blurry vision. This could be from lack of sleep, buildup of fluids, and hormones. If you also have headaches or rapid weight gain/swelling, it could be a sign of preeclampsia and you should contact your provider immediately.

Continue counting the kicks through the rest of your third trimester.

Baby is about the size of a cantaloupe.

Week 35

Baby is now over 5 pounds and will continue to grow a lot before they make his or her big debut! You may begin to feel like you don’t have enough time to get everything taken care of, so focus only on the necessary items and use the rest of your pregnancy time to relax and enjoy these moments with your significant other.

All your vital baby weight is putting a lot of pressure on your hips and pelvis so you may notice increased aches and pains in those areas. Try to rest as much as you can.

Review the signs of labor so you know what to look for. While this is still early, it’s good to know catch up on the details of your water breaking, contractions, timing, and when to head to the hospital.

At this point or next week you’ll have a Group B strep test for bacteria. While this bacteria is not harmful to you, it could be to baby, so your provider will check.

Baby is about the size of a honeydew melon.

Week 36

Welcome to month nine of pregnancy! You’re getting down the wire, so now’s a great time to update everyone from friends and family to co-workers about your maternity plans and get everything lined up. It’s also a great opportunity to try to get in a few more date nights before your too tired to go out or on baby’s schedule.

Symptoms as this point are still the same depending on what your activity level is. Aches and pains and swelling to Braxton Hicks contractions may be a part of your daily life until due date. If baby has dropped, you may find it easier to breathe without that pressure on your lungs.

At your prenatal appointment, your provider will check baby’s position and your fundal height. Breech is when baby is not in head down position. If this is the case, don’t worry. Baby still has time to move and your provider may even try to get baby to turn at your appointment.

Make sure your bags are all packed and see if you can do pre-registration at the hospital, which could save some time if you go into labor.

Baby is about the size of a papaya.

Week 37

Have you been nesting? This is a common occurrence for pregnant women. Many times women will find themselves cleaning and cleaning and getting everything ready for baby. It’s one of our brains ways of helping us prepare. No shame in a clean house for baby, but make sure you’re also spending time relaxing.

You’re probably now feeling an increased amount of pressure in your pelvis. All practice for the big day. It may cause you to (continue) to urinate more often and cause some aches and pains, but all part of the process.

Stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to early labor. Be on the lookout for signs of labor. The mucus plug, lower back pain, contractions, your water breaking. Some women have many signs and some have just a few.

Baby is about the size of a romaine lettuce.

Week 38

Whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, sterilize the bottles and nipples and get all your items prepared. If breastfeeding, invest in some good nursing bras.

At this point you may feel like you’re going crazy and can’t wait for the baby to come. Each child is different. Try to take your mind off of this and relieve any anxiety by working on a baby book, sending out thank you cards from a baby shower, or continue nesting.

At your weekly prenatal appointments, your provider will now check for dilation or effacement. Effacement is the thinning of the cervix and dilation is the opening of the cervix. While you may be dilated at a 1 or 2, that doesn’t mean you’ll go into labor that day. You may, or it may be next week or so on.

Baby is about the size of a leek.

Week 39

Ready for baby to make his or her debut? Now that baby is considered full-term, you can try inducing labor at home. While there are a lot of “ideas” out there on how to induce labor at home, from spicy food to intercourse, one of the best and safest ways is by taking daily walks. It’s not necessarily proven, but it’s good exercise and gravity can help do it’s part with all that pressure in the pelvis.

At this point, you’re in the waiting game until baby decides to appear. Continue with your weekly prenatal checks and finalize your work and home needs for when the moment arrives. If you have other children or pets, make sure you have someone ready to take care of them if need be.

Baby is about the size of a pumpkin.

Week 40

Welcome to the official due date of your little bundle! While this is their due date, they may not quite be ready to vacate their first apartment. This is normal. Continue your follow-up appointments with your provider, continue inducing at home if you want, and rest. At your appointment, you may discuss medically inducing labor and when that should occur.

Most likely you will go into labor within a week of your due date, so don’t fret if you’re ready for baby to come out.

Baby is the size of a watermelon.

Week 41

Depending on your mental state and the health of the baby, you can either continue to wait it out if baby is still cozy or schedule an induction with your provider. Your provider will assist you based on the baby’s levels and needs. In some cases, it may be best to medically induce and in other’s it may not be necessary.

At this point, you can go into labor at any time, so just be prepared and try to rest as often as you can in-between trying to naturally induce.

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