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You and your baby: The third trimester

The nine months of pregnancy are almost over, and the end is in sight! Both mom-to-be and baby are preparing for delivery day. What should you expect in the final three months? Read on for more information.

Third trimester

This final development stage of pregnancy is from 27 weeks until the baby is born. There is still a lot going on for both the expectant mother and her baby. Here is a brief rundown of what you can expect.

For mom

  • Continued breast enlargement. As delivery day approaches, colostrum may start to leak from the nipples.
  • Weight gain. By this stage, the estimated weight gain of one pound per week from the second trimester on is starting to add up, and as some mothers can attest, this can be a low estimate. By the end of the pregnancy, you can expect to be 25–35 pounds heavier than your pre-pregnancy weight.
  • A marked increase in urinary frequency as the baby puts pressure on the bladder.
  • As the pregnancy progresses, the frequency and intensity of Braxton Hicks contractions may increase.
  • Feet, legs, hands and the face may become swollen.
  • Backaches become a common symptom.
  • Heartburn and constipation continue through this trimester.
  • Leg cramps will persist.
  • There may be heavy vaginal discharge toward the end of pregnancy.
  • Other noticeable symptoms of the third trimester include fatigue, shortness of breath, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, itchy skin and a darkening of skin pigmentation.
  • An expectant mother might begin to “nest” as she gets closer to her delivery date.

For baby

  • With medical intervention if necessary, a baby born after 27 weeks is likely to survive.
  • The brain continues to develop.
  • The lungs fully mature.
  • The bones are completely developed, although the skull is soft, which aids in the delivery process.
  • The baby is rapidly gaining weight, and as such, the wrinkly appearance of the body is disappearing.
  • The baby can see, and the eyes remain open part of the time. The pupils can detect changes in the light.
  • The rolls, kicks and stretches will have more power and are easily felt by moms and “tummy rubbers.”
  • The fetus will lose the lanugo (the downy, soft hair that has covered the body) by weeks 38–40.
  • Will be covered in a protective coating known as vernix.
  • It’s likely the baby’s head will turn down in preparation for delivery.
  • The fetus becomes a full-term baby.

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