Welcome to the third trimester. You're in the last few weeks of your pregnancy and your baby will be here before you know it!
At this point it might seem like your pregnancy is dragging on and on 😉
Don't worry – your feelings are normal! Enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy: treat yourself a few times, spend extra time with your family. Now is a good time to go see a movie or have a nice dinner. Eat well, walk every day, and get plenty of rest.
If you haven't started thinking about your baby's birth, now is the time to do it. Click here for more info on preparing for a great natural birth.
Your baby has a pretty strong grip! His or her muscles are getting even stronger. Your baby is also starting to improve at sucking and swallowing. Baby's eyes are starting to open now. Some researchers now believe that babies can open their eyes before this traditional mark (around six months or so). Your baby's eyes form completely within the next few days.
Your baby's lungs are getting ready to breathe air, making the chances of survival rise slightly. Your baby is now anywhere from 10-13 inches long and weighs around 1.5-2lbs.
Is your kicking baby keeping you up at night? Baby may be more active at night because he/she is lulled to sleep while you're active during the day. When you slow down at night, baby wakes up!
Enjoy those little midnight aerobic sessions, but get the rest that you need too. Use pillows behind your back, between your knees, or wherever you need to get comfortable. A body pillow is often helpful at this point. If you have trouble falling asleep try a warm soak in the tub, or reading a good book. This is also a perfect time to imagine your perfect birth – it's like a nightly “practice session”!
Your belly is really growing and your skin might get itchy. This is because of all the stretching that it's doing to accommodate your growing baby (you can try moisturizers to ease the itch).
You're in the bathroom pretty often again. Unfortunately this only gets more frequent as your baby gets bigger and your uterus really starts to push down over your bladder. If you notice that you have a little leakage when you bend over, cough, or laugh, step up your kegel routine to strengthen those pelvic floor muscles! Remember to take time to relax the muscles, too – knowing how to relax them helps you while you're birthing your baby.
This is a big week for your baby. He or she has eyelashes growing this week. Your baby is more sensitive to light, sound, and touch. Baby's brain also becomes capable of directing breathing. His or her lungs continue to mature.
Your baby is ready to start building up white fat, which accumulates under the skin and help fill your baby out. The wrinkles in his or her skin become smoother as the fat builds up throughout the rest of pregnancy. Newborns are still somewhat lean, though. Your milk will quickly fill your baby out into that chubby “bundle of joy” you picture when you think of smiling babies.
Your baby's brain is almost ready to control body temperature. This is an important milestone. It will still be vitally important for you to help your baby stay warm when he or she is born. Skin-to-skin contact is the absolute best way to be sure that your baby is warm enough. As you prepare for your natural birth, plan to insist that your baby be placed right on your chest, where both of you can cuddle under blankets.
Your belly continues to grow as your baby gets bigger. Are you feeling Braxton-hicks contractions? These “practice contractions” help tone your uterus and get you ready for birth. They have an important job 🙂
You baby is around 16 inches long and weighs 3-3.5 pounds. He or she is curled in your uterus, but still moving quite a lot. Your amniotic fluid decreases a little as your baby takes up more and more room in your body. Your baby has a good chance at survival if born now!
Your belly continues to grow and sleeping is uncomfortable. Sleeping on your left side is recommended because your blood flows most easily to your baby when you're in that position. An assortment of pillows, a body pillow, or a pregnancy pillow may help.
Stand up slowly from sitting positions and from lying down. Otherwise you may feel dizzy or lightheaded.
Your blood volume has doubled at this point to keep up with the increased circulation needs of you and your baby. Continue to drink plenty of nourishing fluids (try broths and soups, or herbal teas, if you get tired of plain old water.) It's normal for your iron levels to drop slightly when your blood volume expands. Eating iron rich foods with vitamin C rich foods enhances iron absorption – hard boiled eggs and fresh orange slices are a good example for a snack!
Your increased blood volume may also cause varicose veins – try to keep your feet up and take it easy.
Your baby is covered with a very fine, soft hair called lanugo. If your husband puts his ear up against your abdomen he may be able to hear your baby's heartbeat! The rate your baby grows in height has begun to slow down, but your baby packs on weight from now until birth.
Babies suck their thumbs even in the womb. In fact your baby might even have a callous from all the sucking he or she has been doing!
If your baby is a boy, his testes are descending.
Good posture helps prevent backaches and also helps keep your baby in a good position. Sitting on a birth ball is a great idea.
A little breathlessness is normal and you may continue to notice it throughout pregnancy. Your baby is getting much bigger and your lungs cannot expand quite as much as usual. Practice slow and steady breathing to keep plenty of oxygen flowing to you and baby. This also helps you prepare for birth.
