Third trimester of pregnancy, what you need to know

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Marie-Ange Demory
@marie-angedemory
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Contents

  • 1 Third trimester and weeks of pregnancy 
  • 2 Symptoms of the third trimester of pregnancy
  • 3 Third trimester of pregnancy: weight 
  • 4 Third trimester of pregnancy: the exams 
  • 5 Third trimester and maternity leave
  • 6 Third trimester of pregnancy: the suitcase
  • 7 Contractions: how to recognize the right ones 
  • 8 Third trimester: when to go to the hospital 
  • 9 How to start labor 
  • 10 Third trimester of pregnancy: monitoring
  • 11 The seventh month of pregnancy 
  • 12 The eighth month of pregnancy 
  • 13 The ninth month of pregnancy 
  • 14 The weeks of the third quarter 

Sounds unbelievable, right? At first it seemed that the finish line was very far away and instead look at where you have arrived. Here you are in the third trimester of pregnancy, moms! The checkered flag is getting closer and closer and you are approaching childbirth with a mix of sensations that run fast from impatience to anxiety, from fear to happiness. The baby bump is wonderful and you already feel that you will miss it a little. It will probably happen for real, but at the same time you will hold the love of life in your heart.



Third trimester and weeks of pregnancy 

The last trimester of pregnancy ranges from 26 + 3 (26 weeks and 3 days) up to 40 + 0 (40 weeks). Until 41 in general, nothing is done except wait. However, if the gestation lasts much longer or if there is some problem, doctors may decide to proceed with an induced birth. 

Symptoms of the third trimester of pregnancy

In this last part of pregnancy, what commands is the belly. Many of the greater or lesser discomfort are due to the enlarged uterus and abdomen. Back pain, heartburn, difficulty sleeping, groin pain, shortness of breath, constipation are somehow related to the belly. Let's face it though: you are so proud of it that you are willing to put up with anything. 



Let's see the main ailments of the third trimester. 

  • Backache. About 50-80% of pregnant women suffer from back pain. Generally the cause derives from the normal postural variations typical of pregnancy. Especially in the third trimester, the center of gravity is shifted forward, the lumbar curve is accentuated and the intervertebral discs are subjected to greater load, more likely to form a hernia. Among other causes, hormonal factors (which lead to back pain already in the second trimester of pregnancy) and vascular factors, a sedentary lifestyle or hard work.
  • Insomnia. Several factors contribute to this. The anxiety of childbirth that, like it or not, everyone feels. But also the difficulty in finding a comfortable position to sleep, between back pain and belly. And, again, the urgency of having to urinate often due to the uterus pressing on the bladder. In short, putting all these elements together, we understand that often the nights can become interminable. 
  • Gastric heartburn. Heartburn can become very intense in the third trimester, although it sometimes occurs as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. The pressure on the stomach causes the acids to rise towards the esophagus, a sensation that is anything but pleasant. The solution lies in feeding small and frequent meals, avoiding spicy or acidic foods, staying up at least two hours after meals before bedtime. Using two pillows in bed is also helpful. 
  • Water retention. Swollen, heavy, painful legs, cellulite are symptoms of an accumulation of fluid in the lower limbs due to the difficult return of blood from the legs to the heart. The reasons are various: from incorrect nutrition (for example due to an abuse of salt or little water) to the increased volume of circulating blood, from excess weight to lack of movement. It is precisely on each of these factors that action must be taken to improve the situation. There are also excellent supplements against water retention.
  • Constipation. She may have accompanied you throughout the pregnancy or peeped in the latter period. In any case it is a considerable annoyance, in particular if hemorrhoids also appear, caused by the difficulty in evacuating. In pregnancy, laxatives must be prescribed by the gynecologist only in cases of real need, therefore alternative solutions must be sought in food, in hydration, in lifestyle habits. And therefore use drugs as a last resort. 
  • Pubalgia. It is characterized by pain in the pubis and groin, at the height of the pelvic bones, especially when the mother is moving. At the root of the problem are the strain on the muscles and tendons of the pelvis and incorrect posture. In most cases, the painful sensation is relieved at rest, by taking a hot bath, wearing a belly-supporting belly, maintaining correct posture as much as possible, particularly when sitting. 
  • Wheezing. In the weeks before giving birth, it can happen that you feel fatigued and "out of breath" when you make an extra effort or a walk. It is quite normal for this to happen: you have accumulated a lot of kilos and "carrying them around" becomes tiring. In addition, the baby bump presses on the diaphragm, making breathing a little more difficult. Remedy: go slowly, slowing down and indulging your body. 

