What to expect in my 3rd trimester?

Image of a woman's pregnancy bump in the third trimester

Right, that’s the first and second trimester done. You might be feeling like you’re on the home stretch, or you may feel like this is a marathon that’s still getting going – either way, we’ve pulled together some advice on your third trimester to help you get to grips with what comes next.

The third trimester: The basics

Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s cover some of the main points about the third trimester, to make sure you’re up to speed.

What is the third trimester?

The third trimester is the final phase of your pregnancy. It’s when everything really kicks up a gear as baby gets ready to make their arrival.

When does my third trimester start?

Your third trimester will start at week 29, which is around the start of month seven. This trimester runs to the end of your pregnancy.

How long does my third trimester last?

Each trimester lasts around thirteen weeks, and that is true of the third trimester too. It lasts from week 29 to week 40. But realistically, it finishes once baby arrives – that might be a little earlier or they might make you wait a while!

Is there a scan?

There is no set ultrasound scan during your third trimester. The two main scans in pregnancy occur around week 12 and week 20. You may have more, if you suffer from specific conditions or if you are having twins or multiples. If your doctor or midwife is concerned about you or your baby, they may recommend extra scans as a precaution. If you’re worried about your baby, it is best to speak to your midwife or GP as soon as you can.

Will there be prenatal visits?

Yes. If you are approaching your third trimester, then you will already have contacted your midwife and be having regular visits and check-ups. These will continue through the third trimester

What happens to me during my third trimester?

OK, so we’ve got to grips with the essential stuff – but now let’s dig into the details. Firstly, what can you expect to experience in your third and final trimester?

What does the third trimester feel like?

More than likely you will be starting to feel the baby lots, which whilst exciting and reassuring, can be tiring and uncomfortable. While it’s all go for baby, you will find yourself having to slow down a little…even getting out of bed can take a good five minutes these days!

Some common symptoms during the third trimester include:

  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Feeling hot
  • Heartburn
  • Sweeling around the face, ankles and hands
  • Extra hair growth
  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Changes to your skin colour, including dark patches
  • Leg cramping
  • Needing the loo a lot
  • Braxton Hicks contractions
  • Constipation

And lots of other fun ones too! Whilst this list seems concerning, don’t worry, these symptoms won’t hit you all at once, and you may not experience any at all. But at least if you are aware you can think about how you can tackle them, from making sure you are drinking plenty of water to avoid headaches, tiredness, and constipation, to investing in a birthing ball to alleviate Braxton Hicks contractions.

Sleep during the third trimester

As baby grows and your bump does too, it will get increasing difficult to sleep. Many mothers also experience insomnia, which could be brought on by discomfort or anxiety about your pregnancy.

For comfortable sleeping, doctors recommend sleeping on your left side with your knees tucked up to your chin but you may still find this tricky. Using additional support like cushions and pregnancy pillows can be a good way to get comfortable.

If you are struggling with sleep, be sure to get plenty of rest when you can. While sleep might not be easy, it’s important to relax and take things slow when possible.

Will I feel nauseous in my third trimester?

It’s not uncommon for some people to feel nauseous during their third trimester. As baby’s growth starts to take its toll on your body, it’s possible that you will lose your appetite or feel sick. If this feel persists or becomes stronger, consult your GP.

Will I get heartburn?

Heartburn and indigestion are incredibly common during pregnancy, and especially after week 27. This symptom could take the form of a burning sensation, burping, feeling or being sick or feeling bloated. Avoiding acidic and spicy food, can help with this symptom.

If you do suffer from heartburn or indigestion, then try to change some of your eating habits. Start having smaller meals more often, rather than large meals, avoid eating close to bedtime, cut down of spicy or fatty foods and try sit straight when eating. All these things should help to reduce that feeling.

Image of an ultrasound scan

What happens to baby during my third trimester?

Now you’re feeling excited about all these wonderful symptoms to come, it’s time to think about why you’re doing this: your new baby. While you might be having a rough time, hopefully they’re growing stronger and bigger with every day. But what can you expect from your little one over the next few months?

Which organs form in third trimester?

At the start of the third trimester, most of baby’s organs are all in place, it’s simply a case of growing and maturing over the coming weeks.

Baby’s development in the third trimester

While baby is coming along nicely, this is what’s really going on in there.

  • There will be starting to open their eyes, form eyelashes and detect light
  • They will start to hear what’s going on out in the world, and even reacting
  • They will start to kick and stretch
  • They will begin gaining weight rapidly
  • They will begin to practice breathing
  • Their hair and toenails will start to grow
  • They will eventually turn their head down to prepare for birth

How do baby’s movements change?

As baby grows, their movements will increase. You may already have experienced kicks and punches, but these will begin to develop into more general movements such as rolls or stretches as baby tries to get themselves more comfortable. As they grow, their movements may be less because there isn’t as much room. There’s no set amount of movement to expect but try to notice patterns in baby’s behaviour - if you’re concerned that they’re not moving enough, speak to your midwife or GP.

How much weight does baby gain?

Every baby is different, but according to the NHS, they should be around 1kg at the start of your third trimester and reach 3-4kg by their due date. They will start to put weight on rapidly in the later weeks, as this extra fat will help them to keep warm once they’re born.

When does baby drop?

As the birth approaches, baby will drop and lower their head down into the pelvis in preparation for labour. This can be different for every expectant parent, but it’s usually around 2-4 weeks before their due date.


So, there’s a lot going on in this final trimester – and that’s completely understandable. Baby is getting themselves nice and prepared to make an arrival, and your body will be naturally slowing down to accommodate the extra weight and effort it takes – but all this means that it won’t be long until your little one arrives. 

We can’t wait to hear about your next adventure, tag us @icklebubba on Instagram or Facebook, to let us know how you are getting on with your new arrival!