The Third Trimester of Pregnancy – What to expect


The third trimester of pregnancy is a time like no other, filled with a mix of emotions, physical changes, and a sense of anticipation that grows with each passing day. This is the time when all the months of careful preparation finally come together, and we can’t help but count down the days until our little bundle of joy arrives.


During this final stretch, there’s so much going on. Our nesting instincts kick in big time, and we start getting serious about planning for our little one’s arrival.  We’re setting up the nursery, stocking up on nappies, and making sure everything is just right.


The third trimester is where it all comes together—the beginning of new adventures and the start of the beautiful journey of motherhood. 


When does the third trimester actually start?


The third trimester of pregnancy typically begins around week 28 and lasts until the moment your little one arrives, which is usually around week 40 or later.


What to expect in the third trimester of pregnancy – Your Baby


During the last few months, your little one goes through some exciting changes to get ready for their life out in the real world!

Rapid growth 

Your baby experiences a substantial increase in size and weight during the last trimester. They will continue to gain fat, which helps in regulating body temperature after birth.

Organs mature

Organs such as the lungs, liver, and brain undergo further development and maturation. The lungs, in particular, become more capable of breathing independently.

Sensory development

Your baby’s senses become more refined. They can now hear sounds from the outside world and may respond to familiar voices or music. Their eyes are also developing, and they can distinguish between light and dark.

Movement and position

Your baby’s movements become more coordinated and deliberate. They may respond to touch and pressure, and you may feel them shifting positions frequently as they prepare for birth.

Immune system 

Your baby’s immune system continues to strengthen during the last trimester. They receive antibodies from you, which provide some level of protection against infections after birth.


As the lungs mature, your baby will practice breathing movements. You may notice rhythmic hiccups, which are a normal part of their lung development.

What to expect in the third trimester of pregnancy -You

Increased weight gain

You will likely continue to gain weight as your baby grows. This weight gain is important for providing nourishment and energy for both you and your baby during the last few months of pregnancy.

Expanding belly

Your belly will continue to expand as your baby grows, which may lead to feelings of tightness, stretching, and discomfort. As a result, you may need to adjust your clothing choices and find ways to support your growing belly for added comfort.

Frequent urination

As your baby takes up more space in your abdomen, it can put pressure on your bladder, leading to more frequent trips to the bathroom. This is a common occurrence during the third trimester.


As your baby grows, the added weight can strain your back and pelvis, leading to discomfort and achiness in these areas. You may find relief by practicing good posture, wearing supportive shoes, and using techniques like prenatal massage or warm compresses.


Many pregnant women experience swelling, particularly in the hands, feet, and ankles, due to increased fluid retention. Elevating your legs, avoiding standing or sitting for extended periods, and wearing comfortable shoes can help alleviate swelling.

Why should I sleep on my side in the third  trimester?

From about week 28, healthcare professionals recommend sleeping on your side.  This is mainly due to the fact that the extra weight can put pressure on the inferior vena cava, a large vein that carries blood from the lower body back to the heart. This compression can reduce blood flow to the placenta and your baby, potentially causing a decrease in oxygen and nutrients reaching the baby.

When should I finish work in my last trimester?

Depending on your job, many women can comfortably work up to 34-36 weeks of pregnancy.  If you have a particularly stressful or manual job, you may be advised to finish sooner than this.  You can officially start your maternity leave 11 weeks before your due date.


The last trimester of pregnancy is a truly remarkable time filled with anticipation and transformation. Your baby is growing and developing at an incredible rate, and your body is adapting to nurture and protect this precious life within you. It’s a period of mixed emotions, where you navigate the joys and challenges of physical changes while eagerly preparing for your little one’s arrival. Take delight in those gentle kicks and hiccups, revel in the nesting instinct as you create a cozy nursery, and find solace in the knowledge that each passing day brings you closer to meeting your baby. 


Remember to prioritize self-care, seek support from your loved ones, and maintain regular contact with your healthcare provider who will be there to guide you through the final stretch. Embrace the beauty of this unique journey as you embark on the incredible adventure of motherhood. Before you know it, you’ll be holding your precious bundle of joy in your arms, and the love and connection you feel in these final moments of pregnancy will forever remain etched in your heart.


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