Third Trimester

— Dana

I’m going to start my third trimester next week…how did that happen? Does anyone realized that I’m going to be a mom soon? A MOM!!! Where did the time go? Well, here’s what happens to the baby during these last few months…

WEEK TWENTY-SEVEN

• Your little one’s brain continues its rapid growth. Don’t forget to share music, conversation, and even books with your baby!
• Response to sound grows more consistent toward the end of the seventh month, when the network of nerves to the ear is complete. Your baby’s hearing continues to develop, he or she may start to recognize your voice as well as your partner’s.
• Lungs continue to grow and prepare for functioning outside of the womb. Each day in the womb greatly increases survival rates!
• It also continues to take small breaths and although it’s only breathing in water and not air, it’s still good practice for when the baby is born.
• Eyelids are now open more. Your baby can distinguish between light and dark.
• Retinas have formed.
• Your baby will grow over 1/2 inch this week alone…you may suspect this phenomenal growth rate repeats in the preteen years!
• Average size is now 14.4 inches (36.6cm) and 1.9 pound (875gm).

WEEK TWENTY-EIGHT

• Eyebrows and eyelashes are now very noticeable!
• Hair on baby’s head is growing longer. Some babies are born with almost none at all, while others appear to be ready for their first haircut!
• Eyes are completely formed now. Quite a view from inside!
• Your baby’s body is getting plump and rounded. Most of that increase is muscle tissue and bone. Fat will be added during the third trimester.
• Muscle tone is improving. Preparation for the Olympics feels like it is taking place in your womb!
• Lungs are capable of breathing now (but baby would still struggle and require medical attention if born now).
• Talk to your baby often, reading stories, singing songs and more. He or she can recognize your voice now and will often calm to it later on!
• Your baby weighs in now at 2.2 pounds (1005gm) and is 14.8 inches (37.6cm).

WEEK TWENTY-NINE

• Your baby’s head is in proportion with body now. It appears more like a newborn each and every day!
• Fat continues to accumulate under the skin…only now preparing for entering the “real world”.
• Your baby’s brain can control primitive breathing and body temperatures.
• It’s eyes can move in their sockets. Soon your baby will be able to follow a blinking light.
• Your baby is increasingly sensitive to changes in light, sound, taste, and smell! Various studies show that your baby may indicate preferences (or disdain) for particular tastes or odors at this stage.
• Your baby is also moving from side to side…but probably still is head up. In the next few weeks, it will move to the head down birthing position. At times you may feel as if he is performing somersaults for a circus act!
• It’s length is now approximately 15.2 inches (38.6cm) and weight is 2.54 pounds (1153gm).

WEEK THIRTY

• Did you know your baby is nearly three pounds now?
•It’s head is getting larger to accommodate a period of rapid brain growth. Don’t forget to continue to “teach” your baby in the womb by exposing to music, literature and simply talking to it.
• A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds your baby. As it grows and fills your uterus, the amount of amniotic fluid will decrease. Funny, you won’t feel any lighter!
• Your baby spends more and more time practicing opening and closing it’s eyelids. Their eyes can move from side to side, following a light source…and it may even reach out to touch the light.
• Early lanugo is beginning to disappear that served to protect your baby’s skin from the water in the womb. Your little one’s own hair may begin to appear.
• Toenails are entering their final growth stage.
• Bone marrow is now in charge of red blood cell production. These red blood cells will continue to service your child’s body by transporting oxygen and removing the wastes (carbon monoxide and other gases).
• Your baby has the capability now to produce tears…yes, within the womb.
• By the end of this week, your baby is now 15.7 inches (39.9cm) long and weighs 2.91 pounds (1319gm).

