4 Changes to Expect in the Third Trimester

Maya noticed she was putting on more weight over the last few days and realized she was transitioning into the third trimester. She was happy she was coming close to meeting her baby.

But she had many concerns because her family had told her she needed to be very careful now.

Dr Anita Sabherwal answered all her questions and assured her there was nothing she needed to worry about. All she needed to do was understand the physical changes her body would undergo  in the third trimester of pregnancy  and know how to recognize the symptoms of labour.

1. Rapid Weight Gain During Third Trimester

“How much more weight should I expect to put on?” Maya asked.

“Most of the weight gain of pregnancy happens in the third trimester.  Women usually put on about 5- 6 kgs during this time “ Dr Anita said.

“This rapid weight gain is because of a spurt in the baby’s growth and fluid collection in your body. You may also feel bloated after eating a little. So try eating small meals at a time.”  

2. Increase in backache and body aches

“Will my backaches and leg cramps become worse in the third trimester?” Maya seemed worried.

“The weight of your baby changes the curvature of your spine and so backaches can continue to be a concern.”

“Avoid prolonged periods of sitting by taking breaks. Maintain an upright posture and do your antenatal exercises regularly” Dr Anita advised.

“Body aches and leg cramps are common due to the pressure of the growing uterus on surrounding nerves and blood vessels.

You should walk daily to help improve blood circulation and reduce both body aches and leg cramps.“

3. Increase in Breast Size During Third Trimester

“What other physical changes should I keep in mind?” asked Maya.

“Your breasts will continue to grow “ Dr Anita informed her.

“You may see a yellowish fluid like discharge from your nipples closer to your due date. This will nourish your baby in the first few days after birth. “

4. Onset of Mild Contractions Before True Labour

“My friends tell me that I can get contractions soon. Is that true?” Maya asked, concerned.

“You may feel mild painless contractions like abdominal tightening in this trimester, known as ‘Braxton Hicks contractions’. These may get stronger as your expected delivery date draws closer “ said Dr Anita.

“But don’t confuse this with true labour pains, which usually happens after 37 weeks. During a contraction in true labour, you will have trouble walking and talking” Dr Anita explained.

Maya felt relieved she now understood what to expect in the third trimester of pregnancy. She realized that all the changes were equipping her body physically for a normal birth.

Special Situations in the Third Trimester

A white vaginal discharge during pregnancy in the third trimester is not a cause of concern. If the discharge is very itchy ,reddish or  green in colour, however, you must consult your doctor.

Also, if you feel there is a sudden bout of vaginal discharge like urine it is better to consult the doctor to rule out rupture of water bag around the baby.

“During the third trimester of pregnancy, you may be informed about chances of cesarean due to low amniotic fluid, cord around the neck,  or gestational diabetes.”

“These situations usually DO NOT require a cesarean. If the baby needs to be delivered by a certain time, we can induce labour and try for a normal delivery” said Dr Anita.

“Remember, a normal delivery is usually the safest and best way to give birth.” 

Make sure you read our post about 9 Situations where C Section Delivery can be avoided .

“If you are still in doubt, it is best to get a second opinion.” 

This article has been written with Dr. Anita Sabherwal Anand, Consultant, Obstetrician-Gynecologist at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital in South Delhi. Dr. Anita is a highly qualified gynecologist with 20+ years of experience who is trusted by low-risk and high-risk mothers alike for her guidance on having a healthy pregnancy and delivery.


Book a consultation by calling us on +91 9871001458. Consultation is available at our hospital in South Delhi.

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