You are now one week in to the third trimester of your pregnancy! Your baby is now over 40cm in length and almost 1.36kg, about the size of a butternut squash, and yet your baby is still going to double or maybe even triple in size and weight before entering the world!
More fat is being deposited under the currently wrinkly skin, to smooth it out and plump it up, originally brown fat was being deposited to insulate your baby’s body temperature and to help keep him or her warm. Now, white fat, the type that you as an adult has, is being deposited and can be used as an energy source also.
The unappealing vernix (the waxy white substance which has been protecting your baby’s skin from the amniotic fluid) is beginning to go away, as is the soft lanugos (hair) which has covered your baby’s body (although you might still see traces of both at birth, particularly on the back and shoulders).
During pregnancy you will have already experienced a lot of surprising alterations to your body. One that sometimes occurs during the third trimester is leaky breasts. This will be a yellowish, thin fluid known as colostrum, the pre-breast milk your baby will need in the first few days after birth. Usually only a drop or two will draw your attention, but if the flow increases, you can, on the inside of your bra, place nursing pads, to manage the situation.
This colostrum contains antibodies that fight infection and build resistance to many common illnesses during your baby’s first days outside your womb. Even if you don’t intent to breastfeed, it could be recommended to breast feed for a couple of days to give your offspring’s immune system a starting boost, by transferring these natural, powerful antibodies from your body to your baby’s.
You may find that your legs are restless and twitch at night which may be uncomfortable and irritating and interfere with your sleep. No one knows why this happens in pregnancy but it is well reported by pregnant women to be a nuisance.
You may being to relax a little finally knowing that should you go into premature labor your baby would have a very good chance of survival.
As is typical with pregnancy though, as soon as one worry eases another one starts! How will you get everything done that you need to do to be ready for your new baby? How will you finish your work? Your home decoration? Your shopping for the baby? Relax – now is the time to prioritize and focus calmly on what is really important. Get done what will be harder to do with a little baby dependent upon you and ask for help. Be realistic, it is unwise to start projects now that you may not finish if you go into labor early or if you feel too tired. Try to avoid stress and aim to keep things simple and easy.
Mood swings are common in the third trimester and you may feel capable, calm and energetic one day and overwhelmed and exhausted the next. This is another reason not to over-commit to things when you feel good as this will put pressure on you when you are having a more emotionally challenging day.
If you have any symptoms that concern you it is important to consult your doctor as soon as you can.