Week by Week

The Third Trimester - Why Is It Crucial?

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le.

A pregnancy is divided into three trimesters. The third one starts from week 28 and your baby is considered full term at week 39. This time can be very challenging for both the expectant mother and her baby because:

First, your baby is doing some serious development

Yes, you will realize that in the third trimester, you have tons of things to do, from handing over at work to finalizing the hospital arrangement. Plus, this time your belly becomes bigger and you are less willing to move around. But do you know that your baby is also doing some serious work of their own inside?
At the start of the third trimester, your baby’s organs are fully formed but they have not matured enough to function on their own. The final term of pregnancy is for your baby’s organs such as the brain, lungs, eyes, heart, and others to develop completely. Your baby’s eyes open at the start of the third trimester. In the next week, their bones will be fully developed. At week 31, the central nervous system of your baby can begin to control the body temperature. Thirty-two weeks into your pregnancy, certain proteins called surfactants are produced. This helps prevent the lungs from collapsing and let your baby practice breathing. A week later, your baby can sense light entering his or her eyes because their pupils will be able to constrict and dilate since then.

At week 35, your baby is gaining weight rapidly. His or her limbs are becoming chubby. Two weeks later, your baby is considered early term. The organs are ready to function for independent living. Tha baby’s head might start descending into your pelvis. (If not, please talk to your doctor for advice). Then, at week 38, your baby’s toenails grow and reach the tips of his or her toes (the fingernails have grown since one month before). In final weeks, your baby’s brain can weigh about 400 grams and will continue to grow after birth. During this time, the brain’s smooth surface also becomes more grooved and indented.

It is also in the last trimester that the placenta supplies the baby with antibodies and important nutrients which will help fight infection and support them after birth. To sum up, premature babies will have lots of crucial developments compromised in the third trimester.

Expectant mothers’ challenging time, both physically and emotionally

Your baby is growing rapidly during the third trimester. This can lead to more fetal movements. Notice that every baby has a different pattern of waking or sleeping. During this time, a pregnant woman may also experience backaches, pain, and swollen ankles while carrying her baby around. She might feel anxious about her delivery as well.

If you are pregnant, you should be aware of each symptom and call your doctor immediately if you have one of these problems: extreme pain, swelling, bleeding at any time, gaining weight rapidly or feeling your baby is less active than before.
As we’ve discussed, you should have lots of things to finish off in this trimester such as creating a birth plan or buying clothes for the newborn. Don’t forget to eat well, massage your bump, get more sleep and talk to your baby as well.


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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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