Nothing can be more enthralling for a woman than stepping into the third trimester of pregnancy. Each week brings you a step closer to realizing the dream you have been weaving for the past few months. The excitement of finally getting to see your bundle of joy surpasses all the pain and discomfort you have endured during pregnancy. The third trimester is a critical period for both the mother and the baby as a lot of changes takes place during this time. So without wasting any time, we will straightaway share some interesting facts related to the Third Trimester.
During the third trimester, between week 28- week 40, (in some cases can extend up to 41-42 weeks), the life of a pregnant woman can undergo a sea of changes.
Development of the fetus:
- Between week 28-32, your bundle of joy is slowly putting on some weight (~ 500/week).
- Much to the joy of the mother, the baby can hear as well as recognize her voice. The baby is also able to smell things or detect light.
- Between week 32-36, the development of the baby's brain and lungs are in full swing. During this period, the baby may slowly position themselves in the birth canal (head upside down, also known as Birth Position).
- However, there may be instances when the birth position gets inverted (termed as the Breech position or breech birth).
- Between week 36-40, the development of the digestive system of the baby, as well as that of their facial muscles, take place.
- During this period, the waxy-like white substance that covers the baby skin (known as vernix caseosa) along with the lanugo hair are also gone.
In fact, by the week 39- 40, the baby with a head full of hair is ready to make their grand entry into the world.
Changes that take place in a pregnant woman
- The third trimester is a period when a woman craves for food the most. Supplement the diet with the vital nutrients necessary for both the mother and the growing fetus.
- With the baby growing in size and mass, digestive problems, gas, and heartburns are common during the third trimester. Spicy, fast, oily and greasy foods, caffeinated and carbonated drinks and beverages, alcohol, are a big NO. Instead, one can opt for yoghurt, milk and protein shakes, water, soup.
- The backaches and breathing problems (especially shortness of breath) can be quite frustrating. In the case of backaches, the use of hot or cold compress can ease the discomfort to a great extent. Exercise and stretching along with a good posture can produce fruitful results.
- With the big day approaching, one can also experience mild contractions around the abdomen (Braxton Hicks contractions). Some women may also suffer from Varicose Veins.
While the conditions seldom trigger any complications, it is yet advised to consult your attending gynaecologist at the earliest.
In general, during the third trimester
- Take extra care of your health and diet. Be in constant touch with the doctor.
- Take ample rest. Avoid stress and anxiety.
- Foods such as grapes, papaya, pineapple, raw and half cooked vegetables and cereals, fenugreek seeds, alcoholic drinks and beverages, spicy and salty foods are best left avoided.
- The healthy food options include yoghurt (unflavored), eggs (well cooked), apple, guava, melons, berries, avocados, walnuts, almonds pistachios, sunflower seeds, lentils, to name a few.