Third Trimester: In A Nutshell

6 min read

Written by Dr. Varsha Sharma Kapila

Dr. Varsha Sharma Kapila

third trimester
Now that you have finished your second trimester and entered the third and the last trimester of your pregnancy, you have only some more weeks to go, but this phase of your pregnancy can be the most taxing as it can be very tiring and uncomfortable.
The size and position of your baby may make your movements difficult.

By the time you step into the third trimester, you must have already been tired of pregnancy and eager to have the delivery. You must try to be positive as soon you shall be holding your baby in your hands.  The third trimester of pregnancy begins from the 28th week onwards. By the time you reach the third trimester, your bump shall be evident.

In This Article

Symptoms Experienced During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Symptoms experienced during the third trimester of pregnancy may differ from woman to woman. With pregnancy evolving, most of the symptoms lessen or disappear.

A few of the symptoms that you may experience during the third trimester of pregnancy are as follows:-

1. Backache

Extra weight gain during pregnancy shall exert pressure on your back, making it painful. Discomfort may be experienced in the pelvis and hips due to the loosening of the ligaments that prepare for labor.

2. Breasts Continue to Grow

As your due date approaches, you may notice a yellowish fluid leaking from the nipples. This fluid is known as colostrums, which shall nourish your baby in the initial days after birth.

3. Increased Vaginal Discharge

When your date of delivery is nearing, you may notice thick, clear, or slightly blood-tinged discharge. This indicates that your cervix has started dilating, preparing for labor. In case you experience a sudden gush of fluid, this indicates the breaking of your water bag. Contact your doctor as soon as the water bag breaks.

4. Fatigue

Fatigue is experienced in this phase due to additional weight gain, getting up several times during the night to urinate, and anxiety about preparing for a baby.

5. Increased Urination

As the baby grows bigger, the baby’s head starts exerting pressure on the bladder, which shall increase the frequency of urination. You may also leak urine when you cough or sneeze.

6. Hemorrhoids


Veins around the anus may enlarge during pregnancy, because of the extra flow of blood and due to increased pressure on them because of the growing uterus.

[Read: Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy]

7. Skin Changes

Altered hormone levels make the skin appear flushed. Stretch marks appear which shall fade post-delivery.

8. Varicose Veins

As the blood circulation is increased to send additional blood to the growing baby. This excessive blood flow can lead to the formation of tiny red veins, known as spider veins, which appear on your skin.

Spider veins intensify in this trimester but fade after the delivery. The pressure exerted on the legs of the growing baby can cause the veins in the legs to swell, they are known as varicose veins. Within a few months after delivery, varicose veins disappear.

9. Weight Gain

Extra weight gained by you during pregnancy is due to your baby’s weight, placenta, increased blood and fluid volume and additional breast tissue.

10. Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks contractions are felt. These are mild contractions, which prepare your uterus for the approaching labor.

11. Shortness of Breath

As the uterus expands to just under the rib cage, sparing very little space for the lungs to expand hence, making it difficult to breathe.

12. Swelling

Slight swelling occurs due to excessive fluid retention. Your ankles and face may appear bloated.

13. Other Symptoms

Cramps in the legs, heartburn and constipation due to excessive production of progesterone hormone are also experienced by pregnant women during the third trimester.

When Should You Contact the Doctor Immediately?

when to see doctor

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the below-mentioned warning symptoms:-

  • Severe cramping and abdominal pain.
  • Bleeding.
  • Severe dizziness.
  • Excessive nausea or vomiting.
  • Pain or burning during urination.
  • Rapid weight gain or too little weight gain.
  • Decrease movements of the baby.

Fetal Development During Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Development of the baby that takes place during this trimester is –

  • Skin appears less wrinkled and much smoother.
  • White, greasy vernix and the soft, furry fine hair begin to disappear.
  • Eyes can focus.
  • Bones start to harden, though skull bones shall remain soft.
  • Testicles begin to descend into the scrotum from the abdomen in case, the baby is a boy.
  • Lungs are fully formed and ready to function.
  • The digestive system is prepared to digest breast milk.
  •  The Baby’s head moves down into the pelvis.
  • All organs are developed.

Medical Test Advised During the Third Trimester

Medical Test Advised During the Third Trimester

During this phase, the below-mentioned tests may be advised:-

  • Blood glucose levels shall be assessed to check for gestational diabetes.
  • Ultrasound to assess the growth of the fetus.

[Read: What Prenatal Tests are Done in the Third Trimester?]

Precautions During Third Trimester

One needs to be extremely cautious when –

  • Using any medicines, it may be harmful to the baby.
  • Using cleaning products or household chemicals.

Diet to be Followed During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

A nutritious and balanced diet should be taken.

Some of the dietary regime to be followed is:-

  • Consume a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Drink an ample amount of water.
  • Encourage intake of colorful fruits and vegetables, eggs, sweet potatoes, pulses, soya, milk, cheese, paneer, curd, fiber, walnuts, beans, etc.
  • Encourage small regular meals and plenty of fluids.
  • Regular consumption of folic acid supplements, vitamins, and other supplements.
  • Avoid seafood, oily and spicy food, unpasteurized cheese, unpasteurized milk, juices, apple cider, raw eggs or foods, homemade ice cream, raw or undercooked fish (sushi), shellfish, or meats.

[Read: Pregnancy Foods And Exercises For Third Trimester]

Tips to Follow During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Tips to Follow During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Tips to follow during the third trimester of pregnancy are as follows:-

  • Consult your gynecologist on a frequent basis.
  • Keep a track of your baby’s movements.
  • Maintain good posture.
  • Wear comfortable shoes with good arch support.
  • Use a heating pad, to alleviate back pain.
  • Eat frequent and smaller meals.
  • Avoid oily, spicy, and acidic foods.
  • Increase fiber intake, iron-rich foods, and drink an excessive amount of fluids.
  • To reduce the discomfort caused by hemorrhoids warm tub., sit in a
  • Start performing Kegel’s exercise which shall help in preventing urine leakage during and after pregnancy. It further prevents hemorrhoids and enhances the muscle tone of the vagina.
  • Perform prenatal exercises such as water exercise, prenatal yoga, walking, or gentle dance.
  • Perform stretching exercises as stretching increases your flexibility and makes you feel relaxed.
  • Sleep on your left side, placing a pillow between your legs, under your hip, or behind your back.
  • Rest your legs on a stool whenever you have to sit for prolonged periods of time.
  • Take a pregnancy power nap when you feel fatigued.
  • Stay calm and practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Start talking to your baby now as your baby can hear your voice. Massage your bump, using gentle strokes so that you can feel close to your baby.
  • Be aware of the stages of labor.
  • Learn the technique of breastfeeding.
  • Keep a track of your weight gain.
  • Share your fears and excitement with family and friends as pregnancy is an emotional rollercoaster.
  • Be aware of the danger signs of pregnancy.
  • Avoid sports, lifting heavy weights, and unsafe activities.
  • Avoid food products that can be harmful to your baby.
  • Get yourself prepared for the hospital stay.
  • Avoid dieting during pregnancy.
  • Avoid stress and depression as they can have an adverse effect on your baby.
  • Do not panic if you cross your due date.

Wishing you good luck with an uncomplicated and smooth delivery!!!

Read Also: Early Signs That Labor is Coming Soon

Dr. Varsha Sharma Kapila,MD(Hom), Consultant Homeopathy

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