Third trimester: weeks 29 to 40

The end of your pregnancy is in sight. It won't be long until your baby arrives. Feelings at this stage of pregnancy tend to vary from tiredness and worry to excitement about the baby.

week 29-40  infographic

The third trimester of your pregnancy is from week 29 to week 40 - months seven, eight and nine.

Feelings at this stage of pregnancy tend to go from tiredness and worry to excitement about the baby.

Your baby continues to grow, and as the third trimester progresses they'll have a better chance if they're born early. You’ll have more checks with the midwife in the third trimester, because it’s important to keep an eye on your and your baby’s health.

The position your baby is in becomes more important now and you may start to think about what happens during labour.

If you can, use these last few weeks to get ready for the baby and enjoy some time for yourself, especially after you start maternity leave. If you have children already, you may find it hard to keep up with them sometimes. Take any offers of help you can get.

One important thing to remember in the third trimester is that you should now go to sleep on your side at night (and during any day time naps). You can read more here about why going to sleep on your side in the third trimester is safer for your baby.

Things to think about in the third trimester of pregnancy

You can still be active during the last three months, but you’ll probably find your body slowing down naturally. Walking is an ideal exercise.

You may also find that pregnancy yoga, pilates or aquanatal classes are good ways to stay active in the third trimester. Staying active doesn’t have to be planned, though. We’ve got some good tips for staying active without going to the gym here.

If you haven’t written your birth plan yet, you may wish to do it now. As part of your birth plan, it’s good to think about the different kinds of pain relief that are available and what you may like to consider when you’re in labour.

Bear in mind, though, that your wishes may change and you might also need some extra help during labour and birth, so keep an open mind.

Find out more about exercise in the third trimester here

Find out more about the third trimester

Sources

Saigal S, Doyle LW (2008) ‘An overview of mortality and sequelae of preterm birth from infancy to adulthood’, Lancet 371(9608): 261–9: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18207020

NICE (2008) Antenatal care for uncomplicated pregnancies, NICE Clinical Guidelines 62. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence http://publications.nice.org.uk/antenatal-care-cg62

NHS Choices. Your birth plan http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/birth-plan.aspx (Page last reviewed: 07/03/2018 
Next review due: 07/03/2021)

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Last reviewed on June 28th, 2018. Next review date June 28th, 2021.

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Comments

  • By Sophie (not verified) on 3 Sep 2018 - 15:34

    Hiya,

    I've loved using the Tommy's week by week guide and have found it really helpful.

    However, having hit the third trimester, on the third trimester page on the third paragraph down it says:

    "Your baby continues to grow, and as the third trimester progresses they'll have a better chance if they're born early."

    I've found this a bit strange as I'm not sure what you mean by 'better chance' and if it means 'better chance of survival' it might be a bit misleading to say 'they'll have a better chance if they're born early' - because my understanding is 37 weeks is healthy - before that is not! Isn't it that they'll have a better chance if they're just born when they should be born (e.g. not really late, not really early?).

    Not a big deal, I just wanted to draw your attention to it.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Sep 2018 - 09:31

    Thank you for your comments. Just to clarify, a baby is not premature if delivered between 37 and 42 completed weeks of pregnancy. Risks (for example low blood sugars or poor temperature control) linked to premature birth reduce the closer a baby is born to 37 weeks.

  • By Willow (not verified) on 23 Aug 2018 - 10:48

    Hi, Im currently 37+2 weeks with my 4th baby.
    I've been into hospital with reduced movements 8 times, baby had static growth on the last scan too.
    First baby was an SGA on 4th centile which wasnt caught during pregnancy and not picked up during my second.
    I just keep getting told to ignore it and carry on as normal. Its a similar situation to my 2nd and 3rd babies and neither did well during labour, Im really scared for her safety. What should I do?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Aug 2018 - 14:46

    Hi Willow, Thank you for your comment.
    You need to call the hospital and be seen as soon as you can, if you are still concerned about your baby's movements then you need to go in and be seen. It is important that you stress the your Dr or midwife that you have a history of having small babies and as your baby has been found to have static growth then you should be monitored closely. Please call the hospital as soon as you can and be seen. Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Carly (not verified) on 10 Jul 2018 - 06:49

    I'm 26 weeks pregnant and my right ribs are so sore and if i bend or anythink it feels like my ribs are moving

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Jul 2018 - 13:16

    Hi Carly,
    Sorry to hear that you are in a lot of pain, some rib pain can be very common in pregnancy. If you are struggling then your midwife or doctor may refer you to a physiotherapist for some support. Do be aware of your posture and try to do some light gentle exercise which also helps.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Zeba (not verified) on 24 Jun 2018 - 13:16

    Hi,I m pregnant in third trimester .I feels pain in my thighs .knees and ankles .what could be causes.plz ad vice me.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 25 Jun 2018 - 16:38

    Hi Zeba, I am not able to give you a diagnosis without examining you so I would suggest that you see a doctor for advice. If your legs are swollen and painful this may be associated with a condition called pre-eclampsia or it may be nothing to do with the pregnancy. Either way it would be best to check. Take care of yourself x

  • By Abid nawaz (not verified) on 18 May 2018 - 23:59

    Plz tell me what a reason my wife is pregnant from 6,August 2017 and still she is pregnant 19,may 2018 plz tell me what a reason I m so worried about she I m waiting

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 May 2018 - 15:02

    Hi Abid, These dates indicate that she is 41 weeks pregnant. It is quite common for a woman to go slightly longer than her due date. Is she receiving care during her pregnancy? If you are concerned please try to arrange to see a midwife or a doctor. Best wishes

  • By tony (not verified) on 8 May 2018 - 23:16

    Hi my wife is pregnant with twins and in her third trimester. She feels pains in her thighs,waist and abdomen on and off. What could be the cause.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 May 2018 - 14:41

    Hi Tony
    Congratulations on your Twinnies!
    It could be caused by many things- yourself or your wife are very welcome to get in touch via email or phone - [email protected] or 0800 0147800 to go through this in far more detail.
    It could be down to the weight of the babies/amniotic fluid/placenta on the body - this can cause hip/leg/abdo pain as there extra weight is a big strain on the body. It is possible that she has Pelvic girdle pain/Symphysis pubis dysfunction which can cause this pain too.
    If the pain is very severe though and she has not been seen in the hospital maternity triage, then she should go to be reviewed as soon as possible, just get checked over for peace of mind and be referred to a physio/consultant if needs be for further follow up.
    Please take good care of yourself, your wife and the babies :)
    Sophie Tommy's Midwife

  • By Seema Goyal (not verified) on 19 Apr 2018 - 14:10

    Quite helpful information..

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Apr 2018 - 16:38

    Hi Seema, Thank you for your comment.

    We are pleased that you are finding the information helpful, take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Sophia Eki (not verified) on 26 Jan 2018 - 17:10

    The info was quite helpful! Thank you very much for it!

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Sep 2016 - 09:45

    That's excellent news!

  • By Eneah (not verified) on 26 Aug 2016 - 21:09

    It's helping

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