Almost There—Your Third Trimester Playbook

Almost There—Your Third Trimester Playbook

Photo Credit: @brookearitchie

The third trimester is a time of great anticipation and excitement as your baby’s arrival approaches. It can also be a time of struggle as the effects of the increased baby weight takes its toll on your body. You should now be feeling regular fetal movements every day. And you will learn your baby’s pattern of movement. Some babies are more active at night, some more active in the morning. The increased size of your bump and movement from your baby may make sleeping more difficult at night, and also cause some additional side effects. They are all the final indicators of your soon-to-be baby and your last leg of pregnancy. Here is what to expect in your third trimester.

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Shortness of Breath

You may notice that you are feeling winded when climbing stairs or walking. This is partly due to the natural adaptation of your respiratory system to pregnancy, but also due to the pressure, your abdominal organs are putting on your diaphragm as your growing bump pushes your organs upwards.  

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Decreased Appetite

Because of that same abdominal pressure, you may also notice that you feel full faster and are unable to eat large meals. To help, eat little and often, just like you may have done in your first trimester. This will help ensure that you are still reaching your nutritional goals. In the third trimester, an additional 450 calories per day are required as the energy needs of the fetus increase.1


Swelling of the feet and legs is common in pregnancy, especially in the third trimester due to pressure from the uterus. Reduce lower limb swelling by resting with your legs elevated at or above the level of your heart. Compression socks can also be helpful when you can’t rest and have to be on your feet. If you notice rapid swelling, or if one leg is swollen or painful compared to the other, then seek medical advice straight away.

Braxton Hicks Contractions

Braxton Hicks contractions are very common in the third trimester. You may feel your belly become hard and tight for a period of seconds to a minute and then relax. This may be painless or be associated with some discomfort. And it may occur in a regular or irregular fashion. Dehydration may lead to contractions and cramping so stay hydrated, especially in the hot summer months, to reduce their frequency.2

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Braxton Hicks contractions | American pregnancy association.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Perelel.