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Pregnancy & ChildbirthWellness & PreventionTreatment & Care

Your Pregnancy : Third Trimester

Expectant mothers entering their third trimester often experience conflicting emotions - an eagerness for the baby's arrival may be tempered by a lack of confidence in her abilities as a mother. In other words, mothers in the third trimester can be quite jittery. Remember, being informed eases anxiety.

The third trimester, lasting from week 27 through delivery (which usually occurs during weeks 40-42), is marked by some aches and pains, but not too much to keep you from remaining active.

During one of your prenatal visits close to 28 weeks, your physician will conduct a glucose tolerance test to check for gestational diabetes.

After approximately the 29th week, your physician may change the schedule of your prenatal visits from monthly to every two weeks. After approximately the 36th week, your prenatal visits may be scheduled once every week. This schedule will depend upon your medical condition, the growth and development of the fetus, and your physician's preference.

Toward the later weeks of the pregnancy (started at approximately the 36th week), a pelvic examination will be performed to determine the dilation and effacement of the cervix. Your physician will also ask about Braxton-Hicks contractions (false labor contractions) and discuss labor and delivery procedures.

Your Baby

At 35 weeks, your baby is about 16 inches long and weighs about five pounds. At this point, the baby is ready for the world. The survival rate of babies born at 35 weeks is 99 percent.

You may notice a decrease in fetal movement as you near the end of pregnancy. While this is not necessarily cause for alarm, as less room in the uterus allows for less movement, you should alert your doctor if you notice an abrupt decrease in activity.

Preparing for Your Childbirth

As the due date draws near, it's common for women to begin to fear delivery. The average for a first pregnancy is about 12-14 hours. During the third trimester, it is a good idea to start taking childbirth classes in preparation for the big day, especially in the case of first pregnancies.

Our online childbirth class, Understanding Birth e-Class, is ideal for those expectant parents who can’t attend an on-site childbirth class.

If you have not done so already, you will need to find the right pediatrician for you. Personal preference plays an important role in finding the right pediatrician for you and your new baby. We’ve put together a short list of things to consider when choosing a pediatrician.

It is important for you to be prepared and take an active part in your recovery. Plan ahead on what to bring to the hospital for your hospital stay.

The third trimester is not the easiest phase of pregnancy, but it is the most rewarding, for it results in the arrival of your precious little child! Don’t forget to rest and pamper yourself to get ready for the big day.

View Woman's Labor and Delivery Virtual Tour >>

Breastfeeding

In your third trimester, you are just about ready to hold your baby in your arms after waiting all these months. Be prepared to begin breastfeeding your baby during your hospital stay. Read More [pdf] >

OB EXPRESS Registration

We call a part of our process for registering maternity patients "OB Express." Once your baby’s arrival is drawing near, about a month to a month and a half before your due date, come to Woman’s Hospital to complete your registration and sign consent forms. Registering before your hospital stay will speed up your admission when you are in labor.

You can complete your OB EXPRESS registration at two different locations: our Outpatient Lab in the Physician Office Building, or Admitting on the first floor of the hospital.

Important: When you come to register, bring your current insurance or medical card, as well as your driver’s license or another form of picture identification. Please be prepared to pay any co-payment or deductible required by your insurance carrier at this time. Woman’s Hospital accepts cash, checks, and all major credit cards. Also, bring any Advanced Directives that you have.