Hurray! Your baby can understand information from all five senses! The sense of smell, however, is believed to wait until birth before it become functional. This is because your baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid.
Your baby can sense light and the iris of his or her eye responds to light. If you enter a bright room or shine a flashlight near your baby you may notice that he or she responds!
Your baby may have hair on his or her head, and there are fingernails and toenails on tiny feet. You'll clip those nails shortly after birth!
Continue to prepare for birth by practicing relaxation and breathing. Prenatal exercise also helps you prepare for birth. It helps relieve pregnancy aches and pains. Do kegel muscle repetitions to exercise your pelvic floor. This will help you recover more quickly from childbirth.
You may notice that your baby has regular sleeping and waking times and you may feel more activity at certain times. You can feel kicks all around, including under you ribs! As your baby finds a favored position you'll notice kicks come at regular places.
You may also see colostrum by now – this is the very first milk that your baby gets from you. Your body begins producing it around the beginning of the third trimester. Some women see droplets of it and some do not. You may notice that your nightshirt is wet after you've been lying on your side the entire night.
This colostrum will be liquid gold for your baby. It gives him or her the best start in life. You may want to wear pad in your bra if the colostrum is leaking more than a small amount. Click here to get more info on breastfeeding.
Your baby has a lot of amniotic fluid at this point. In fact, there's so much that from now on it will be decreasing slightly each week to accommodate your child. You might feel more and more thumping and bumping from your little one as there's less cushioning in there.
Your baby keeps adding fat padding beneath his or her skin. This fat causes the color of your child's skin to go from a deep red to a more pinkish, translucent tone. Even if your baby will be dark skinned later, he or she has very translucent skin now.
Your baby's brain grows very rapidly at this point and his or her head circumference grows to accommodate that. The brain folds over and over because itss such a complex organ!
The placenta that connects you to your baby is a very amazing and complex organ. It takes nutrients from your blood and passes them to your baby. However, the blood streams are separated by several layers of tissue – your blood never actually mixes with your child's.
Constipation may be a problem in the late weeks of pregnancy. Plenty of walking and some gentle prenatal exercise can help prevent this. Also make sure you drink plenty of fluids and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. These measures will also help if you're having trouble with sleeplessness. Use a good pregnancy pillow for better sleep.
This week your little one has “baby blues” because no matter what color your child's eyes become, they're blue now. After your baby's eyes are exposed to light for several weeks you can tell what color they'll be.
Your baby is starting to produce antibodies of his or her own. This is helpful when baby is born, but he/she still need help to stay free of infection.
Breastfeeding is the best way for you to keep your baby healthy. It's also the most natural choice for you to make.
Right now your body transfers antibodies through the placenta to your baby. This is an amazing way you're already protecting your baby. When you breastfeed you continue this miraculous process because your milk also transfers living antibodies to your baby.
This gives you a healthier, happier baby.
Now is a good time to start looking over what baby supplies you have so far and what you'll need. Get a basic layette and car seat for your little one. Read up on cloth diapering options and Elimination Communication.
Are you feeling anxious about meeting your baby? You're not alone! You may have some apprehensions about giving birth. It's best to think these through and research them. Reading the natural birth pages gives you a lot of great information.
Your baby continues to grow this week, causing your uterus to stretch more and giving you more of a baby belly! Your baby has probably settled into the position that he or she will assume for birth by now. Most babies are head down, but some babies settle in bottom down.
If you baby is head down it is called a “vertex presentation” and if your baby is head up it is called a “breech presentation.” If your baby is breech, there are certain exercises you can do to help with turning your breech baby.
Your baby continues to fatten up. This week your little one is beginning to get padding on his or her arms and legs. You may still think that your baby's arms and legs look a little lean when he or she is born, but you can be sure that there is insulating brown fat padded up under that soft skin.
You may be dealing with some swelling as your abdomen continues to grow. A little swelling in your hands and feet is normal. Put you legs up and take plenty of time to rest. You should also continue to drink liquids so that you can keep fluid moving through your body. Continue to salt to taste as well.
Your blood volume has expanded dramatically to nourish your baby and keep you healthy – salting to taste helps your body retain the fluids that it needs in order to keep your blood volume as high as it needs to be.
If you have sudden and dramatic swelling then you should call your care provider. Anytime you feel worried, call your care provider.
Almost all of your baby's development this week is about fat. Fat is vitally important to your newborn as it gives him or her the insulation that is needed to survive outside of your womb. One of the best ways to keep your baby cozy when he or she is finally with you is to cuddle skin to skin. You'll feel baby's soft skin and tiny rolls!
The downy hair on your baby's body, called lanugo, is gradually disappearing now. You may still notice some on your baby when he or she is born, especially on his or her back. But most of it will be gone. If your baby were born at this point, he or she would have a great chance at survival.
