The third trimester: 28 - 40 weeks pregnant

Weekly appointments with your doctor or midwives
Weekly appointments with your doctor or midwives 

Week 28 to birth
In the third trimester you will probably be feeling a combination of excitement as the birth approaches, mixed with an increasing desire to hurry things along. As you are now carrying a large weight around, you will experience a number of symptoms related specifically to your increasing size. By now your uterus, which used to weigh about 50grams, will be carrying your baby, the placenta and up to about a litre of amniotic fluid, so it is little wonder that you will be feeling a bit uncomfortable.


Shortness of breath

Your diaphragm is increasingly pushed up by your growing uterus, which decreases lung capacity. At the same time, progesterone is causing you to breathe more deeply ensuring that, although your lung capacity is decreased, you are actually taking in a higher volume of air. Improving your posture can help you breath easier. If you are having any difficulty sleeping, try propping yourself up on pillows or lay on your side.

During the last couple of weeks of pregnancy, this shortness of breath will subside when the baby drops down into your pelvis in preparation for birth.

Pregnancy and birth
Pregnancy and birth 

Sleeping difficulties
Because of your increasing size and shortness of breath, you may find that sleeping is more difficult during this trimester. Try sleeping on your side or using pillows to prop yourself into a comfortable position.

Leaking urine
Increasing pressure on your bladder can cause slight leakage of urine when you cough or laugh, however this should not be a problem after the baby is born.

Skin changes
Varicose veins can appear in later pregnancy as the growing uterus exerts pressure on the veins in the legs. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about them and take the following steps to try to improve circulation;

  • Do not cross your legs when sitting
  • If possible, maintain exercise to promote circulation (always check with your specialist before starting new exercise during pregnancy)
  • Try not to stand for long periods of time
  • When possible, elevate your legs

Itchy skin
Your abdomen in particular can become itchy as the skin stretches and tightens. Keep your skin well moisturised and try not to scratch.

Stretch marks
Stretch marks inevitable for many women during pregnancy. They generally appear as streaks on your breasts, abdomen and upper thighs and unfortunately there is little that can be done about them. Do not worry too much however, as they should slowly fade. Cocoa butter is said to be helpful for reducing reducing stretch marks and can also ease itchiness.


Preparing for labour 
During this trimester, you should begin preparing for labour. Prepare your Labour Kit and Hospital Bag. It is normal to be feeling nervous about the birth (especially if it is your first).

If you are worried about anything, then be sure to check with your doctor or specialist to ease your concerns.

Preparing your home for the baby 
Many women are superstitious about buying baby items too early in their pregnancy, however, now is the time to ensure that you have prepared your home for baby's arrival. You will need to sort out your baby's nursery and purchase some essential equipment to get you through the first weeks at home with your new baby.

Discuss your pregnancy with other pregnant Essential Baby members.

Find out what changes are happening to your body and see how your baby is developing each week of your pregnancy: Weekly guide to pregnancy.

Don't know your due date? Essential Baby's Due Date Calculator will help you determine when your baby is due.

Am I pregnant? Some women may feel pregnant soon after conception, while others may not experience any symptoms for some time into their pregnancy. Everybody is different, and you may suspect you are pregnant based a range of symptoms. Find out common pregnancy symptoms here.

Who can I talk to? Join a pregnancy buddy group in the Essential Baby Forums. Get support from other mums-to-be due in the same month as you, and seek advice from mums-to-be who are ahead of you in their pregnancies. Join a pregnancy buddy group.

The First Trimester

4 weeks pregnant
5 weeks pregnant
6 weeks pregnant
7 weeks pregnant
8 weeks pregnant
9 weeks pregnant
10 weeks pregnant
11 weeks pregnant
12 weeks pregnant

The Second Trimester

13 weeks pregnant
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The Third Trimester

28 weeks pregnant
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40 weeks pregnant