Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Third Trimester of Pregnancy – What to expect and know

Third Trimester of Pregnancy is from week 28 through week 40 (months 7 through 9). This trimester is when your unborn baby (fetus) is growing very fast. At the end of the ninth month, the unborn baby is about 20 inches in length. It weighs about 6–10 pounds.

Follow these instructions at home:


  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your doctor. Some medicines are safe and some medicines are not safe during pregnancy.
  • Take a prenatal vitamin that contains at least 600 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid.
  • If you have trouble pooping (constipation), take medicine that will make your stool soft (stool softener) if your doctor approves.

Eating and drinking

  • Eat regular, healthy meals.
  • Avoid raw meat and uncooked cheese.
  • If you get low calcium from the food you eat, talk to your doctor about taking a daily calcium supplement.
  • Eat four or five small meals rather than three large meals a day.
  • Avoid foods that are high in fat and sugars, such as fried and sweet foods.
  • To prevent constipation:
    • Eat foods that are high in fiber, like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
    • Drink enough fluids to keep your pee (urine) clear or pale yellow.


  • Exercise only as told by your doctor. Stop exercising if you start to have cramps.
  • Avoid heavy lifting, wear low heels, and sit up straight.
  • Do not exercise if it is too hot, too humid, or if you are in a place of great height (high altitude).
  • You may continue to have sex unless your doctor tells you not to.

Relieving pain and discomfort

  • Wear a good support bra if your breasts are tender.
  • Take frequent breaks and rest with your legs raised if you have leg cramps or low back pain.
  • Take warm water baths (sitz baths) to soothe pain or discomfort caused by hemorrhoids. Use hemorrhoid cream if your doctor approves.
  • If you develop puffy, bulging veins (varicose veins) in your legs:
    • Wear support hose or compression stockings as told by your doctor.
    • Raise (elevate) your feet for 15 minutes, 3–4 times a day.
    • Limit salt in your food.


  • Wear your seat belt when driving.
  • Make a list of emergency phone numbers, including numbers for family, friends, the hospital, and police and fire departments.

Preparing for your baby’s arrival

To prepare for the arrival of your baby:

  • Take prenatal classes.
  • Practice driving to the hospital.
  • Visit the hospital and tour the maternity area.
  • Talk to your work about taking leave once the baby comes.
  • Pack your hospital bag.
  • Prepare the baby’s room.
  • Go to your doctor visits.
  • Buy a rear-facing car seat. Learn how to install it in your car.

General instructions

  • Do not use hot tubs, steam rooms, or saunas.
  • Do not use any products that contain nicotine or tobacco, such as cigarettes and e-cigarettes. If you need help quitting, ask your doctor.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Do not douche or use tampons or scented sanitary pads.
  • Do not cross your legs for long periods of time.
  • Do not travel for long distances unless you must. Only do so if your doctor says it is okay.
  • Visit your dentist if you have not gone during your pregnancy. Use a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. Be gentle when you floss.
  • Avoid cat litter boxes and soil used by cats. These carry germs that can cause birth defects in the baby and can cause a loss of your baby (miscarriage) or stillbirth.
  • Keep all your prenatal visits as told by your doctor. This is important.

Contact a doctor if:

  • You are not sure if you are in labor or if your water has broken.
  • You are dizzy.
  • You have mild cramps or pressure in your lower belly.
  • You have a nagging pain in your belly area.
  • You continue to feel sick to your stomach, you throw up, or you have watery poop.
  • You have bad smelling fluid coming from your vagina.
  • You have pain when you pee.

Get help right away if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You are leaking fluid from your vagina.
  • You are spotting or bleeding from your vagina.
  • You have severe belly cramps or pain.
  • You lose or gain weight quickly.
  • You have trouble catching your breath and have chest pain.
  • You notice sudden or extreme puffiness (swelling) of your face, hands, ankles, feet, or legs.
  • You have not felt the baby move in over an hour.
  • You have severe headaches that do not go away with medicine.
  • You have trouble seeing.
  • You are leaking, or you are having a gush of fluid, from your vagina before you are 37 weeks.
  • You have regular belly spasms (contractions) before you are 37 weeks.


  • The third trimester is from week 28 through week 40 (months 7 through 9). This time is when your unborn baby is growing very fast.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice about medicine, food, and activity.
  • Get ready for the arrival of your baby by taking prenatal classes, getting all the baby items ready, preparing the baby’s room, and visiting your doctor to be checked.
  • Get help right away if you are bleeding from your vagina, or you have chest pain and trouble catching your breath, or if you have not felt your baby move in over an hour.

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