The third trimester of pregnancy is considered to be a late term pregnancy. After the 28th week of pregnancy starts the late pregnancy. Normally the baby is born between 37 and 42 weeks of gestation (40 weeks of gestation are typical).
The fetus development in the third trimester
What to expect in late pregnancy?
- Abdominal pain/cramps
The enlargement of the abdomen causes the stretching of the muscles and ligaments that results in sharp or cramp-like pain.
As your abdomen grows bigger and bigger your body’s center of gravity is displaced and your back muscles and joints are not ready for that, so you will feel intense backache.
- Rib pain
The baby may push on the rib, this may cause the rib pain and other uncomfortable feelings.
- Restless leg syndrome
You have an uncomfortable feeling in your legs while trying to fall asleep and it makes you move your legs. Usually this syndrome is seen sometime in between 7th and 8th months of pregnancy. However, the reason remains unknown.
- Breast enlargement
Your breasts appear tender enlarged and you may notice watery milk leakage.
The uterus compresses the stomach and its contents get into the oesopahgus and irritate the mucosa causing heartburn.
- Frequent urination and lack of bladder control
Increased pressure in the abdominal cavity leads to more frequent urination and the inability to control the urination.
The pressure of the uterus on the guts results in constipation.
- Shortness of breath
Due to increased pressure on your diaphragm and the elevated loading on your circulatory system you may experience shortness of breath while going up the stars or walking a lot.
- Swellings and carpal tunnel syndrome
Swellings are common for late pregnancy, especially the swellings of the ankles. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when your hand is swollen the nerves on the wrist may be compressed leading to the tingling or numbing sensations in your fingers.
However, when your swellings are permanent and diffuse consult with your doctor.
- Varicose veins
You may notice enlarged, bulging veins on your legs due to the pressure of the womb on the vena cava inferior and other major vein that gather the blood from the lower extremities.
In the third trimester as it becomes harder for a woman to fall asleep because of the severe back pain, frequent urination and inability to lie comfortably.
Iron-deficiency anemia is common in pregnant women, especially late in the pregnancy, due to the needs of the growing fetus, insufficient oxygen supply therefore causes fatigue
Hormonal imbalance and lack of sleep affect your memory, so you may be a bit clumsy and it’s normal.
Braxton Hicks contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions are the irregular practice contractions the mother-to-be experiences during the second (after the 20th week of pregnancy) and the third trimesters of pregnancy. This contractions last approximately 15-30 seconds and help your uterus to prepare for the future delivery. The intensity and frequency of these contractions increases towards the childbirth.
Position while sleeping
In the third trimester you should avoid lying on the back as the womb may press on the main blood vessels and major organs while you are in a flat position. So it is recommended to sleep on your side.
Signs of the labor
- Diarrhea and even more frequent urination due to the muscle relaxing
- Energy burst in contrast to the feeling of tiredness throughout the whole pregnancy
- Increased more severe back pain, it may be dull and accompany the contractions
- Frequent and strong contractions that last longer than Braxton Hicks contractions
- Changes of the vaginal discharge – it may become bloody an the mucus plug is expelled
- Water breaking – the rupture of the amniotic membranes
When a child is born before the 37 week it is called a preterm birth; when a child is born after the 42 week it is known as postterm birth.
Vaginal delivery is the common and natural way of delivery.
Spontaneous vaginal delivery occurs without any assistance and commonly lasts for about 12-24 hours if a woman is giving birth for the first time or 6-8 hours when it’s not the first labor.
The delivery has 3 stages. During the first stage the cervix dilates until its opening is 10 cm wide. In the second stage the delivery of the baby takes place. After the baby is born begins the third stage+. In this stage a woman delivers placenta. During the delivery some medicines may be used to alleviate the pain, including meperinide, nalbuphine, phentanyl etc. Epidural, spinal anesthesia or combined spinal-epidural anesthesia may be given as well.