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Pregnancy & Parenting > Stages of Pregnancy

3rd Trimester of Pregnancy

The 3rd trimester of pregnancy is the home stretch. During this phase of your pregnancy your body will begin its preparation for labor and delivery. This is also the phase of your pregnancy when you should begin preparing your home and yourself for the arrival of the newest member of your family.

What Happens in the 3rd Trimester of Pregnancy

During your 3rd trimester of pregnancy you are going to feel “heavy with child.” This is the trimester that you will probably gain the most weight, and your body will make the most physical changes. Some of the changes that you may experience include your belly button popping out, more back pain, difficulty getting out of a chair, and more discomfort. After all, not only will your body be working on the final development stages for your baby, but it will also be preparing for labor, delivery, and postnatal care of your baby.

During the 3rd trimester you may start to experience false labor, also referred to as Braxton Hicks Contractions. To a first time mother these smaller contractions may feel like the reel thing, however, they will be much milder then the real thing. Pre-term labor may also be a problem that develops during this trimester of your pregnancy. If you begin pre-term labor too soon, then your doctor will probably put you on medication and bed rest. For the healthiest babies you need to try and keep the baby inside of you for at least 36 to 38 weeks. Any earlier and the baby will need special care to keep it alive and healthy.

Staying Healthy in the 3rd Trimester

It is critical to stay healthy during your 3rd trimester of your pregnancy. Your body is under a lot of stress and it needs the proper amount of rest, nutrition, exercise, and prenatal care. Because of this your doctor will steadily increase the number of visits that you make to his or her office during this trimester. Your weight gain, belly girth, and cervix dilation will be examined during each visit. Your activity level and diet will be adjusted to meet your changing needs. If you develop complications during the late stages of your pregnancy then you may need to go on special medication, diets, or even be admitted to the hospital.

Preparing for Labor

The final stage of pregnancy is labor and delivery. This is the part of the pregnancy that is both anticipated and feared. To prepare yourself for the stress that labor and delivery creates you need to follow the exercise and diet programs developed by your doctor, as well as educate yourself about what to expect and how to deal with what happens during labor. Natural childbirth classes and parenting classes are both great ways to do both of these things. Your final step of preparing for labor is to pre-register for your hospital room. If you know that you will be having a C-section then you will need to make the proper hospital arrangements for this as well. This is also a good time to get your home ready for the new baby. Set up the furniture, buy diapers and clothes, have baby showers, and rest, as this may be the last time you get to relax for several years.

Related Links:

Tips to Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Planning

Harmful Environmental Agents for Pregnancy

Top Ten Dos and Don'ts for Pregnant Women

1st Trimester of Pregnancy

2nd Trimester of Pregnancy

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