What is important to know for the 3rd trimester of my pregnancy?

Dr. Deborah Raines, MSN
Nursing Specialist

At 33 weeks the fetus is completely formed and is maturing the pulmonary system in preparation for breathing. This is a good time to take a tour of the maternity unit at the hospital or you may be attending childbirth classes. Prenatal care continues to monitor maternal health as well as evaluating fetal well-being and looking for signs of premature labor.

During the third trimester, it is important to know the following things:

  • Your baby’s brain is developing at this time.
  • Your baby’s bones are getting harder as well, so make sure to consume enough iron, protein and calcium to help them grow.
  • Folic acid and vitamin C are still important supplements to take.
  • Your baby’s movements will be more forceful and noticeable. Do not be concerned. However, call your doctor if your baby is moving less than 10 times in two hours.
  • Changes in vaginal discharge and breasts are normal as your body prepares for birth.
  • Week 35 is a great time to finalize preparations for your day of delivery. The most important issues are which type of pain management you want to use, who you want with you during delivery, where you want your baby to be afterwards and which pediatrician you want to take care of your newborn.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions are normal and not serious. But be aware of them. They are going to get stronger.
  • If you experience painful contractions that last one minute long and are five minutes apart you should call your doctor. You may be in labor if you have these contractions along with any vaginal bleeding, intense pelvic pressure or a change in vaginal discharge. (If the discharge becomes heavy or is tinged with water, mucus or blood, contact your physician.)
  • At 37 weeks, your baby is considered full-term.
  • A slowdown of activity after week 37 could mean your baby is naturally restricted in the womb, or it could indicate something more serious. Ask your doctor about any changes you sense in your baby's movements.

Above all, be sure to follow your doctor’s orders and stay healthy during this time of important development.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.