The Third Trimester

The Third Trimester covers months 7 to 10, or weeks 27 to 42 if you prefer weeks. Of course for a great many mums pregnancy will go over 42 weeks to a 43+ week delivery which is absolutely fine.

So what is taking place?

Baby will be able to open her eyes, she will become more sensitive to light, sound, smell and taste, she will also be having an almighty growth spurt. During these months she will be fattening up, building and boosting her immune system, growing her finger and toenails. Finishing developing her brain, preparing her lungs, hardening her bones but keeping her skull soft and flexible for birth.

You may notice an increase in stretch marks across your stomach, breasts and thighs. It is genetics for the most part as to whether you will get many stretch marks, so take the advertising for creams and potions with a few bags of salt! Your belly button may now poke outward, it will return following the birth. You may begin to feel more Braxton Hicks which are tightenings across your stomach. I consider these to be muscular practice runs and are not associated with any discomfort. If you start to have many though take some time to be mindful about what you have been doing and if you need to sit down and rest for a while.

Your usual tests will continue, blood to check your iron and sugar levels and urine to measure your protein levels to check for pre-eclampsia. Your blood pressure will also be checked, again for pre-eclampsia. As always, tests are 'offered' and optional.

This time is all about growth and you will marvel as your stomach swells. You will feel baby very clearly and be able to see her pushing against your stomach. If you have twins or more then this can be a crazy, restless time of limbs and movement!

You will never forget these months so take the time to sit still and talk to your baby. Be thankful for this time. Yes, it may come with heartburn and swollen ankles. A sore back and stretched skin but this stage is vital for baby's health and well-being and your body is truly incredible by working alongside this growth.

Don't waste the last few weeks of pregnancy worrying about due dates. Induction of birth being offered as standard care is both complicated and generally unnecessary. Develop patience and understanding for your unborn baby. They will let you know when they are ready to be born.

If you find yourself curious remember that there may be a genetic link to birth arrival dates. So ask your mother when you were born - can she remember?

You can immerse yourself in birth literature now your maternity leave is due. 'Ina May's Guide to Childbirth' - Ina May Gaskin, 'Inducing Labour - Making Informed Decisions' - Dr Sara Wickham, 'Why Homebirth Matters' - Natalie Meddings, 'Why Hypnobirthing Matters' - Katrina Berry.... Could all be on your book list.

And enjoy your ante-natal classes. Make lots of heavily pregnant friends, the friends you make now may well remain friends for life.