Specific instructions and Care during 3rd Trimester

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Dr. Manu Lakshmi

18 Nov 2020

Care during 3rd trimester

From fertilization of the egg in the womb to the delivery of the baby, normal time taken by the foetus to grow inside the womb is around 280 days. That is about 40 weeks. Third trimester in pregnancy is counted from 28th week till delivery. Usually, during the third trimester of pregnancy, a woman undergoes emotional and physically challenging times.

What a woman can expect during her 3rd trimester of pregnancy?

  1. As the weight of the baby increases, she may feel pain, swelling in ankles and foot etc
  2. Increased movement of the baby
  3. Occasional tightening of the uterus – this condition is called Braxton – Hicks contractions. This is not harmful and nothing to worry about.
  4. Heartburn
  5. Tender breasts that sometimes may leak watery milk
  6. Difficulty sleeping

What are the physical developments of the baby during the third trimester of pregnancy?

  1. By 32 weeks in pregnancy, the bones of the baby are fully formed.
  2. The baby will be able to open and close his/her eyes and see translucent light.
  3. By 36th week, the baby should be in head down position. If this doesn’t happen, the mode of delivery may be through a surgery rather than vaginal.
  4. By the end of 37th week, baby’s organs start to function independently. Length of the baby will be around 19 to 21 inches and the weight can vary from 2.7 to 4 kilograms.

You should be seeing your gynaecologist more often as your delivery date nears. Group B Strep Test is a test that is done to test the bacterium levels in your body. This bacterium is harmful for the baby and if it is found in excess, antibiotics will be prescribed by your doctor.

Do’s and Don’ts during your third trimester of pregnancy

  1. You need to stay active. If you are inactive and sit or lie down for longer periods, you legs and ankles may swell. You can take a walk in the morning and evening and also perform simple exercises as prescribed by your gynaecologists. This not only helps you manage weight but also helps in smoother delivery of the baby by relaxing and strengthening your pelvic muscles.
  2. Drink lots of water, eat fresh fruits and vegetables. In all, you need to eat nutritious foods that can help in the growth of your baby.
  3. Eating for 2 people is a myth – don’t over eat. You need to eat only an additional of 300 calories per day. Over eating will add weight to your body, can add fat around your belly, stretches the skin over your tummy in excess leading to more stretch marks and in some cases, normal delivery may become difficult.
  4. Maintain good dental hygiene. Brush your teeth after eating your food. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water or a mouth wash. Bad dental hygiene can result in premature labour.
  5. Get good sleep.
  6. Avoid travel at all costs during the third trimester. Short distance travels are ok but long distance travels and flight journeys must be avoided. If you have to travel for longer periods, it is better to take advice from your gynaecologist. Many flights do not allow pregnant woman who are expecting their delivery in a few weeks. Prolonged sitting can result in blood clotting, expose you to infections and in worst cases, can lead to miscarriage.
  7. Avoid drinking tap water, unpasteurized milk, half cooked meat or vegetables. You must eat well cooked vegetables and meat only.
  8. Movement of the baby is very important during the third trimester of pregnancy. If you feel that the baby is moving less frequently or stopped completely, you must contact your gynaecologist immediately. Typically, a healthy baby should move from 7 to 10 times in an hour.
  9. Your body doesn’t feel good when you sleep on your back typically. You should not be sleeping on your back because; the weight of the uterus will stop the blood flow to the uterus and to the baby. Lie down on to your left side. (Even if you are not pregnant, sleeping on to your left side is advised because of the position of your stomach). In case of pregnant women, sleeping / lying down on your left side are advised because the uterus naturally rotates to the right.
  10. You can go for cryopreservation of the umbilical cord blood after the baby is born, if you want to. This will be useful only when there is a requirement of stem cells for the baby or the family members. However, the odds of the requirement of stem cells are very less and it is purely a choice than a need.
  11. You must avoid smoking, alcohol and stressful exercises
  12. Avoid eating raw fish, shark, swordfish, mackerel, white snapper fish because they contain higher amounts of mercury.
  13. If you see spotting of blood any time during the third trimester or feel frequent and painful contractions, sudden weight gain or weight loss, rush to your gynaecologist immediately.

Prepare your home and mind to welcome the baby. Before you leave to the hospital for delivery, set up your home, kitchen / food, bed etc ready so that you can readily rest yourself and the baby after returning home with the baby. 


  1. http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/getting-ready/make-home-safe.html
  2. http://www.northshore.org/obstetrics-gynecology/pregnancy/third-trimester/
  3. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/air-travel-during-pregnancy/faq-20058087
  4. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pregnant-travelers
  5. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/sleeping-the-trimesters-3rd-trimester
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