The third trimester lasts from the twenty eighth week until your little bundle of joy makes his or her debut into the world. From weeks 32-36, you will most likely see your doctor every other week, and from week 36 on, you will be at the office once a week. During each visit, your doctor will:
Test your urine for protein;
Check your blood pressure;
Listen to the fetal heart rate;
Measure the height of your fundus; and
Check your hands and legs for any swelling.
Your doctor will also check the baby’s position and check your cervix for dilation at about the 36th week. You may be one or two centimeters dilated for a couple of weeks prior to delivery, but you may also have a closed cervix. How dilated you are does not predict when you go into labor.
Your baby will grow tremendously during this trimester, from about 2.5 pounds to between six and nine pounds, and from about 16 inches long to somewhere between 19 and 22 inches at birth. Due to the baby’s increased size and the fact that your womb is getting tight, movement may slow down a bit toward the end of your pregnancy.
You may experience a wealth of other symptoms, including an achy abdomen, fatigue, significant heartburn, backaches, stretch marks, vivid dreams, clumsiness, forgetfulness, a lack of bladder control and leaky breasts.
You may also feel Braxton Hicks contractions, which are irregular contractions. This is your body getting you ready for the real thing. You’ll know the difference because these will be irregular. Real contractions will come at very regular intervals.
Your baby will start to turn to a head down position around week 34, in preparation for its journey into the world. If this hasn’t happened by week 37, your doctor will discuss your options.
Your water likely will not break in the middle of a grocery store aisle, like you often see in movies. In fact, it is more likely that your water won’t break until you are already in active labor. Your doctor may even break it for you. Your doctor will give you ample information about the signs of labor, when to call, and when to go to the hospital.
The third trimester is the ideal time to learn as much as you can about labor and delivery. You and your partner may want to enroll in a childbirth class. You will learn a multitude of valuable information about what contractions will feel like, when to call the doctor, what to do about different labor scenarios, and breathing techniques to help you through the delivery process. You will also learn about options for pain management to help you through delivery. Childbirth classes are usually taught by trained instructors. You will be able to ask any questions or voice any concerns to a trained childbirth instructor.
Contact Women First Health Center today if you are pregnant in West Orange or the surrounding areas. Our expert OBGYNS are awaiting your call to guide you through this exciting process.