As you enter the final months of your pregnancy, you also leave what many moms consider to be the best trimester of a pregnancy. Your baby’s growth in these final three months is rapid, and you will soon begin to feel like she takes up every inch of space. Often, there is some confusion about just when the third trimester starts. The American Pregnancy Association uses week 27 of gestation as the start of the third trimester.
Week 27 to Week 32
Average babies weigh 4-to-4 1/2 lbs. and measure 15-to-17 inches by the week 32 mark, reports the American Pregnancy Association. Internal organs, such as the lungs and bones, are continuing to develop. You may notice your baby has the hiccups regularly by now; you may even feel her take some practice breaths. Her eyes will open now.
Week 33 to Week 36
If your baby has not already, she will likely flip head down to prepare for birth, which can be a shocking and rather uncomfortable experience for some moms. In these last few weeks, starting now and lasting until birth, your baby will gain as much weight, or more, as she did the first eight months of pregnancy. Average babies weigh 5 3/4-to-6 3/4 pounds and are 16-to-19 inches long by the end of week 36, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Week 37 to Birth
At week 37 or week 38, depending on your doctor’s preferred definition, you will be considered full-term. Despite the hope that getting to this point means you will have your baby soon, full-term is a medical term that does not indicate when you will deliver. At full-term, your baby is considered physically mature enough to be born. Her lungs are mature enough to function without assistance outside the womb, and she is at a healthy weight for delivery. However, you may still be pregnant for several more weeks as she adds weight and continues to develop her internal organs.
Complications with Growth
Most complications with the growth of your baby would likely have already been detected by ultrasounds prior to the third trimester. One exception is secondary intrauterine growth restriction, which the American Pregnancy Association states may not be obvious until a pregnancy reaches the third trimester. In these cases, the baby’s head is of normal size, but the abdomen is smaller than normal. Your doctor may detect a potential growth problem when measuring your fundal height, the top of the uterus to pubic bone length, or on ultrasound. Once you are in the third trimester, your doctor may recommend an induction or C-section if your baby’s growth has been restricted.
Back pain, leg pain, sleepiness and just a general sluggishness can overcome you, especially as you near, or pass, the anticipated due date. Many of these problems are due to the baby getting bigger. If you find it difficult to breathe, roll over in bed or walk up the stairs, know that you are experiencing the normal strains of the third trimester that are not usually a cause for concern. However, there are some things you can do to relieve the pains and strains of carrying your ever-growing baby. Take a pregnancy water aerobics class or just hang out in a deep pool. Try sleeping in a recliner, and enlist family and friends to help with household chores.
- pregnant #9 image by Adam Borkowski from Fotolia.com