Third Trimester

28 weeks pregnant to 40 weeks pregnant

The general calmness of the second trimester will often give way to more physical discomforts and rigorous preparation in the third trimester. Leg cramping, back pain and itchy skin are common symptoms of third trimester pregnancy, as the fetus gains weight rapidly. You may have difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position, but despite the fatigue, many women feel energized when they begin to "nest," or prepare the house for the baby's arrival. Here is what you can look forward to in every week of your third trimester of pregnancy.

Advertiser Links for Third Trimester
[what's this?]

Third Trimester of Pregnancy Week by Week

28 Weeks Pregnant – You have likely gained as much as 25 pounds by now, and your breasts are producing quite a bit of colostrum, the precursor to breast milk. Your healthcare provider may conduct an Rh test to determine the compatibility of the fetus's blood with your blood. The fetus now has lungs that are capable of breathing air and hair that is beginning to gain color.

29 Weeks Pregnant – The volume of blood in your body has doubled by this point, and you may lose some of the energy you had gained in the second trimester. Heartburn can become a nuisance as the uterus continues to crowd your stomach. The fetus will require more nutrition than ever during this trimester, so pay close attention to your pregnancy diet and get a lot of sleep.

30 Weeks Pregnant – Shifting positions in bed can be a difficult task, so you may want to invest in some silk or satin sheets to make it easier to move. Try to lie on your left side when you sleep, as this will allow blood to flow easily through the vena cava. The fetus's brain is maturing quickly now, and you may feel less movement as it takes up more space in the uterus.

31 Weeks Pregnant – It is completely normal to begin to leak some colostrum at this point, but not every woman will do so. You may also find yourself waddling as the ligaments in your hips begin to soften in preparation for childbirth. The fetus's irises are now responsive to light, and fat deposits are forming under the skin.

32 Weeks Pregnant – The uterus typically measures about five inches above the belly button now, and you will probably gain about one pound each week until the end of your pregnancy. You might feel a little short of breath at times, so be prepared to rest more often. Most fetuses will weigh over three pounds at this stage, and will continue to gain more weight than length until birth.

33 Weeks Pregnant – Swelling in the legs and ankles is normal, but mention any sudden increase in swelling or severe headaches to your doctor. You may also experience tingling or numbness in the wrists and fingers. The uterus contains about two pints of amniotic fluid at this point, and space is getting tight.

34 Weeks Pregnant – Your blood pressure will probably be slightly higher now, and you should increase your water intake to counter any swelling or constipation you may be experiencing. Your doctor or healthcare provider will be able to estimate the fetus's weight and size at this point, and it is developing immunities to mild infections.

35 Weeks Pregnant – Many women will begin to experience wild mood swings, along with an increased need to urinate and pressure in the pelvic area; treat yourself to a prenatal massage if you need to relax. The average fetus weighs close to five pounds by now and has developed enough to breathe and feed on its own, but will continue to plump up before the birth.

36 Weeks Pregnant – The fetus could drop down into your pelvis at any time now, which will probably allow you to breathe much more easily. You may want to have cervical exams every week for these last weeks of pregnancy to monitor the rate at which your body is preparing to deliver. The fetus has likely assumed its birthing position, whether it is vertex or breech.

37 Weeks Pregnant – Although your official due date is still a few weeks away, you will have undergone a full-term pregnancy if you deliver your baby now. Your healthcare provider may test for GBS (Group B strep) this week, which is a type of bacteria that can live in the vagina and infect a baby during delivery.

38 Weeks Pregnant – Many women will not gain anymore weight from now until the birth, but don't be worried if you do: the more layers of fat a baby has when born, the stronger its overall well-being.

39 Weeks Pregnant – You may begin to have contractions – true labor pains will come at regular intervals and will increase in strength. If your water breaks, note any odor or color it has and report your observations to your healthcare provider. The lungs are the last organ to mature, but they should be fully developed by now.

40 Weeks Pregnant – Keep in mind that you are not technically overdue until 42 weeks, so you may not give birth this week. If your pregnancy continues into week 41, your healthcare provider may use an external fetal monitor to observe the fetus's movements. Labor may be induced under certain circumstances.