The Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Though it may be uncomfortable and seem long, there are ways to cope with the final weeks of pregnancy.

The Third Trimester of Pregnancy

The third trimester of pregnancy can be the most exhausting and feel like the longest trimester of pregnancy. The third trimester of pregnancy lasts from weeks twenty-eight to forty (or beyond) of the pregnancy. By this stage of pregnancy most women are feeling tired of being pregnant and possibly bored with the situation. As the pregnancy continues these feelings may grow until they are replaced by the excitement of nesting and preparation that the last few weeks of pregnancy bring.

Sometimes women are on bed rest at this point of the pregnancy which can be very isolating and uncomfortable. Even for the woman who does not have a high-risk pregnancy simply lying in bed at night during the third trimester of pregnancy can be difficult as the baby grows and makes it hard to find comfortable sleeping positions. Extra pillows, body pillows and special pregnancy pillows can help to keep a pregnant body in a comfortable position for sleeping.

Fatigue begins to set in once again during the third trimester of pregnancy and the glorious days of the second trimester are history. Still, in a healthy, non high-risk pregnancy, exercise can help increase energy and alleviate bad moods. The mother-to-be should be careful to listen to her body and not do too much, but even getting out for a walk on a sunny day can help tremendously.

By the third trimester of pregnancy most women will be seeing their obstetrician or midwife every two weeks and then weekly in the last month of pregnancy. If the pregnancy is a high-risk one the visits may be weekly much earlier on. Around week 27-28 a glucose tolerance test will be given to analyze the mother's ability to process sugar and rule out gestational diabetes. Those who do not "pass" the test will be given a special diet to follow to protect them and their baby from the problems associated with gestational diabetes. Another test routinely given around 37-38 weeks of pregnancy is the Group B Strep swab test. The vaginal and anal areas are swabbed to check for this dangerous strain of strep that, if not treated with antibiotics during labor, can cause death to newborns.

Around the beginning of the ninth month of pregnancy the mother-to-be may notice that her baby's movements have slowed a bit. This is because the baby is running out of room to perform the acrobatics that were so easily done months before. Sometimes the mother will be asked to do "kick counts". If there are any concerns about the baby's movement or if the pregnancy goes past 40 weeks, a non-stress test may be ordered to check the baby's movements.

As the pregnancy nears the last few months, Braxton Hicks contractions will get stronger and maybe cause a little pain. Knowing the difference between these practice contractions and preterm labor is important. Real labor contractions will start in the lower back and radiate into the uterus. Braxton Hicks contractions will usually only involve tightening in the uterus. If contractions are accompanied by bleeding or the leakage of fluid it is important to contact the midwife or obstetrician.

Women in the third trimester of pregnancy should take the time to pamper themselves. Warm bubble baths, pedicures for toes they can no longer see or reach and trips to the masseuse or chiropractor will go a long way toward making the third trimester an easier time.

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