Third Trimester

Youíre almost there! Your last trimester will be all about getting ready for the arrival of your little one. Now is the time to learn more about breastfeeding and labor and delivery. St. Francis has classes about these topics, and our Lactation Center offers prenatal breast assessment so you can prepare even before your new baby arrives.

Your Health in the Third Trimester (Weeks 28-40)

As your baby continues to grow, so does your belly! During the third trimester you may have developed stretch marks as well as difficulty finding a comfortable position, especially when lying down. Your growing baby pushes your abdominal organs up under your diaphragm and compresses your bladder and colon, which can lead to heartburn, frequent urination and constipation.

As you approach your due date, it can be tempting to wish away the final weeks of pregnancy. But it's important for your baby's development that he or she stays put. Read the Top 40 Reasons to Go the Full 40 Weeks and learn about our policy on elective inductions.

Around week 30, your doctor will probably start scheduling your appointments every two weeks until week 36, at which point you will probably have a weekly appointment. At these appointments, your doctor will continue to monitor your blood pressure, weight and urine for signs of preeclampsia. He also will continue to check your baby's heartbeat, growth and position.

As you near delivery day, ask your doctor to tell you about the signs of early labor and when he or she wants you to report to the hospital. Learn more about preparing for Delivery Day. Also let your physician know your feelings about pain management so you can develop a pain management plan together.

Your Growing Baby

During the third trimester, you baby is putting on weight - about 1/2 pound per week. This weight will help him regulate body temperature once he is outside the womb. He is also practicing many of the functions he will use as a newborn - he can blink, suck, swallow and even urinate.

Illustration of fetal development in the third trimester


Mom's To-Do List

  • Pack your bag for the hospital. View our list of suggested items to bring.
  • Review the services offered by our Lactation Center and purchase a nursing bra.
  • Select a Pediatrician. Your pediatrician will visit your newborn while you are still in the hospital, so itís a good idea to start looking for one now. Start by asking for recommendations from your obstetrician and from other moms. Once you have a few options, consider visiting their office to make sure the location is convenient, that you are comfortable with their office policies and staff, and that they are covered by your insurance plan.
  • Attend any classes for which you have registered.
  • Make sure you have a properly installed car seat. South Carolina law requires that babies be restrained in safety seats while in the car. Itís best to select and install a car seat a few weeks prior to your due date, then make an appointment at a local fitting station to ensure that the seat is installed properly.