It’s already Week 27 and you can’t wait to deliver your bundle of joy and hold her in your arms! Hang on there for just a few more weeks and learn more on what is in store in the last trimester of pregnancy (Week 27 to Week 40) here:
- Symptoms of third trimester – Understanding what’s normal, what’s not
As you gain weight and your body stretches in the third trimester, indigestion and frequent heartburn is a common occurrence. Mild swelling (oedema) in feet, ankles and hands is common in the last few weeks as you retain a lot of fluid, especially in the extremities. Many women also experience breathlessness due to the growing uterus putting pressure on the lungs as also due to carrying excess weight around. However, severe abdominal pain is not a normal sign of pregnancy and should be monitored closely as it can be a sign of preeclampsia– a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure.
- Signs of Labor – Identifying the false from the real
As you approach your D-day, you may be asked by your doctor to keep track of the movements of your baby to ensure baby is active and not in distress. You will be counselled on the difference between practice contractions, also called Braxton Hicks contractions, and the real ones. Show of blood or spotting is another sign to look out for as it may be an initial sign that you are about to go into labour. However, not all women experience all signs of labour but being alert to them is important so these can be taken up with your doctor.
- The Group B Strep Test
The Group B Strep Test is a screening routinely done in the 35th to the 37th week of pregnancy to check for presence of the Group B Streptococcus bacterium in the woman’s reproductive tract. This bacterium is found in about 30% of women and is absolutely harmless. However, if transferred to the baby during child- birth, it can be very dangerous leading to still births or life-threatening complication such as meningitis and sepsis. The good news is that screening for this bacterium is very simple – requiring only a vaginal/ rectal swab and can be safely treated through antibiotics before delivery.
- Leaky Breasts
During the third trimester, your body starts producing prolactin, a hormone that helps in producing milk in preparation for you to breastfeed should the baby arrive early. As weeks pass, the level of prolactin increases resulting in your breasts feeling heavier and leaking colostrum. You may find it helpful to use nursing pads inside your bra now.
- Heartburns, Aches and Pains
The discomfort and the aches and pains of the third trimester are real. But there are somethings you can do to ease off the discomfort. Eat smaller meals several times during the day to avoid heartburn, go for regular walks to avoid swelling and excess weight gain, take naps during the day to compensate the frequent waking up at night necessitated by your urge to pee often.
- Nesting instinct
Usually, the nesting instinct kicks in the last few weeks before the D Day as you start cleaning and making space in your house for the new member of your family. So, enjoy this excuse for de-cluttering your house. Only be mindful of using cleaning agents that can harm you and of over-exerting yourself.
- Anxiety and nervousness before childbirth
The third trimester of pregnancy can be stressful for soon to-be mums as they are worried about delivery options, getting back to work after delivery, handling household chores after giving birth and managing an older child if there is one. You can help yourself by being open to accepting help from family and friends and even hiring help of needed. By being prepared for what is in store can help keep the stress off when the baby is in. Planning ahead is the key.
We hope you are enjoying reading our what to expect when you are expecting series of articles as much as we are enjoying writing them for you!
Check what hospitals you can give birth in, what to pack in your hospital bag, how to manage your confinement period smoothly and where you can go for post-natal massages after childbirth – all in our informative Parents World pregnancy archives.