Mother and Baby

Your third trimester: what to expect!

Section: Pregnancy
Your third trimester

Your third and final trimester is made up of the last three months of your pregnancy, starting from week 27. You’re nearly there – but this part is also quite challenging. For your baby it is a spectacular time. They will obtain all five senses, her brain will grow faster than ever and her bones and intestines will fully develop.

Baby's growth in the third trimester

By the end of this trimester, your baby will be here! From dreaming about their parents to tiny foot imprints on your bump, understand your baby's growth from week 27 to week 40

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Week 27: They may recognise both yours and your partner’s voices

During week 27, your baby’s auditory development will be better than ever as the network of nerves to the ears matures, and they may now recognise both yours and your partner’s voices. 


 
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Week 28: Your baby has started dreaming of you

Brain wave activity measured in foetuses shows that babies in the womb go through different sleep cycles, including the REM phase, when dreaming occurs. Your baby’s eyes are also more developed than ever: she now can not only blink her eyes but also enjoy fluttering the lashes that have recently grown. Her eyesight is so good she may even be able to see light filtering in through your womb. 
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Week 29: More vigorous and regular kicks and wriggles

Now that your baby is much bigger, you’ll definitely start noticing more vigorous and regular kicks and wriggles. She may even kick when she’s asleep – just like you move around during the night trying to get comfy. There’s no set number of times that your baby should be moving – each child is different - but you should start monitoring kicks twice a day, in the morning and at night. It’s easiest to do this lying or sitting down as your baby is more likely to perk up once you’re resting. Count to ten and monitor all her movements.
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Week 30: Fewer hard kicks

Your baby is currently surrounded by a pint and a half of amniotic fluid, but as they get bigger and take up more room in your uterus, that volume will shrink. As they grow. the space in your womb gets more cramped, so you may feel fewer hard kicks than you used to a few weeks ago. Also, by now your baby’s body parts will start to look more proportional. The only exception is their head, which will still be quite large compared to the rest of their body. 
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Week 31: They can turn their head from side to side

Your foetus is more baby-like than ever: They can turn their head from side to side and they are moving a lot, to the extent they may be keeping you up at night. They are also extremely lively – wriggling, stretching and kicking so much now that you might even see your bump move, especially when you’re relaxing in the bath. However, there are more defined patterns of movement and rest, as a result of your baby sleeping for longer stretches of time. 
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Week 32: Fully fledged toenails, fingernails and hair: gorgeous! 

Your baby’s more beautiful than ever, with the fat accumulating under her skin getting rid of that once-transparent look: they are now fully opaque. The digestive system is also ready to go in preparation for breastfeeding in just a few weeks’ time. They have fully fledged toenails, fingernails and hair: gorgeous!
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Week 33: Your baby’s bones are hardening

Your baby’s bones are hardening this week, apart from the ones in their skull. They are not fused together yet so they can move and overlap, which makes it easier for them to squeeze through the birth canal (and explains why some babies are born with a slightly pointy head)! It will take until early adulthood for these bones to fuse entirely, so they can grow as the brain and other tissue grows during childhood.
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Week 34: Their first poo is lurking in their intestines

Right about now their first poo (meconium stool) is lurking in their intestines ready to be passed once they are born. It’ll be thick, gooey and greenish black. If your baby is a boy, this week, his testicles will make the trip down from his abdomen to his scrotum. A small number of babies are born with undescended testicles, but they usually make their way down before their first birthdays.
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Week 35: You may see a teeny weeny foot imprint through your bump

Your baby is now the size of a honeydew melon! Now there’s less room to move around, your little one might actually start to push rather than kick - and if they do, you may even be able to see a teeny weeny foot imprint through your bump. Now they are so close to being a fully functioning little human being, they will spend most of the rest of your pregnancy putting on weight.
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Week 36: Some of their personality traits are already formed

Your baby’s head may engage any time now (which means it drops into your pelvis), and excitingly, some of their personality traits are already formed. Studies on the heart rate and movement of 31 foetuses before and after birth have shown that the more active they were in the womb, the grumpier they were when they hit the world. Eek! Let’s hope for your sake that your baby is one of the cheerful ones. 
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Week 37: Sucking their thumb, moving from side to side and even blinking

