|You’re so close! You’re into the third trimester and the final stretch of pregnancy! If things are suddenly feeling very real and you’ve found yourself with a few questions, don’t worry! We’ve asked Dr. Jeffery Illeck, OB/Gyn, to gather the answers.
Let’s look at what you can expect during this third trimester, including physical changes, emotional changes, and important preparations for the arrival of your baby.
As the baby grows bigger and gains weight, the mother’s body will continue to go through physical changes. Some common physical changes in the third trimester include:
Weight Gain – During this phase, the baby grows rapidly and the mother may gain 1-2 pounds per week.
Braxton Hicks Contractions – These are mild contractions that prepare the uterus for labor. They may be uncomfortable but are usually not painful. To determine the difference, keep in mind that real contractions are more regular and intense and won’t go away with rest. If you’re unsure whether you’re experiencing real contractions, contact your healthcare provider.
Shortness of Breath – The growing baby may push up against the diaphragm, causing shortness of breath for the mother.
Backaches – The added weight of the baby can cause strain on the mother’s back, leading to back pain. (We’ve got some great practitioners who can help you with that listed on our Resources Page.)
Swollen Feet and Ankles – Increased fluid in the body can cause swelling in the feet and ankles.
The third trimester can also bring about emotional changes. As the due date approaches, it’s completely normal to experience a mix of excitement, anxiety, nervousness, and even mood swings, irritability, and fatigue. (Because let’s be honest… you’re probably not getting much sleep towards the end!)
As much as you can, it’s important to take care of your mental health during this period. Staying active, getting enough rest, and seeking support from family and friends can help reduce stress and improve your overall well-being in preparation for labor.
As the due date approaches, there are several important preparations you’ll want to start making, and we’ve outlined them ALL for you inside of our FREE Ultimate Newborn Baby Checklist!