Third trimester of pregnancy: weight 

While it tends to be slower than in the previous quarter, the weight continues to increase in the third as well. The National Guidelines System for Physiological Pregnancy (SLNG, 2022) has suggested that, in general, the extra kilos to be achieved at the end of 40 weeks are between 7 and 12. The fluctuation of these values ​​depends on the weight of the woman in early pregnancy. This means that those who start with normal weight can increase up to 12 kg. Those who are overweight or even in a condition of obesity should stop at 7. 



There is also a third hypothesis: the underweight woman. In the latter case, the overcoming of 12 kg is not only allowed, but it is also desirable to favor a balanced course of the pregnancy itself and of the weight ratio of the unborn child / weight of the mother.

The accumulated weight is not just the mother's "flab", although in part - between thighs, breasts, buttocks, abdomen - it is actually so. The baby's kilos (between 2,5 and 4), the placenta, and the amniotic fluid must also be added to the overall total. In short, we do not blame only our alleged "food cravings".

Third trimester of pregnancy: exams 

To be carried out between weeks 28 + 0 to 32 + 6

  • Complete blood count.
  • Toxoplasma.
  • Indirect Coombs test.
  • Venous blood collection.
  • Obstetric ultrasound (only in the case of fetal and / or adnexal or maternal pathology).
  • 3D / 4D ultrasound (for a fee).

To be carried out between weeks 33 + 0 to 37 + 6

  • Complete blood count. 
  • Toxo test.
  • Virus epatite B.
  • Treponema pallidum. 
  • Hiv.
  • Complete urinalysis and urine culture.
  • Group B beta-hemolytic streptococcus. 

To be carried out from weeks 41 + 0

  • Obstetric ultrasound (for quantitative evaluation of amniotic fluid).
  • External cardiotocography. 

We recommend an in-depth study on the subject of vaginal and rectal swabs that is done between the 36th week of pregnancy and the 37th week of pregnancy. If they test positive for strep there is no need to worry, but it is useful to know what happens. For all the details: Vaginal swab at the end of pregnancy, because it is done


Third trimester and maternity leave

The big moment is coming for female workers: maternity leave, that is, the period of compulsory leave from work. It has been 5 months in which the mother has been at home both to prepare for the birth and for the initial care of the newborn. You can choose whether to do it 2 months before the expected date of birth and 3 after the birth, or if only one month before and 4 after. It all depends above all on the type of work done: if you are tiring, if you force yourself to stand for many hours, it is better to anticipate it. Or, on the contrary, if you work on the computer or sit a lot, you can reach the eighth month. 


To be eligible for maternity leave, you must present your employer with a certificate stating the expected date of birth. Within 30 days of the baby's birth, you will then need to send him another one (or a self-certification) that demonstrates the happy event. If the birth occurs after the expected date, the maternity leave starts from the actual date of the birth. If, on the other hand, this is premature, the days of abstention not taken are added to the abstention after childbirth. During your leave, you are entitled to a daily allowance equal to 80 percent of your salary.

Third trimester of pregnancy: the suitcase

After having indulged in shopping for the little one for months, you can finally put everything in order and prepare your suitcase. Each hospital or clinic has its own list which will be provided to you, for example during the preparation course. This mostly to avoid carrying too many objects, some of which could be absolutely useless. Remember that you will probably share a room with a few other new mothers, so there is no need to take half the house with you. 


