Welcome to your third trimester! The countdown is on until you get to meet your beautiful little babe (or babes) and can wave goodbye to any pregnancy side effects that might still be hanging around and causing you grief.
The third trimester is classed as weeks 28-40+, though most women don't give birth on their actual due date, so it's a bit of a guessing game as to whether you will birth before or after that week 40 mark! Be sure to put your feet up when you can, as swollen ankles and feet can be a common side effect at this stage in pregnancy - getting plenty of rest (while still exercising regularly) can help alleviate some of that. Let's look at what you can expect from trimester number three.
Week 28: Your belly is getting bigger every week, and your little one likely weighs in at over 1kg now! Keep a close eye on their movements and activity, and let your Lead Medical Carer (LMC) know right away if you notice a reduction in their movements.
Week 29: Finding yourself out of breath by just walking from one end of the house to the other? Your growing belly is pushing on your internal organs, particularly your diaphragm and your lungs, so it's no wonder you might be a bit breathless! While this is normal, if you are worried about these breathing issues at all, let your LMC know right away.
Week 30: Relaxin is a hormone that loosens your joints and ligaments in preparation for birth – particularly those around your pelvic area. You might begin to feel a little clumsier or wobblier than before, so take care, mama!
Week 31: You should be seeing your LMC more frequently now and up till the birth of your little one. Your uterus is likely pretty high up, so now more than ever, you might feel a sense of breathlessness and exhaustion - this should start to ease once baby "drops", which is usually only a few weeks away, so hang in there!
Week 32: Did you know your baby is experiencing REM sleep and starting to dream at this age? With only eight weeks to go until you're "full term", your little one has less and less room to move and is continuing to put on weight. This can put extra pressure on your back or pelvis, so if you find it really uncomfortable or painful, let your LMC know, as they will sometimes recommend physiotherapy to help.
Week 33: Elbows in the ribs, a swift kick to the bladder and alien movements visible from the outside...pregnancy is hard! Your little one's home is beginning to get smaller and smaller, and that once fluttery little feeling of life inside you has gradated to full-blown karate kicks and chops!
Week 34: Your baby's weight has just about doubled since the beginning of this trimester, and as a result, you might need to pop to the loo more often, just like during early pregnancy. Many women experience heartburn from the added pressure - have a chat with your LMC for ways to help relieve this.
Week 35: You're nearly there, mama! As much as the lack of sleep from frequently needing to use the bathroom sucks, you've come SO far. Your little one could be born at this stage without needing extensive medical assistance, though they might need some help with their breathing at first. While we don't want this to happen, just know the finish line is right around the corner!
Week 36: With only four weeks now until your due date, your little one should begin to make their way into position to prepare for labour over the next few weeks. You might feel the pressure on your lungs ease off a bit as baby shuffles further down into your pelvis. At this stage, you will meet with your midwife every week.
Week 37: You might want to think about packing your hospital bags if you haven't already! Having them ready to go beforehand is much easier than trying to do it once you're in labour! In the excitement of it all, you might forget important items, so packing when you're in a calm and focused mood will help to ensure you prepare everything you need and make things smoother when the time comes! Write a list of what's in your bag/s, so that you can cross things off at the other end, when you're preparing to come home (if your birth was away from home).
Week 38: Braxton Hicks contractions are your body's way of practising for labour, and you may feel these occurring more frequently by now. Don't panic, though; they're usually nothing to worry about and don't mean you're going into labour (as much as you might hope they do)!
Week 39: If this is your first pregnancy, try to enjoy the last little moments of "me" time you have left. As much we are sure you want your little one to be here right now, give yourself some golden moments of peace and quiet while you still can! If you've got little ones at home already, finding that peace and quiet might prove to be a little more challenging! You might want to encourage your children to sit with you and talk to your belly or read a book to the new baby. Let your children know that their new sibling can hear them and can't wait to meet them!
Week 40: Welcome to your due date, mama! You may still have to wait a little while for your baby to be ready to make their entrance into the world, which is very common, so don't stress if your due date passes you by. You've made such a comfy home for them that, of course, they aren't going to want to leave! We know it's hard, but try your best to get in a few extra naps while you can. Your baby will be here before you know it!
Week 41+: Overdue? Don't worry, only about 4% of babies actually come on their due date! If they've made no sign of an upcoming appearance by day 7-10 of being overdue, then your LMC will discuss induction options with you - it's nothing to be scared of though; yours and your baby's health and wellbeing are of the utmost priority!