WEEK THIRTY-ONE

• The rate of physical growth slows down just a bit, but even though your baby doesn’t get much longer, it will gain a lot of weight the rest of the pregnancy.
• Fat continues accumulating. This layer of fat turns it’s skin from red to the rosy pink that they will have as a newborn.
• Calcium, phosphorus and iron are being stored and it’s bones are growing and hardening.
• The brain enters another period of rapid growth, producing hundreds of billions of new nerve cells! Amazing!
• It may move to the rhythm of music. Studies with heart rates show that your baby also prefers some types of music to others…already!
• Lungs are the only major organ left to complete development. Remember, that while you may be anxious to meet your little one…these last few weeks can be vital. With each day your baby increases it’s ability to breathe on their own.
• Your baby is 16.2 inches (41.1cm) long and weighs 3.3 pounds (1502gm).

WEEK THIRTY-TWO

• You might notice your baby is not moving around as much now. Don’t worry! They’re fine…just running short on room. Your baby still has plenty of growing to do though, believe it or not!
• All five senses are working. Your little one is fascinated and practicing testing these out as much as possible!
• Toenails are completely formed even though your baby may not be quite ready for a French manicure.
• Hair on your infant’s head continues to grow in.
• Brain scans have shown that babies have periods of dream sleep (REM) starting around the eight month. What do you suppose your child is dreaming about?
• Your baby is up to 3.75 pounds (1702gm) now and is 16.7 inches (42.4cm) long.

WEEK THIRTY-THREE

• Amniotic fluid is at its highest level during your pregnancy…right now.
• Your baby’s head size has increased 3/8ths of an inch due to rapid brain growth.
• Neurons and synapses are developing in huge numbers…forming connections in your baby’s brain will give it the skills they need to thrive as a newborn. This week, your baby may be able to coordinate sucking and swallowing with breathing.
• While most of it’s bones are hardening, your baby’s skull is quite pliable and not completely joined. The bones will be able to move slightly to make birthing easier.
• Your baby takes intermittent deep breaths…of water! That’s okay, since it gets oxygen from the placenta. This breathing exercises muscles and encourages your baby’s lung cells to produce more surfactant (a protein essential for healthy lung development).
• If your baby is a boy, his testicles will be descending from his abdomen into his scrotum. Sometimes one or both testicles won’t move into position until after birth.
• Your infant is now 17.2 inches (43.7cm) long and weighs 4.23 pounds (1918gm).

WEEK THIRTY-FOUR

• Your baby acts completely like a newborn, with it’s eyes opened when awake and closed when sleeping. You may also find your baby settling into more of a routine for sleeping & awake times.
• It has learned to blink. The baby can also see more clearly when there is a bright light on your stomach and probably has the outline of all your organs memorized!
• Antibodies from your blood are being transferred to your baby. These immunities continue to build until birth. Then breast milk will add even more protection against disease.
• Your baby may have already turned to a head-down position in preparation for birth. If it’s your first baby, they may be settling into the pelvis with it’s head pressing against your cervix. Fun!
• Fingernails have reached the end of the fingertips now. Your baby may scratch their face even before it’s born!
• Your little one’s length is 17.7 inches (45cm) and weight is 4.7 pounds (2146 g).

WEEK THIRTY-FIVE

• The average baby weighs almost five and a half pounds now.
• Most babies born now will survive and without many long-term problems.
• Fat accumulations plumps up the arms and legs this week. These layers of fat will help him regulate his body temperature. They also provide those cute little dimples on elbows and knees!
• Your baby’s hearing is fully developed, so be sure to talk to your little one. Do you find yourself speaking in a high-pitched tone? That’s okay since some studies show babies respond better to higher pitches.
• It’s getting crowded! Your baby is now taking up most of the uterus and you may even feel like your chest has run out of room! Soon enough though, baby will move down and you’ll be able to breathe easily again (just not walk so easily! Ha!).
• The testes have completed their descent in males.
• Your baby is 18.2 inches (46.2cm) long and weighs 5.3 pounds (2383gm).

