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The Third Trimester Challenges and Joys: What to Expect

    The third and final trimester of pregnancy may seem like the longest one. I decided to pen down what my pregnancy journey was like in the third trimester to give all the first-time mums a heads up about what they should expect and encounter.

    What Is the Third Trimester of Pregnancy?

    The third trimester is the last and final leg of the arduous journey that you embarked on months ago. Starting from week 27, and going all the way to the 40th week, the last phase is like a roller coaster ride, with many ups and downs. Your second trimester of pregnancy has ended and the most eventful one has begun.

    While your anticipation is at an all-time high to finally meet the little one that is in there, you also go through bouts of anxiety regarding everything that is imminent.

    What Is The Third Trimester of Pregnancy?

    At the end of the third trimester, you will go into labor and most probably deliver your baby in the 40th week. Although I have seen many women deliver before or after the 40th week. There have been a few cases where women have delivered in the 41st or 42nd week as well.

    However, if you are on the 42nd week and haven’t delivered, it would be best to meet with your ob-gyn.

    Babies that are born between the 37th to 42nd week are called ‘full-term’ babies. Full-term means that your baby is ready to meet the world and if you start having labor pains in this time, that’s completely OK.

    Babies delivered before 37 weeks are considered ‘pre-term‘ and that is also mostly fine, it’s just that they need more time inside your belly and the doctors would want to be extra careful with them. Your doctors and nurses will be guiding you every step of the way, so you don’t need to worry.

    What Happens During the Third Trimester?

    The third trimester starts in the 7th month of your pregnancy and ends when your pregnancy turns into labor, in the 9th month. The third trimester is almost paradoxical, where you feel so much is happening and things are changing so rapidly, that you can’t seem to wrap your head around it.

    On the other hand, it’s as if time stops, and is moving sluggishly. You’ve been in this state for so long that it seems like this journey won’t ever end, but it eventually does.

    During the third trimester, your bump starts growing in full throttle. Your body changes so much that sometimes, you won’t be able to recognize yourself in the mirror. You know it’s you, but you just can’t fathom the concept of you being in this state.

    What Happens During the Third Trimester?

    Your baby remains active throughout the course of the third trimester, till the 9th month and then the movement lessens as the baby has grown considerably and does not have much space to move around. You might see a leg or the baby’s head protruding from underneath the skin and you can caress them to know it’s all real.

    The third trimester would be a good time to start and complete your baby shopping. Make sure you make a list of all baby essentials that you might need, and start shopping early on to manage your finances as well because if you don’t know what to buy, you’ll end up splurging every dime on baby clothes (they are just too adorable).

    Friends and family will probably also chip in their ideas of what they are gifting you and don’t think that you’re being shameless, ask them openly and wholeheartedly if they are planning on giving a certain gift so that you may not buy it.

    Apart from all these positives that you should look forward to, there are a few inconveniences about to come your way too, and the best way to deal with them is to acknowledge them and be prepared.

    Anxiety & Restlessness

    Anxiety and restlessness are at an all-time high during the third trimester. There is just so much anxiety that builds up inside of you, so much pressure regarding everything that is about to happen; the process of labor, the delivery, taking care of your child, etc.

    Anxiety, and added body weight also result in shortness of breath and you could feel suffocated at times. The best way to curb restlessness and anxiety is to indulge in things that calm you down; yoga, listening to music, praying, exercising, having comfort food or organic pregnancy tea, or anything else that may divert your mind.


    Insomnia is a common sleep disorder that causes you to have problems falling asleep. Insomnia is common in the third trimester for a number of reasons:

    • The first is that you have such excessive weight, especially around your abdomen, that you have trouble turning to either side when you sleep. You are recommended not to sleep on your back, and you are suggested to lie on either side and that is not always the best position. You end up not sleeping at all.
    • The storm of thoughts in your head keeps you awake at night. During the day, you are busy with multiple things but at night, when you can only hear the clock ticking away in your room, your thoughts engulf your mind and all these thoughts prevent you from sleeping.
    • The baby becomes active at night. For some reason, many women have agreed that babies, even inside the tummy, get up and dance around at night and the mayhem being caused inside doesn’t let them sleep.

