Your Third Trimester of Pregnancy, Week-by-Week

Our advice as you enter your third trimester? Relax and relish these last weeks of feeling that little being moving inside your body because you just may miss it – a lot! Here's what to expect from week 28 to week 40 of your pregnancy.

01 of 13

Week 28


Week 28: Welcome to the third trimester! Braxton Hicks ("practice") contractions usually start about now. They feel like an intermittent tightening in your abdomen.

What to do now:

  • Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of true labor: contractions that occur at regular intervals and/or gradually become stronger and do not abate with movement; bleeding; intermittent back pain; increased or brown-tinged vaginal discharge; or passage of the mucus plug.
  • Ask your doctor about doing fetal kick counts, which help assess your baby's well-being.
02 of 13

Week 29


Week 29: The basketball-sized lump in your belly may be inhibiting shoe tying, leg shaving and the like. The fetus is increasingly sensitive to light and sound.

What to do now:

  • Try to maximize room in your abdomen by standing and sitting as upright as possible.
  • Eat several small meals throughout the day to keep from loading up your belly.
03 of 13

Week 30


Week 30: You might find yourself increasingly breathless as your growing uterus crowds your diaphragm. It should ease a bit when the baby drops lower in your pelvis later in pregnancy.

What to do now:

  • Unless told otherwise by your doctor, keep exercising to build stamina for labor. Turn down the intensity if you feel out of breath.
  • Alert your health insurer to your due date. Find out any requirements they may have about adding a baby to your policy.
  • Get life insurance and write a will with a guardianship agreement.
04 of 13

Week 31


Week 31: You may be noticing a gradual decrease in the power of your baby's kicks and punches as space in utero becomes tighter. This is normal.

What to do now:

  • Call your doctor if you notice a sudden marked decrease in the number of times you feel your baby move.
  • If you're thinking of hiring a postpartum doula, start interviewing candidates.
  • Consider whether you'll circumcise if there's a possibility you're having a boy.
05 of 13

Week 32


Week 32: Pregnancy may be starting to lose some of its glow. Having your baby shower right about now might give you just the boost you need.

What to do now:

  • Look into maternity leave benefits.
  • Interview lactation consultants.
  • Register for your shower if you haven't already done so.
  • Decide whether you will bank your baby's umbilical cord blood. If so, choose a cord blood bank.
06 of 13

Week 33


Week 33: Don't get too married to your dream delivery: Even if you're hoping for a vaginal birth, there's a nearly 1 in 3 chance you'll have a C-section.

What to do now:

  • Create a basic (one page, max!) birth plan "wish list"; outline your preferences for delivery method and pain relief, but don't micromanage.
  • Learn what to expect if you need a C-section.
  • Tour your hospital's maternity floor.
07 of 13

Week 34


Week 34: You may be driving yourself—not to mention your mate—crazy making sure your house is spit-shined and the nursery is fit for a king (or queen). Keep it in perspective: All you really need is a car seat, a place for the baby to sleep, diapers and some basic clothes.

What to do now:

  • Buy an infant car seat. Practice installing it until you can do it in your sleep. Or have a pro do it.
  • Take a breastfeeding class.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms throughout your house and lower your water heater to 120° F max.
08 of 13

Week 35


Week 35: There's a good chance your body harbors Group B streptococcus bacteria without your knowing it. If it colonizes in the vagina and is left untreated, it can infect your baby at birth.

What to do now:

  • Make sure your doctor tests you for Group B strep between 35 and 37 weeks.
  • Choose a pediatrician. She'll need to examine your baby while still in the hospital.
  • Consider doing perineal massage daily in preparation for labor.
09 of 13

Week 36


Week 36: The baby may drop lower into your pelvis in preparation for delivery. This should make it easier to breathe—yet your pee breaks will become ever more frequent.

What to do now:

  • Organize a support system of friends and/or family to help out when you're home with your new baby.
10 of 13

Week 37


Week 37: Your breasts may be leaking colostrum—your baby's first food. Plus, you may feel so huge and uncomfortable that you're tempted to ask your doctor to induce you early.

What to do now:

  • Buy nursing pads and bras. Have the bras professionally fitted, if possible—your breasts will change more when your milk comes in after delivery.
  • Resist the urge to ask for an induction. "Near-term" babies have a higher risk of breathing difficulties and other complications.
  • If you'll be returning to work after maternity leave and plan to breastfeed, find or create a suitable place to pump. (That does not mean a toilet stall!)
  • Create a daily updated status sheet of all your tasks in case you go into labor and need to leave work suddenly.
11 of 13

Week 38


Week 38: Your pregnancy is considered full-term now, and the lanugo—the downy hair that covered your baby's body—is starting to disappear.

What to do now:

  • Pack your bag. The hospital will supply you with basic toiletries and gowns, but don't forget these essentials: lip balm and hard candies to wet your whistle during labor; a hair band; tennis balls in a tube sock for your partner to rub on your back.
  • Call your doctor or head to the hospital when your contractions occur every five to 10 minutes or if your water breaks.
12 of 13

Week 39


Week 39: If you're still working, don't beat yourself up if you decide to go on leave a little earlier than you planned.

What to do now:

  • Relax. Read a good breastfeeding book. Sleep.
13 of 13

Week 40


Week 40: If you haven't delivered yet, your OB will monitor you more closely. Some docs will allow women to go two weeks past their due date; most will induce by then.

What to do now:

  • Relish these last days of feeling that little being moving and grooving inside your body. You can't believe how much you'll miss it.
Was this page helpful?
Related Articles