Although your due date is close now, your baby still isn’t considered full term for another two weeks. If they are born now, they will still be considered early term. The next two weeks in your womb (if they decide to stay in there till then) will see their brain and lungs reach full maturity. They will keep gaining around half a pound a week until the birth. They will still be practising for life outside of their cosy current home, rehearsing by breathing amniotic fluid, sucking their thumb, moving from side to side and even blinking. Once they are born, their head will be the same circumference as their chest. 
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Week 38: Your baby is a fully functioning little human

Your baby is a fully functioning little human, though they are still practising breathing and swallowing. If you’ve got a little boy, then his testicles have descended into the scrotum by now. And little girls might have slightly enlarged breasts (this is just the effect of your hormones and will go down after birth). Your placenta is also fully grown and weighs a whole one pound and nine ounces!
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Week 39: Your baby is perfectly squeezable in preparation for lots of cuddles

This might be your final week of pregnancy, but babies usually go past their due date (only 4% are born on time!), so don’t expect a prompt arrival, especially if this is your first child. Your baby is also perfectly squeezable in preparation for lots of cuddles. A thick fat layer has been deposited over their blood vessels, making their body extra huggable! This fat layer will also help to control their body temperature after birth. 
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Week 40: The official end of your pregnancy, but your baby may not realise it yet.

It’s the official end of your pregnancy, but your baby may not realise it yet. Around 30% of pregnancies last longer than 40 weeks. Hang in there - it’s nearly time to meet your little one. While they are still living inside your tummy, you’re still providing the antibodies they need to fight infections for the first few months of their life. If you decide to breastfeed, they will get more antibodies to boost her immune system and will get even more from the colostrum that you’ll feed them for the first few days of their life.
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Week 41: Shedding the greasy, white substance, which has been protecting their skin

Still no joy? Don’t worry, babies rarely arrive on their due date and can be up to two weeks late. In the week or two before your baby is due, they will start shedding the greasy, white substance, which has been protecting their skin, called vernix. This turns the amniotic fluid, which was once clear, pale and milky. Overdue babies can be slightly larger than other babies as they’ve had longer to grow and their skull bones have had longer to fuse together. Both these things mean you have a slightly higher chance of having an assisted delivery with forceps or ventouse.
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Week 42: Whether or not your baby wants to come out yet, your doctor will likely induce you this week

At forty-two weeks pregnant - this is it! If you haven’t given birth yet, this will be the week: whether or not your baby wants to come out yet, your doctor will likely induce you this week. Babies who are overdue may look a little wrinkled, dry or cracked when they first arrive. The protective vernix around their body was shed weeks ago in preparation for the due date that went by what feels like years ago. Don’t worry, once they start feeding regularly, their skin will return to normal. 

Your plan for your third trimester

There is so much to do now that you are about to give birth. You need to prepare for labour, and, no less importantly, life after that. Start with prepping your baby’s nursery – it will also be easier on your budget if you spread it over time. Make sure you buy all the baby essentials: pushchair, cot, and a car seat.

Make a birth plan and pack your hospital bag. If you’re giving birth in hospital, plan the route and drive it a few times to check how long it takes. You should by now know who your birthing partner is going to be, and what your plan is for pain management.

If you are planning to breastfeed, be prepared with lots of maternity bras, a breastfeeding pillow, and a breast pump.

Above all else, try to stay relaxed and avoid stress. This might seem like the hardest task!

Your body changes

Your growing bump and boobs aren’t making life any easier for your back, but seek help if you are suffering from back pain. Practice good posture, sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs. You might benefit from a pregnancy massage.

Your bump pushing on your bladder will make you give up counting how many times a day (and night) you visit the toilet. You might also find that your body is swollen – hands, face, and ankles. You might want to reduce your water intact – but it is vital that you stay hydrated during your third trimester especially.

Get ready for Braxton Hicks – false contractions preparing your body for the real ones.

Watch out for the following symptoms to spot pre-eclampsia or any other complications:

Choose your week:

Find what week you are from the list below and learn all about what to expect from our overview... 

27 weeks pregnant

28 weeks pregnant

29 weeks pregnant

30 weeks pregnant

31 weeks pregnant

32 weeks pregnant

33 weeks pregnant

34 weeks pregnant

35 weeks pregnant

36 weeks pregnant

37 weeks pregnant

38 weeks pregnant

39 weeks pregnant

40 weeks pregnant

41 weeks pregnant

42 weeks pregnant

 

More to read:

>> YOUR SECOND TRIMESTER

>> YOUR FIRST TRIMESTER

 

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