This week marks the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy which is bound to remind you of the nearing of the due date. If you have
not enrolled in a prenatal or childbirth class by now, it’s not too late to do so. These classes will be helpful in teaching you breathing and relaxing exercises which will be especially beneficial at the time of delivery or when you go into labor. This is also the time to improve your diet and include all nutritious food to avoid putting on unhealthy weight as well as to help the baby in developing a healthy body. Fried food and excessive heavy or greasy food should be avoided. Fresh fruits, vegetables and a balanced combination of high protein and calcium are important for avoiding problems during recovery after the child birth.
Household chores might now become difficult or tiring. Do not hesitate to ask for help as it is best to avoid risky things like climbing a stool or lifting heavy weight as this can put pressure on the baby or make you fall. Do not neglect taking the vitamins and minerals prescribed to you at this stage even if everything seems fine with you and the baby. You need to build up your immunity and strength for the coming weeks.
Your Symptoms: Leg cramps are common. Drink plenty of water and try gently stretching your calf muscles.
Baby’s Development: Baby is beginning to sleep and be awake at regular intervals. Her eyelids are no longer fused shut, and she is sensitive to light. Her eyebrows and eyelashes are also starting to grow.
Baby’s Size: 34.6 cm, 660 g (weight of head of cauliflower).
To Do: If you will be working outside of the home, it is a good idea to start thinking about childcare now. Visit with several different providers before choosing.
The baby is about 14.5 inches long and weighs over two pounds . The baby’s skin is wrinkled from floating in water and will remain this way until a few weeks after the baby is born when the skin slowly stretches out. The retina develops normal layers which later help in the reception of light images. These layers receive light and images and transmit the information to the brain for interpretation. The membrane that used to cover your baby’s eyes will separate at this stage to form eyelids. A new visual discovery begins for the baby and the baby’s eyes are mostly blue at this stage. They will change into their true color some time after birth.
The baby also develops a waking and sleeping pattern which might not be the same as your cycle. Some experts believe that the baby begins to dream by the 28th week. No one knows what they dream about but the brain remains active and the characteristic grooves on the brain surface start appearing with the development of more brain tissues. You might experience the baby hiccupping quite frequently now as the baby’s lungs are maturing and the baby is learning to breathe normally.
Changes with your body
Your body will need extra calories of about 300 to 350 calories per day. You will be gaining weight from now until the 36th or 37th week. This is not the time to diet. Eating a healthy and balanced diet will help you to gain the right amount of weight to keep your baby healthy. If the weight you are gaining is too much or too little, you can discuss this with your medical practitioner.
As the uterus grows, it puts pressure on the rib cage and prevents your lungs from expanding sufficiently. This can lead to breathing problems or shortness of breath. However, this is not a cause for concern. Being in the third trimester, you must be aware of the signs of premature labor which are more common in the summer months due to dehydration in some women. So make sure that you drink a lot of water in the last three months to avoid premature delivery. The signs to look out for would be bright red blood coming from the vagina, sudden gush of watery discharge from your vagina, intensive pain in the pelvic region, dull backache in the lower areas, severe cramps or contractions lasting for more than an hour, swelling or puffiness of the hands and face, pain while urinating or sharp and prolonged pain in the abdomen.
What to expect
By this time, you will feel quite a lot of movement with your baby such as hiccupping or kicking. Many women find these movements very comforting as they consider this to be a good sign of the pregnancy. It also serves to strengthen the bond between the mother and baby. If there are no signs of movement it does not mean that something is wrong as it could be a case of your abdomen having more fat or muscle than usual. However, if the baby was active earlier and seems less active now, you should consult your doctor.
You might be experiencing the other late-stage pregnancy symptoms such as round ligament pain, constipation, frequent urination, leg cramps and backaches which are common. However, if you are detected with high blood pressure or hypertension, it could be a sign of preeclampsia. The exact reasons for this occurring are not known but the placenta is not able to grow appropriate blood vessels through the uterine wall to sustain the pregnancy. This occurs in only 5% of the cases and can range from mild to severe. There are other signs to look out for along with the above mentioned such as sudden weight gain, swelling of the hands and feet, blood clotting, severe headaches, vision problems, abdominal pain, breathing problems or a reduction in the need to urinate. Depending on the severity of the problem one can be treated with medication to prevent seizures and the condition will disappear after delivery. If you were found to be Rh negative earlier in the pregnancy you will be tested for Rh antibodies this week and would be required to take an anti-D injection which would be repeated in the 36th week to combat the incompatibility.