3rd trimester, 3rd trimester of pregnancy
Course of the 3rd trimester
From a medical point of view, pregnancy is divided into three roughly equal periods, the so-called trimesters. Each of these trimesters is characterised by a different stage of development of the unborn child. In addition, the expectant mother may also experience specific symptoms in each trimester of pregnancy.
From the 29th week of pregnancy onwards, one speaks of the 3rd trimester. Depending on the date of birth, this lasts until the 40th or 42nd week of pregnancy. During the 3rd trimester of pregnancy the unborn child increases significantly in size and weight.
In addition, the internal organs of the unborn child are mature enough to be considered viable. This means that the chances of survival in case of a premature birth are very high when the 3rd trimester of pregnancy is reached. Nevertheless, it can be assumed that every single day within the womb is valuable for the development of the unborn child.
In addition to the progress of the child’s development, there are also far-reaching changes in the expectant mother in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. In general it can be assumed that the organism of the expectant mother has already adapted to the needs of the growing child at the beginning of the 2nd trimester of pregnancy. For this reason, the hormone-related pregnancy symptoms in most women already decrease significantly in the 13th week of pregnancy.
The complaints that typically occur in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy are therefore usually not related to the hormonal changes of the expectant mother. On the contrary, the increasing size and weight of the child can become very difficult for the mother in the 3rd trimester. As the body gradually prepares for the forthcoming birth during this third trimester, it is recommended that the expectant mother clarify all questions concerning the birth. Women who are planning to give birth spontaneously should also remember to attend an appropriate birth preparation course, which ends about six to eight weeks before the delivery date.
Third trimester complaints
Most of the symptoms that typically occur in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy are usually not directly related to the initial hormonal changes. Nevertheless, even in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy the expectant mother may occasionally experience hormone-induced complaints. Mood swings in particular are not uncommon even in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
In some women, these mood swings in the 3rd trimester are even characterised by sudden wine attacks which have no obvious reason. Furthermore, it can be observed in the expectant mother that the abdominal girth increases significantly within this third trimester of pregnancy within days. The reason for this is the rapid increase in the size and weight of the unborn child.
Due to the steadily increasing abdominal girth, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the expectant mother to find a relaxed position for sleeping. This often results in problems falling and staying asleep. Affected women can often find relief by using a side sleeper or nursing pillow.
This can be pushed between the bent legs and thus help to relieve the abdomen and spine. As the steady growth of the child also begins to displace the mother’s internal organs, further complaints typical for the 3rd trimester of pregnancy can occur. Many women often suffer from heartburn, stomach pain and/or constipation during this part of the pregnancy.
As the child grows, the abdominal organs are pushed further and further towards the rib cage. As a result, the organs of the ribcage also become constricted. While the tip of the heart is pushed further and further towards the head, the lungs initially lose volume.
For this reason, shortness of breath and stress-related shortness of breath are also typical symptoms in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. One of the other classic complaints of this third trimester of pregnancy can be observed in many women already during the 1st trimester. If there is an increased urge to urinate at an early stage, this will increase significantly during the 3rd trimester.
The reason for this is the fact that the growing child presses ever harder on the bladder and increasingly compresses it. In addition, it happens that women are no longer able to hold their urine when there is a sudden increase in pressure in the abdomen, for example when coughing, laughing or sneezing. For this reason, unintentional urine loss is also one of the typical complaints in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy.
In addition, many expectant mothers develop back pain during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. The reason for the occurrence of this typical complaint is a combination of an increase in progesterone concentration and child growth. While the unborn child steadily increases in size and weight during the 3rd trimester, the pregnancy hormone progesterone induces the loosening of ligaments and muscles.
This process is essential for the approaching birth, but causes an increasing strain on the spine. For this reason, most women in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy suffer mainly from complaints in the lumbar spine. Furthermore, so-called exercise contractions are among the typical complaints in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy (see: Premature contractions).
However, exercise contractions do not necessarily have to be accompanied by pain. In some women, only painless contractions of the uterine muscles occur around the 28th to 34th week of pregnancy. Expectant mothers do not need to worry about the occasional occurrence of exercise contractions. A doctor or midwife should, however, be contacted urgently if these exercise contractions occur more than three times an hour or ten times a day.