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Third Third Trimester of Pregnancy Ė Week by Week

Youíve finally made it through the nausea and fatigue of the first trimester and the busy nesting of the second trimester. Now itís time to sit back and relax and await the coming of your baby. But as this last trimester of your pregnancy passes, you may have many questions about what pain and discomfort is normal and what may present a problem that you need to discuss with your doctor.

Throughout the first two trimesters, you likely saw your doctor once per month or every four weeks. This is true of most pregnancies, unless there are complications or risk factors present. During the third trimester of pregnancy, youíll likely see your doctor once every two weeks until four weeks before your due date, when visits will be scheduled once each week. The increased visits are to ensure that the baby is developing normally and that youíre staying healthy. It also gives the doctor a chance to monitor how things are coming along, and if thereís any chance of a premature birth.

Week twenty-seven and twenty-eight will bring more development for the brain and lungs for your baby. Youíll also experience some breathlessness as the baby grows and your abdomen pushes toward your lungs. By the end of this time, your baby will have developed enough to be able to hear sounds from within the womb.

By week thirty-one, your baby can easily survive a premature birth. Most of its internal development is complete, and it will now only be gaining weight and size and becoming stronger and healthier. The baby will shed its first layer of hair, start blinking and begin preparations for entering the world at this time.

The rest of your trimester will be a trial. The baby will continue to grow in size and weight, putting pressure on your abdomen, your back and possibly your lungs. Youíll have to urinate much more frequently and youíll begin to feel very tired and cranky.

In week thirty-six, if not sooner, your baby will drop into position to enter the birth canal. This will give you some relief in your lungs and chest, but will make things much worse for you in the pelvic region. You may also start to experience some cramping in your legs as the baby pushes down on your lower regions. Try to stay off of your feet as much as possible at this time.

In week thirty-eight, your doctor may perform one last sonogram to ensure that the baby is the proper position in the birth canal. There are many measures that can be taken if your baby is in the breech position. The babyís position may be changed by pushing and prodding the outside the womb through your abdomen. If this isnít possible, arrangements can be made for a caesarean birth. This is much easier to handle if itís known before you go into labor.

By week thirty-nine, your baby should be at least seven pounds, give or take. Some babies will be larger and others smaller. Your baby could come at any time, so be prepared! Head for the hospital if your water breaks, you have a sudden, constant leak of fluid as if your water is broken or if you have contractions no more than five minutes apart consistently for one hour or more. Any one of these clues could be present to let you know that youíre in labor and itís time for the baby to be born.

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