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that causes pain in your hands and fingers due to fluid retention. During pregnancy, fluid retention is common and that can cause carpal tunnel syndrome leaving you with unnecessary pain in your hands or fingers.

    Leg Cramping

    Another horror of pregnancy is leg cramping. This is a common side-effect of the third trimester of pregnancy. Your calf muscles cramp and cause immense pain, and this usually happens at night. Yes, imagine this, you are already having insomnia and sleeping is a pain in itself, and by chance, you doze off, your leg decides to cramp and you wake up screaming in pain.

    Leg cramping happens due to a change in blood circulation and because of the added weight you carry throughout the day. If this happens, ask someone, preferably your partner (YES, wake them up!) to rub your calf muscles to relax them.

    Or, just lie down straight, and try to pull your toes up towards your ankles, and this could ease the pain. Hot packs are also recommended but I’ve never seen them work.

    Round Ligament Pain

    Round ligament pain is pain caused in your pelvis and groin area because, towards the end of your pregnancy, your ligaments will start to loosen in order to make space for the baby to move out during delivery. When the ligaments start loosening, you will feel pain around your back, and pelvic area.

    Braxton Hicks

    Braxton Hicks is like the trailer of the movie. Braxton Hicks are false pains that you start getting at the end of the 8th month and throughout your 9th month. These are pains that are short and spasm-like, and don’t last too long. These prepare you for labor and give you an idea of what labor pain would be like.

    Significance of The Third Trimester

    The third trimester is no less significant than the first trimester of pregnancy or the second. You could say the significance is higher, if not the same. The third trimester is the final stage of the painstaking journey you have endured. You know it’s about to end and you want to be as prepared as you can before the baby arrives.

    Baby shower pregnancy third trimester

    During this time, your friends and family will probably throw you a baby shower. You are probably not fitting in your pre-pregnancy clothes at all and maternity clothes are your new best friend. You will probably start ‘nesting’ which is an instinct of cleaning and clearing everything before the baby arrives and you will feel more energetic and all the laziness will vanish.

    Nowadays, with the advent of technology, you can also get a 3D image of your baby through a particular ultrasound. I didn’t get it done though because it was expensive in my part of town, and I’d rather go for the real deal than look at a picture but to each, their own.

    This entire trimester, you will gear up for your delivery and your baby, so make the most of your time. This is also a good time to make a bag for the hospital, one for you and one for the baby because in most cases, labor pains could start any time and you don’t want to go to the hospital unprepared.

    What Happened During My Third Trimester of Pregnancy

    The third trimester of my pregnancy was just as eventful as described above, anything and everything that could happen to me, happened. However, my first was rather more tumultuous than my second pregnancy (I’ve had two).

    During my first pregnancy, I had all the issues that I have talked about above, but I was dealing with them in any way that I could. I was doing prenatal exercises, I was doing breathing yoga, tied pregnancy belly bands, did Kegels, and everything to keep myself composed.

     jabbing pain in my tummy

    I thought I had everything under control when I started having sharp, jabbing pain in my tummy at the end of the 8th month. I had done quite a bit of research and I thought it was Braxton Hicks, but they were consistent and Braxton Hicks don’t really have a pattern or rhythm.

    I had an appointment with my ob-gyn the following day and I discussed this with them, only to find out that I was having preterm labor. This was something I was not prepared for, my hospital bag wasn’t even ready! I was not mentally prepared for labor yet. My doctor reassured me and with due treatment and complete bed rest, it got better.

    I had to be extra cautious during my 9th month and guess what happened, I slipped in the bathroom. Trust me, I have never slipped in the bathroom. I don’t know what happened, all I know is I was getting out of the shower, and BAM! there I was, on the floor. Luckily, I somehow orchestrated my fall and held on to the walls for support and ended up slipping in slow motion (if that makes sense) and thankfully nothing happened.

    Other than that, things went well till my due date arrived.

    Needless to say, the third trimester of my second pregnancy was less happening as I already knew the side effects and was well prepared for them, and nothing unusual cropped up either.


    The third trimester is indeed paradoxical, time flies by in the blink of an eye yet it doesn’t seem to move an inch. The best way to go about your third trimester is to take things slow, manage your time, and prepare yourself; mentally and physically, for the upcoming days.