Pregnancy 3rd trimester
When you enter the third trimester of your pregnancy, you may feel overwhelmed in a number of ways. You are probably quite happy and excited about the impending birth of your child, and getting to meet and hold your baby for the first time.
It is also quite common for women to feel a bit nervous or apprehensive about the actual process of giving birth. These feelings are normal; your body is going through a lot of changes, so it is completely acceptable to experience a range of emotions.
At the beginning of the third trimester, your baby will have normal sleep and wake cycles, will be able to open and close the eyes, and can even suck his or her thumb. At this stage your baby will weigh between two and three pounds, and will measure about 15 inches long. The head is continuing to grow to accommodate the brain, and hearing has developed to the point the baby can hear a variety of sounds and even recognise voices.
Between weeks 31 and 34, many major changes in your baby start to take place. At week 31 of pregnancy, the baby’s lungs and digestive system are almost ready for use outside of the womb, and the baby will gain more weight than length from this point forward. Even though you may think your baby is moving less, he or she is still trying to move quite frequently, however space is now at a premium. Your baby can now turn the head side to side, the organs are maturing, and by week 34, the baby weighs about five pounds and is roughly 19 inches long. By week 34, the baby is usually in the head down position preparing for exiting the womb. Your baby’s head is soft and flexible to help with travel down the birth canal, and the skin is now thicker and less red and wrinkled in appearance.
During weeks 35 through 37, your baby continues to grow and put on weight by developing his or her fat layer. By the end of week 37 your baby will weigh about six pounds and measure about 20 inches long. You may notice that you feel pressure pressing on your lower pelvic region, which is due to the baby starting to drop into position for birth.
At week 38, your pregnancy becomes classified as full term. Your baby can now safely survive in the world outside of your womb. While the average weight of a newborn is about seven and a half pounds, and measures anywhere from 18 to 22 inches long, this can vary a great deal from baby to baby, which is completely normal. When you give birth, the placenta will detach from the uterine wall, and the umbilical cord will no longer function once the baby takes his or her first breath outside of the womb. This will then cause the heart to pump blood through the lungs, and all systems will be up and running normally.
As your due date approaches, you will understandably be feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement. Early labour signs, such as back ache and ‘period pain’ type feelings, can sometimes be easy to miss as you may already be feeling uncomfortable. Some other classic signs of labour include discharge, a ‘show’, emptying your bowels and contractions. Read more here about the three stages of labour.
You have nearly come to the end of your pregnancy journey. We wish you the best of luck and hope you have a safe and healthy labour. See you on the other side with your beautiful little bundle!