Third Trimester

Weeks 28-42

What is happening to me?

You may be experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms of pregnancy. Please refer to COMMON PREGNANCY DISCOMFORTS for helpful suggestions.

  • Occasional abdominal pain and tightening (Braxton-Hicks contractions)
  • Stronger fetal movement
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Swelling of hands and feet
  • Itchy abdomen
  • Frequent urination
  • Colostrum (leaking from nipples)
  • Increasing back and leg aches
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Navel or belly button sticking out

This is a period of rapid growth.  At the start of the third trimester the baby is approximately 14 inches long.  Your baby will continue to develop and prepare for like outside of the womb. By the 9th month, your baby will settle into position for birth.  At full term, your baby will be approximately 18-21 inches long and 6-9 pounds.

Warning Signs

Please call our office if you experience any of the following:

  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Leaking of watery fluid
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Severe or persistent abdominal pain
  • Trauma to the abdomen
  • Pelvic pressure, low back pain, menstrual-like cramping or abdominal pain before 37 weeks in pregnancy
  • Visual disturbance resulting in a sudden loss of part of you vision
  • Persistent or severe headache unrelieved by Tylenol or a headache accompanied by blurred vision, slurred speech or numbness
  • Severe or sudden swelling of the face.
  • Persistent leg cramp or swelling of just one leg much greater than the other
  • Difficulty breathing or chest pain

Additional Testing

Group B Strep Screening

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a bacteria that may be present in up to 40% of women. The most common sites affected are the rectum, vagina, and urinary tract. While GBS is not harmful to the pregnant woman, it may cause infections in newborn infants. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends to screen all pregnant women for detection of GBS at 35-36 weeks gestation.  If you are positive for GBS or have a history of GBS sepsis or GBS bladder infection, you will receive IV antibiotics during labor to decrease the rate of transmission of GBS to the baby. If your testing is negative, no further intervention is needed.  

Non Stress Test (NST)

NSTs are external electronic monitoring of the fetal heart rate.  Two discs rest on the abdomen, one picks up the fetal heart rate, the other notes contractions.  With this test we are looking for normal and abnormal variations in heart rate.  This test is usually done in the last 8 weeks of pregnancy and is conducted in our office and occasionally at the hospital.

Biophysical Profile (BPP)

A BPP is an ultrasound to evaluate fetal movement, fetal tone, fetal breathing and the amount of amniotic fluid.  It can be combined with an NST.  This may be used to obtain fetal reassurance in a high risk pregnancy or in the case of decreased fetal movement.

Your provider may recommend additional testing if you are experiencing complications, have pre existing medical problems, or have multiple gestation.