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Your guide to the third trimester of pregnancy

Your guide to the third trimester of pregnancy

D-day isn't too far away now! We have all you need to know about the final months of pregnancy, from nausea in the third trimester to the nesting instinct and your growing bump

When does the third trimester start?
You may experience third-trimester symptoms from week 29 until you're 40 weeks pregnant, although you could give birth before or after the 40-week point. While it's exciting to get everything ready for your baby, be sure to relax and enjoy your maternity leave, too.

What to expect in the third trimester
In the final months of pregnancy, you may feel tired and be out of breath. Plus, your growing bump and your baby pushing on your bladder could mean you find it difficult to sleep. You could try using a pregnancy pillow (a long pillow you can wrap under your bump and between your legs) to get comfortable. Avoid drinking too much fluid in the few hours before bed, to ease the pressure on your bladder.

While it's right to take things down a gear, you might find a surprising source of energy in the form of nesting. This isn't a myth or an excuse to stay at home. This primal urge can kick in around week 37, turning you into a multitasking domestic goddess.

Nausea in the third trimester
Feeling sick in the later weeks of pregnancy can be a surprise symptom for some women. It could be happening for a number of reasons. Your baby's growing, so all your organs, including your stomach, are getting squashed upwards, and you feel full quickly.

However, because of your growing baby and your relaxing muscles, heartburn is also common and can cause nausea and vomiting.

If you've got nausea, along with severe headaches, swelling of the feet, hands or face, pain just below the ribs or vision problems, contact your GP or midwife straight away. This could be pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy condition that needs to be monitored.

How your body changes in the last trimester
Your bump is showing – and growing – and you may find it changes shape, depending on your baby's position. Some women also get a fine dark line running down the length of the bump called the linea nigra. Caused by hormones, it should disappear after the birth.

Don't worry if you find you're leaking a little. Your breasts may start producing the first milk, which is called colostrum. Putting nursing pads into your maternity bra will soak this up.

And don't be surprised if you get the pregnancy ‘waddle', thanks to your bump throwing your centre of gravity out and your pelvis getting into position for birth. If it becomes painful to walk or you have pain in your pelvic area, talk to your midwife in case you have symphysis pubis dysfunction, better known as SPD.

What to eat in the last trimester
Now you're in your last trimester, it's time to eat a little more – you can have an extra 200 calories a day.

As your baby gets bigger and pushes onto your stomach, you'll find you feel full more quickly, so eat little and often.

How to stay active in the third trimester
You might find that keeping up with your regular exercise routine is difficult in the last few months of pregnancy. Instead of giving up altogether, make a few changes. Do your pregnancy yoga, for example, but avoid poses that are tricky with a big bump. Make sure you keep the relaxation part.

Working gentle walks into your day is also a great way to stay active in the final weeks.

The third trimester is also about getting yourself mentally and emotionally ready for a new stage in your life. Make sure you take time to rest, relax, and enjoy life with your partner, friends and family.

By Rachel Liddle

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