Pregnancy: The third trimester, weeks 28-40

As you enter the final stage of pregnancy, here are the changes you can expect

Your baby should double his weight in these last months.

You will also be getting larger. But a lot of it is the weight of baby, amniotic fluid and placenta. The additional fluid and extra blood pumping around your body can add up to more than 3.5kgs.

As your weight increases and your uterus grows you may become breathless. Pains and aches, particularly pelvic pain, will increase.

It can be harder to move around or get comfortable. “Generally women cannot tolerate lying flat on their back,” says Paula Barry, midwife at the Coombe Hospital.


If backache and sciatica is a problem, ask to be referred to a physiotherapist for massage and advice on exercise and abdominal support bands.

When the baby’s head moves down into the pelvis your urge to urinate will become more frequent – a lot more!

Though they may start as early as 23 weeks, Barry says most women first feel Braxton Hicks – practice contractions – during this trimester. These can be uncomfortable, but unlike “real” contractions will not increase in intensity.

Your blood pressure will be taken at every antenatal visit, and your urine checked for protein. However, keep an eye for signs of pre-eclampsia, including headaches and excess swelling – oedema – particularly in your face and legs in the morning.

The stretching of your skin, or rashes associated with pregnancy may cause intense itching. Always report this to your doctor as it can be caused by a serious condition, obstetric cholestasis.

Some women notice an increase in vaginal discharge. “Once this is clear, odourless, and there is no discomfort this is perfectly normal,” says Barry.

You may start to ‘leak’ breast milk. This is colostrum, the first antibody-rich milk your body produces, which is usually yellowish in colour.