At this point your baby weighs 6-7lbs and is around 18 inches long. Your baby is beginning to look more and more like the newborn that you are imagining. Have you decided where your newborn will sleep yet? Read the section on co-sleeping to understand how wonderful it is to share sleep with your little one.
Are you still eating well? It may be harder to eat as much as you need to nourish yourself and your child. But it's still very important – in fact it's especially important that your baby is bulking up on good nutrients. If you're having trouble eating all the food you need, go back to the old standby of “grazing” – have several small meals instead of three big ones.
You and baby have made it a long way together and this week you can breathe a little sigh of relief. Most doctors consider your baby to be mature enough to be born at 37 weeks. If you're planning a homebirth you're inside the safe window for home delivery!
Your baby is done with most of his or her development and is now just packing on the fat. However, birth-weight is very important to your baby and these last couple of weeks are important for other reasons, too. Most of your baby's calcium stores are being laid down now – and your baby's brain grows amazingly in these last few weeks. Your baby is worth the wait!
You may be feeling very uncomfortable at this point and very ready to be over with pregnancy. Remember that your baby comes when it's the right time for him or her.
Your cervix might be thinning out and perhaps even dilating a little, but that doesn't mean that labor will begin at any moment (though it could!) Each centimeter that you dilate now, before labor starts, is less work that you have to do while you're actually in labor 😉
Have you decided how you're going to diaper your baby? Or maybe you're considering elimination communication? Your baby has his or her first stool forming now. It's called meconium and it's an accumulation of dead cells and wastes. Meconium is very sticky and tarry.
You can begin to “EC” your baby from birth – your baby is aware of elimination and doesn't want to “soil the nest!” Or you can use cloth diapers right from birth – meconium washes out with no problems 🙂
If your little one is a girl, her labia major is forming over her labia minor. Your little boy's testes have completely descended.
Are you wondering how labor will start? You're not alone! Many women wonder the same thing. You're probably feeling many Braxton-hicks contractions. These practice contractions tend to be irregular and they stop when you change positions or activities.
If your contractions are becoming steady and seem to be getting more frequent, go ahead and time them. If they don't stop when you change activities you could be in labor!
The best thing to do when you think labor is starting is to rest or go about your light daily activities. When you find that you can't rest anymore or focus, then labor is probably well underway!
At birth your baby will weigh between 6-9 pounds. Birth weight depends some on genetics, but a lot has to do with your nutrition. Continue to eat well for you baby for these last couple of weeks and in the postpartum period. Your good nutrition will ensure good milk for your child!
Your baby is pretty cramped in your belly. If you're a first time mother your baby's head may have engaged in your pelvis. Subsequent babies usually wait until labor begins to engage.
You can probably breathe a little easier once your baby has engaged but you'll need to run the bathroom a lot more from the increased pressure on your bladder! Go when you need to go – holding it could cause infection.
You may be tired and crabby, and very ready for your baby to be born! Any complaints that you have are probably similar to the ones you've had for the last few weeks. Get some gentle exercise daily, but don't overdo it! This helps you prepare for birth and keeps your circulation going strong for you and your baby.
If you find yourself feeling restless for your baby, reorganize your baby things, get your house cleaned (just don't go overboard!) or settle back with a good book or movie. Your baby will be with you before you know it. You may also want to review our natural birth resources.
Your baby is around 20 inches long and weighs 7-7.5 lbs. He or she is soft and chubby. There isn't much vernix left on the baby now, but some may remain until birth.
Your baby's sucking reflex has matured and your baby will be ready and eager to nurse when he or she is born. Breastfeeding is a wonderful gift to your baby.
Your body is transferring immunities to your child. This process is continued throughout the first year (and beyond) of your little one's life by your milk. Human milk is filled with antibodies that will benefit your baby. Your first milk, called colostrum, is thick and golden in colors and is absolutely brimming with antibodies to help your newborn.
If you're still pregnant at this point it's totally normal. Many first time mothers go “overdue” and many moms go past their due date in subsequent pregnancies. You due date is just a guess at when your baby will come.
If you are uncomfortable, it never hurts to try to get labor started naturally. It won't work if your baby isn't ready 😉
Your labor will start before you know it and your baby will soon be in your arms. Take plenty of walks to encourage labor to start and to help keep you occupied. You can also focus on cleaning the house and sorting out the last of your new baby's things.
You should balance any busywork with rest. Take the time to put your feet up and relax, and try to conserve your energy for your upcoming birth. Enjoy moderate activity and as much rest as you can get.
Soon it will be time to move on to natural baby care! Or, Click Here for more resources on preparing for giving birth naturally!