The third trimester of pregnancy is a crucial and exciting time as women approach the final weeks before giving birth. It typically begins around week 28 and lasts until the delivery, which usually occurs around week 40.
This stage is characterised by significant changes in both the mother's body and the development of the baby. There are many key aspects that come into play during this stage, and it is a period of contrasts; an expanding bump means that women are likely to be seeking out comfort and relaxation, but the imminent arrival of a new baby is also sure to create the urge for nesting and preparation. In the last trimester of pregnancy, the baby grows rapidly, and as a result the mother's abdomen expands. Because of this, increased discomfort, backaches, and shortness of breath are extremely common.
The uterus expands upwards, putting pressure on the diaphragm and other organs. This may lead to heartburn and frequent urination. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for women to notice swelling in their hands, feet, and legs due to water retention. Some of the symptoms of third trimester are undeniably uncomfortable and challenging, and because of this it’s important to lean into the support around you.
Pain relief and adequate rest and relaxation will also be important as you progress through the last trimester of pregnancy. Huge changes to your body take place throughout your third trimester, but this is also a crucial stage of development for your baby. During the third trimester, your baby will be experiencing rapid growth and development.
By this time, all the major organs and systems are fully formed, and the foetus begins to gain weight and store essential nutrients. Your baby's movements will feel significantly more pronounced and can often be felt as kicks, punches, and rolls.
As your baby continues to grow, you’re also likely to notice some weight gain during the third trimester. During the third trimester, most women can expect to gain around 1lb a week, and it’s important that you support the growth of your baby by ensuring your diet is healthy and full of nutrients your body requires. Try to maintain a balanced diet, consisting of fruits, nuts, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, to support your baby's development as well as your own well-being.
The third trimester is a magical time of growth and development and it’s natural to feel a both anxious and a sense of nurturing comfort as you anticipate the arrival of your new baby.
Preparing a hospital bag for the birth of your baby is an important task that will help to facilitate a smooth and comfortable experience during labour and childbirth. Ensuring that you have all the essential items ready in advance will help alleviate stress and ensure you are fully focused on the exciting event.
Comfort and relaxation ahead of your birth is crucial, so having your bag packed and ready to go is sure to put your mind at ease. First things first, don’t forget the paperwork! It may seem clinical but remembering important documentation you will need at the hospital is essential. Your birth plan and any hospital notes are entirely necessary, so ensure they go in first.
Because of the unpredictability of the birthing process, it's hard to know how long you will be in hospital for, so packing comfortable, wearable clothing is essential. If you plan to breastfeed, bring along a few maternity bras for support and nursing pads to prevent leakage. This could include a loose-fitting nightgown, or a nursing-friendly pyjama set, comfortable robes, and slippers.
Be sure to add to your hospital bag loose, comfortable clothing to wear during your stay at the hospital. You’ll also want to pack something to travel home in and you consider a tracksuit for ultimate comfort.
Though personal hygiene may be the last thing on your mind during the labour process it’s also important to pack essential toiletry items. We advise taking:
For some, the experience of being in hospital is cold and clinical and many women seek comfort during labour. If you find the idea of spending time in hospital daunting, consider bringing items that provide comfort, such as your own pillow or a cosy blanket.
Believe it or not, you’re sure to have some downtime whilst in hospital, so don’t forget to pack some form of entertainment for yourself in the form of:
Now that you’re all sorted, it’s time to consider those newborn essentials. Be sure to pack newborn clothing, onesies, socks, and a hat for your baby. Include blankets, nappies and wipes too. A going-home outfit and a car seat for your baby’s safe transportation should also be prepared in advance.
Postpartum care items are also important and can include items such as maternity pads, perineal spray or cream and comfortable, high-waisted underwear to support your recovery.
Preparing your hospital bag in advance will help to ease your worries, guarantee your comfort, and ensure you are feeling your very best to welcome your new arrival into the world.
Taking care of yourself during the third trimester of pregnancy is crucial for both your physical and emotional well-being. As your due date approaches, your body undergoes significant changes, and it's important to prioritise self-care to ensure a healthy and comfortable pregnancy.
To guarantee your comfort and relaxation during this pivotal stage of pregnancy take the right steps to feel your best. Feeling good normally starts from within, so be sure to maintain a balanced diet by focusing on consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and dairy products. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and limit your intake of caffeine and processed foods.
When the countdown to baby’s arrival is on, it can feel like your to-do list in never-ending, but it’s more important than ever to get enough rest and quality sleep during the third trimester. Your body is working hard to support the growth and development of your baby, so make sure to prioritise restful periods throughout the day and aim for at least 7-9 hours of sleep at night.
It’s important that you listen to your body during the third trimester and only do things that feel right, but if your body craves it, gentle exercise can be beneficial. Regular, low-impact exercises, such as walking, swimming, or prenatal yoga, can help alleviate discomfort, improve circulation, and prepare your body for labour. Consult with your doctor or midwife to determine the exercises that are safe for you.
The third trimester may come with discomforts such as backaches, swollen ankles, and heartburn. Explore techniques to alleviate these discomforts, such as using pregnancy pillows for better support, wearing comfortable shoes, and elevating your feet.
As your body prepares for childbirth, it's essential to manage stress and promote relaxation. Consider incorporating relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, meditation, prenatal massage, or warm baths into your daily routine. Anxieties and stress surrounding birth and the arrival of your new baby are completely normal, but ensure you try your best to many your emotions and keep perspective.
Many women find the third trimester to be a challenging period of pregnancy. The weight gain, discomfort and anticipation can certainly set in, but it’s also important to keep in mind that as you navigate the ups and down of this period of your pregnancy you are one step closer to welcoming your tiny bundle of joy into the world.