WEEK THIRTY-SIX

• Your baby is almost ready and most likely, so are you! The only organ still to mature is the lungs. While certainly you are both growing anxious to meet, remember that each day (up to 42 weeks), that your little one stays within your womb will multiply it’s chances to breathe better on it’s own.
• If your baby hasn’t already…this week it may drop into the birth canal. While breathing for mom becomes easier, walking may be the exact opposite! If it’s not your first baby, this “lightening” may not occur until right before labor.
• Fat is dimpling your baby’s elbows and knees, and forming creases in the neck and wrists.
• Your baby’s skin is growing smooth and, shall we say it, “baby” soft.
• It’s gums are very rigid. It won’t be many months before you’ll see your baby’s teeth.
• Your little one has a fully developed a pair of kidneys and it’s liver has begun processing some waste products.
• Your child’s average size is now 18.66 inches (47.4cm) and 5.78 pounds (2622 g). Between now and birth, your baby will gain about an ounce a day!

WEEK THIRTY-SEVEN

• Your baby is officially full term now but can still benefit from extra days in the womb.
• It continues to practice breathing movements. Isn’t it amazing how your baby can breathe “under water?”
• Grasp is firm now. It won’t be long until you’ll feel that strong little fist confidently grasping your finger (or tightly clenching your hair)!
• A few weeks ago, your baby would move it’s eyes toward light. Now, your baby turns towards light outside the uterus.
• As the uterine wall stretches and thins, allowing more light to permeate, your baby develops daily activity cycles. You will want to be sure to establish good patterns yourself at this time, thus encouraging the same habits in your child. Ever heard of a baby getting it’s days/nights mixed up? Now’s the time to try to avoid that!
• This week, the average size is about 6.3 pounds (2859gm) now and 19.1 inches (48.6cm) length.

WEEK THIRTY-EIGHT

• Have you noticed your baby hiccups a lot? Because there is no air around baby, those breathing exercises cause amniotic fluid to get into it’s windpipe. The result? Hiccups!
• Your child’s intestines are accumulating lots of meconium. Meconium takes on the role of being your baby’s first bowel movement…removing the waste that has accumulated.
• Your little one may have a full head of hair now…an inch or more long! Don’t be surprised if it’s an unexpected color. Some blond couples have dark haired babies; some dark haired couples have red-haired babies; some couples have babies with only peach fuzz! It may just persuade you to take a closer look at your family tree!
• Circumference of head and abdomen are about the same size for your baby. No wonder it’s so hard to get a t-shirt over a newborn’s head!
• If it is the “average baby,” they probably weight 6.8 pounds (3083gm) and is 19.6 inches (49.8cm) long.

WEEK THIRTY-NINE

• The lanugo has mostly disappeared, but you’ll probably find a bit on it’s shoulders, arms and legs and in those protected little bodily creases. It will vanish completely on its own in time.
• It’s lungs are maturing and is fully prepared to take on the outside world!
• Your baby doesn’t have much room to move and certainly mom agrees! Did you imagine 8 months ago that this wee one would be able to hook a toe in your ribs while elbowing your bladder? Your baby certainly has grown!
• Your little one’s body continues to lay on the fat stores that will help regulate it’s body temperature after birth. In addition to normal fat, it’s accumulating a special “brown” fat in the nape of his neck, between your baby’s shoulders and around organs. Brown fat cells are important for thermogenesis (generating heat) during it’s first weeks.
• Your infant’s weight is around 7.25 pounds (3288gm) and length is 19.9 inches (50.7cm).

WEEK FOURTY+

• Much of the vernix has vanished but you will notice traces on it’s body.
• 15% of your child’s body is fat. Since it hasn’t learned to shiver yet, these fat stores will help regulate it’s temperature.
• Your baby’s chest sticks out, almost as if it’s ready to strut proudly over the accomplishment!
• It’s lungs will continue developing until birth. They are manufacturing large quantities of “surfactant” which works to keep the air sacs open.
• Your little one continues to grow; it’s hair and nails longer as well. You may need to trim those fingernails soon after birth or protect it’s face from scratches with mittens.
• The baby now weighs 7.6 pounds (3462gm) and is 20.2 inches (51.2cm) long.

Congratulations! Any day now you will be cradling your son or daughter! Cherish the moments and learn all you can about this new personality in your life. They go by all too fast!

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