The third trimester begins at approximately week 28 and lasts until birth. This can be an exciting and stressful time. It is the hardest stage for many women. Knowing what to expect will help you prepare for the last stage of pregnancy.
Braxton Hicks Contractions
Braxton Hicks contractions are a tightening of the abdomen that comes and goes. This is your uterus getting ready for the birthing process. The contractions will tone your muscles and help prepare your cervix for delivery. They start much earlier in pregnancy and become more noticeable later on.
Braxton Hicks contractions can be uncomfortable but only last for about 30 seconds. You will know it isn’t actual labor pain because the contractions do not last longer as time goes on, do not happen closer together, and do not increase in strength.
A woman’s breasts will enlarge by as much as two pounds through the entire pregnancy. At this stage, you will notice a significant increase in size. It’s important to wear a comfortable support bra to alleviate back pain. A yellowish discharge from the nipples may also appear. This is completely normal. It is a substance called colostrum that will feed your baby during his or her first few days of life.
A vaginal discharge may also appear during this trimester. A clear, thick or blood-tinged discharge may be noticed when the mucous plug is ejected. This is an indication that labor will begin soon, usually within one to two weeks.
Pregnant women who notice unusual changes or who have questions about their third trimester should contact their obstetrician between regularly scheduled appointments. Your Women’s Health and Menopause Center OBGYN can provide assistance and reassurance as you prepare for delivery.
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