Congratulations! You’ve made it through the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, and now it’s the home stretch! Although you’re in the final three months of pregnancy, there’s still quite a lot going on. Read on to find out what pregnancy third trimester symptoms are common and what to-dos should be top of mind as you get closer to meeting your precious little one.
When Does the Third Trimester Start?
The third trimester lasts from months 7 through 9 of pregnancy, beginning in week 28 and lasting until you give birth, which for many women is sometime between week 37 and week 42.
Third Trimester Symptoms
During pregnancy in the third trimester, your belly will continue to grow and you’ll feel an increased amount of activity from your little one. You may also experience some of the following symptoms during these remaining weeks of pregnancy:
- Fatigue – While you may have experienced a surge of energy in your second trimester, tiredness during pregnancy in the third trimester is very common. Nourish your body with healthy, nutrient-dense foods and do what you can to maintain good sleep habits (such as not drinking too much fluid before bed to reduce your chances of getting up to go to the bathroom).
- Heartburn – Some women experience heartburn during this trimester, thanks to your uterus pushing your stomach (and its contents) upward.
- Back pain – Another common symptom is back pain in pregnancy’s third trimester, partially due to your growing belly, which can cause you to lean forward, putting extra strain on your back. Relieve with our delicious Milkmakers® Prenatal Tea!
- Abdominal cramps or pains – As your baby continues to grow, the ligaments that support your lower abdomen stretch further and may cause some cramps and/or sharp pain. If you experience abdominal discomfort, be sure to rest and speak with your doctor to ensure it’s not a cause for concern.
- Braxton Hicks contractions – As part of your body’s way of preparing for labor, you’ll begin to experience Braxton Hicks contractions (irregular, false labor contractions). Once these contractions begin, you’ll most likely experience them on and off until you go into real labor.
- Loss of bladder control – The extra weight putting pressure on your pelvic floor can make it difficult to control your bladder. Meaning, you may begin peeing a bit whenever you sneeze or cough – or even laugh. While this is highly common and completely normal, it doesn’t make it any less annoying!
- Leaky breasts – Yep, your body is gearing up to feed your baby! Always carry an extra top or two in the event that you need to change. Not all women experience this, but if your leaky breasts become a nuisance, you could also consider putting disposable nursing pads in your bra.
No matter which symptoms you may be experiencing during this last trimester of pregnancy, hang in there – you’re close to the finish line!
Third Trimester To-Dos
This is your final three months before your precious little one arrives, so you’ll want to do as much as you can to keep yourself healthy and prepare for the birth of your baby. Some tasks you may want to focus on during the third trimester include:
- Keep track of fetal movement – From about week 28 on, you’ll want to regularly count your baby’s kicks and note any changes in activity, especially during month 9. Speak with your medical practitioner about the best method for tracking fetal movement.
- Keep moving – As long as you receive the green light from your practitioner, it’s beneficial to maintain a light and pregnancy-safe routine for exercise in the third trimester.
- Take a hospital tour – Months 7 and 8 are perfect for touring the hospital or birthing center where you plan to give birth. Getting familiar with the layout and where you need to go, and maybe even meeting some of the staff ahead of time will give you confidence and peace of mind.
- Pick a pediatrician – Interview a few pediatricians during month 8 of pregnancy so you’ll have one you’re comfortable with lined up and ready to see your baby once he or she is born.
- Purchase baby essentials – Make sure you have all the essential baby gear you’ll need when baby arrives, like a car seat, crib, baby monitor, stroller and changing table. Check out 9 things you need for a newborn to ensure you have the most important newborn items before your due date.
- Take a childbirth class – If you researched childbirth classes during the second trimester, then you’ve probably already scheduled one (or more) for this trimester. If not, do your research and schedule one now to help you feel more prepared for the entire birth process and get a better understanding of the stages of labor.
- Create or finalize your birth plan – Did you already create your birth plan? Now’s the time to review it and make any updates, if needed. If you didn’t create one, there’s still time! Just keep in mind that, while this plan includes your ideals, it also needs to be flexible, as it’s likely that not everything will go exactly as planned.
- Get the nursery ready – Get all the nursery essentials and enjoy preparing this special room for your baby’s arrival at home.
- Have fun at your photo shoot – Did you find a photographer you love and schedule a “baby bump photo shoot” during your second trimester? If so, get ready for this sweetly sentimental event – if not, do a DIY photo shoot at home, a local park or other favorite spot.
- Stock up on freezer meals – While you have the time and energy, it’s a smart idea to prepare some freezer meals that you can rely on during your first few weeks at home with your infant. You’ll be so thankful for these meals when you don’t have to stress about cooking and can focus fully on recovering and taking care of your baby instead.
- Pack your hospital bag – Get your hospital bag set and ready to go in the beginning of month 9 so you don’t need to scramble in the event your little one decides to surprise you a bit early! Pack light but include essential items for you and your baby, as well as a few “feel good” items from home, like your favorite snacks and magazines.
With this guide, you can stay calm and focused, knowing you have a handle on all the important items that need your attention. And get excited, because you’ll be meeting your precious newborn in no time! Be sure to also check out our First Trimester Guide and Second Trimester Guide to help you navigate all three trimesters of pregnancy.
Disclaimer: None of the information presented in this article is in any way intended to be medical advice. It’s essential to speak with your medical practitioner throughout your pregnancy to determine your unique nutrition, exercise and medical needs.