Changes in the Fetus during Third Trimester

The Third Trimester is a vital period for the mother and child. The mother is very eager and excited about the baby. The growth of the fetus is very fast during the third trimester. The last three months is a good time to prepare for delivery. The abdomen is very firm and large and the movements of the fetus can be felt and even seen very clearly. At the end of ninth month, the position of the baby should be with its head downward, ready for delivery.

Significant changes during Third Trimester:

Seventh Month:

  • The fetus is growing very rapidly and gaining weight.
  • The space in the uterus is less and the amniotic fluid decreases.
  • The movement of the fetus can be reduced.
  • The skin of the fetus becomes smoother and thicker.
  • The fetus is asleep for most of the time in the womb of the mother.
  • At the end of seventh month, the fetus would probably weigh about 1.6 kg and its length would be about 40-42 cm.
  • If the baby is born even in this month the survival rate, with good pediatric care, is good.

Eighth Month:

  • The fetus is too big to move around much but it kicks and rolls around a lot.
  • The internal organs are well developed but the lungs are still developing.
  • The mother can feel the heel or elbow of the fetus through the walls of the abdomen.
  • The skin of the fetus is less wrinkled, glowing and translucent as there is a thin layer of fat forming under the skin.
  • Nails grow at the tips of his fingers and toes.
  • The weight gain for the next four weeks is about 28 gm daily.
  • The fetus may about weigh 2.5 kg and its length may be about 46 cm.

Ninth Month and After:

  • This is the period which is described as “full term” ie when the baby should be born.
  • The lungs are developed and they are ready to function.
  • The position of the fetus is head down and the fetus rests in the lower part of the uterus, at the mother’s lower abdomen.
  • The first stool, meconium, which is dark tar colored, gathers in the intestines of the fetus.
  • The fetus receives anti-bodies from the placenta as the immune system of the fetus is very poor.
  • Vernix and lanugo are found all over the body.
  • At the end of ninth month, the fetus weighs 2.5 kg or more.
  • The length of the fetus can be around 46 cm.

Normal symptoms in Third Trimester:

You may experience certain symptoms which are normal during the third trimester of your pregnancy. They include:

  • Back pain.
  • Braxton Hicks contractions which are “practice” contractions that do not open the cervix.
  • Constipation.
  • Hand pain usually at the wrist called the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Difficulty in sleeping, usually because of the added weight of baby and the clumsy shape of the abdomen.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Mild swelling in the legs.
  • Hand pain and numbness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Pelvic ache and hip pain.

Signs that labor has begun:

  • The fetus settles in the pelvis but this is usually not felt by the mother.
  • Cervix becomes thin and begins to open.
  • Contractions become stronger and very frequent.
  • Cramping pain near the groin or rectum
  • Before labor starts amniotic fluid starts leaking.
  • When these symptoms occur go to the hospital immediately.

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