Contractions: how to recognize the right ones 

Doubt assails all future mothers, especially those who have not yet had children: will I be able to recognize the "right" contractions? The fear is that of not realizing that labor has begun and of going to the hospital too late. Above all, the first-time mothers can be quite calm: childbirth is not such a fast event (to learn more you can read The stages of childbirth: what and how many are there and how to recognize them).

Since the end of the second trimester you have already learned what Braxton-Hicks contractions are, the so-called preparatory. They feel like indurations of the belly, but they are not painful. At best, they cause a little annoyance. They occur several times a day, but are not regular. And here the differences with the "real" ones begin.

The contractions that indicate that the birth is imminent is that they become gradually closer together. The time interval between one and the other is progressively reduced. When you tell them every 5 minutes, you should go to the hospital. In addition to regularity, the other "symptom" is that their intensity and duration increase. In summary: the contractions are regular, of increasing intensity and duration. And they don't pass: try the shower. If the cramps stay there then you are probably there. 

The pains look like menstrual pains, but much more intense. They take the lower abdomen, sometimes even the back, in the kidney area. But it is still a very subjective feeling, as is the pain threshold. 

Third trimester: when to go to the hospital 

Here is the second Hamletic doubt. When to go to the hospital? At the first contraction or better to wait? And what if it gets too late? Generally, if in doubt, contact the delivery room, so that they can tell you with certainty what to do. In some cases, however, it is advisable to go, without delaying too much: 

  • Blood loss. 
  • Rupture of the membranes (in particular if the liquid is not transparent, but "tinted", a signal that indicates the presence of meconium. 
  • Absence of fetal movements (must be at least 10 per day).
  • Regular contractions, which increase in intensity and duration.

How to start labor 

When the date of the birth approaches, you can't wait for it to arrive, despite the very natural fear. Every mother therefore tries to speed up the times a little, perhaps relying on old ideas found here and there. Any examples? Some suggest taking the stairs, a long walk, or cleaning. In reality, the movement could somehow make something move, but it is not a certainty. 

The only method that has a real scientific basis is sex. The sperm in fact contains prostaglandins, a substance that is used to induce childbirth because it favors the initiation of contractions. Thus, a full report could combine useful and enjoyable. 

For other tips: Labor, the natural methods to try to stimulate it

Third trimester of pregnancy: monitoring

The technical term is cardiotocography. These are the monitoring that are done at the end of the pregnancy, near the birth. It is a way to check how things are going inside the baby bump. The functions of cardiotocography are essentially two: to check the fetal heartbeat and the contractile activity of the uterus. The two parameters are monitored simultaneously. In fact, two probes are placed on the mother's abdomen: one for the heartbeat, the other for contractions. 

The device used then releases a long sheet of paper that looks like an electrocardiogram. It is then read by the midwife who will evaluate the progress of the baby's heart and the mother's contractions. These appear as peaks: the higher they are, the stronger the contraction. 

Monitoring is very important because, if something goes wrong (for example, beating anomalies), you can decide to intervene promptly. 

The seventh month of pregnancy 

The third to last month of gestation ranges from 26 + 3 (26 weeks and 3 days) to 30 + 4 (30 weeks and 4 days). In the seventh month of pregnancy, the fetus is very receptive to external stimuli, especially to sounds and also to light sources. His eyes are open. And even the father can feel his kicks clearly and strongly. 

The eighth month of pregnancy 

The eighth month of pregnancy ranges from 30 + 5 (30 weeks and 5 days) to 35 round weeks. In these weeks, on average, you should have gained about 9 kilos. However, it is an extremely subjective fact: there are those who take more and those less. In this period, the most important aspect of the child is the growth of the lungs.  

The ninth month of pregnancy 

The last month of gestation ranges from 35 + 1 (35 weeks and one day) to 40 + 0 (40 weeks). The ninth month of pregnancy seems to never want to end because the desire to hug your baby is now overwhelming. A little more patience and you will be ready to hug it. Now everything is really ready!

The weeks of the third quarter 

27 – 28 – 29 – 30 – 31 – 32 – 33 – 34 – 35 – 36 – 37 – 38 – 39 – 40 

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