What to Expect During Your Third Trimester

As you approach the final stage of pregnancy, your doctor will need to monitor your blood pressure and weight more often. It will also remain very important to monitor the baby’s heartbeat and movements. You will also have weekly checkups during your last month of pregnancy.

Being tested for group B strep

One of the things you will be tested for in your third trimester is a bacterium called group B streptococcus, or GBS. It is harmless in adults, but can cause the baby to become critically ill. If GBS shows up on the swab from your vagina or rectum, you will be administered an intravenous antibiotic during your labor to help protect the baby.

Resumption of vaginal exams

During the pelvic exams in your third trimester, you doctor will check to see of your baby is positioned head first or butt first, also known as breech. Your doctor may want to try to apply pressure to your abdomen to try to turn the baby. If the baby will not turn to the head-first position, you may need to have a Caesarean delivery, or C-section.

As you become closer to delivery, your cervix will begin to soften and dilate.

Physical changes to your body in your third trimester

  • Backaches and sore hips are common as your baby gains weight. Try sitting on chairs with a good back support, or using a heating pad, or find someone who can give you a massage.
  • Swelling of the feet and ankles is normal. You are retaining fluids and your blood vessels become dilated. This will leave your face and eyelids puffy in the morning.
  • Shortness of breath is also normal as your uterus becomes bigger under your diaphragm. Taking a deep breath will seem impossible. You may at times feel the baby’s foot in your ribs.
  • Heartburn may occur
  • Spider veins, varicose veins and hemorrhoids may occur. Try elevating your legs and drinking lots of liquids.
  • You may notice more stretch marks that become itchy.
  • Your breasts are still growing.
  • You may feel an increased pressure on your bladder.
  • A continuation of the Braxton Hicks contractions
  • A total weight gain of about 25-35 pounds

During your last trimester, as your baby grows, so will your level of discomfort. The best thing to do is keep in mind that you are almost there. Try doing positive things that will help pass the time. Pamper yourself as much as possible.

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