What to Expect in the Last Trimester of Pregnancy?
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What to Expect in the Last Trimester of Pregnancy?

The last trimester of your pregnancy is a special time for you and your soon-to-be born baby. During the final weeks of pregnancy, your baby develops into the child he will become. You may also experience even more physical and emotional changes during this phase of your pregnancy. Preparation for the last trimester is a key to stress reduction for you as well as any of your support people, whether they are family members or friends.

Time Frame

The last trimester of pregnancy, also called the third trimester, is defined as weeks 29 through 40, according to the Women’s Health website. By week 40, virtually all pregnant women should deliver their babies; a doctor’s attention is needed in the event of a significantly overdue delivery.

Possible Side Effects

Unfortunately, you may experience some unpleasant side effects during the last trimester of pregnancy. Heartburn, shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles or feet and hemorrhoids are all possible symptoms during the third trimester, according to Women’s Health.


Weight gain and swelling are unfortunate realities associated with pregnancy. However, if you suddenly experience significant weight gain or fluid retention, you should immediately contact a medical professional. This can indicate pre-eclampsia or toxemia, according to Women’s Health. This potentially serious medical condition can damage the kidneys and other organs; its symptoms also include high blood pressure and headache.

Your Baby’s Development

During the final trimester of pregnancy, your baby’s development significantly accelerates, according to Women’s Health. By week 32, you may notice your baby’s kicks are much more forceful; you and your support people may choose to feel the baby kicking during these final weeks of pregnancy. At 37 weeks, your baby is considered full-term even though many women won’t deliver until the 40th week of pregnancy.


As you embark on this home stretch of your pregnancy, you’ll start noticing contractions, according to Women’s Health. Many may be false signs of labor; as they become closer together, you’re usually near delivery. In the final days of your pregnancy, you may feel the baby dropping as your cervix becomes thinner in preparation for birth. You should have your doctor perform a vaginal exam as you get closer to your due date to ensure everything is in order, according to Women’s Health.


Healthy babies come in a number of shapes and sizes, according to Women’s Health. Generally, a full-term baby weighs between 6 and 9 lbs.; he is usually about 19 to 21 inches long.

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