By the twenty eighth week (Third Trimester), baby’s eyes start to open, as development of the skin, skeleton, nervous system, and respiratory system continue. Babies who are born preterm as early as this have a good chance of surviving without any long term effects. By the thirty fifth week, baby starts to add on more weight and this causes the uterus to grow bigger.
From the end of the thirty seventh week, baby is now at term, and is ready to be born. In readiness for delivery, the baby starts to descend into the pelvis. Baby continues to grow and develop up till the time of birth. It is normal for a baby to be born a week or two before the due date. Try to get all your shopping and preparations for baby done as early as possible, so that you are not stressed out at this time.
By now, you are eagerly anticipating baby’s arrival, but also trying to cope with the numerous changes your body is going through. In the third trimester, baby’s growth and weight gain mean that you are also putting on extra weight. Your breasts continue to get bigger (to prepare for breastfeeding), and your belly gets bigger too. This can cause you to feel tired a lot of the time, and you might also have backaches, swollen feet, varicose veins and heartburn.
Try to get a lot of rest, eat well, and elevate your feet if they become swollen. Braxton Hicks contractions become more common in the third trimester, and baby descending into the pelvis can make you feel some ‘heaviness’ as you approach your due date. You might notice an increased vaginal discharge, and may begin to urinate even more often, because by now baby is resting on the bladder.
At the start of the third trimester (the twenty eighth week), you will have a second dose of the drug to prevent malaria. You will also have a blood test called a Full Blood Count done, to determine what your blood level is and rule out any infections. Your antenatal visits will now hold at least every two weeks, and from the thirty sixth week you will need to be seen every week.
By this time, your doctor will discuss the type of delivery you will have, and the time of delivery (if you are going to have an induction or a planned Caesarean section). Be sure that you ask questions about anything that is not clear to you. Another Full Blood Count is done at the thirty sixth week, and your routine scans will check that baby is growing well. You might need a vaginal examination as you approach your due date to determine baby’s position and whether or not the cervix has begun to soften and dilate in preparation for Labour.