3rd trimester of pregnancy: Symptoms and your baby's development

Few weeks from now, you are going to deliver your baby. The 3rd trimester pregnancy is a challenging time for your body and emotions.

You are now in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, the last phase of your pregnancy journey. A few weeks from now, you will be giving birth to your baby. Are you excited? Or maybe you are nervous. Since this part of pregnancy is the most challenging, here’s what to expect in your third trimester of pregnancy.

3rd trimester pregnancy: Your baby’s development

When you are in your third trimester of pregnancy, your baby keeps on growing inside your womb. At this time around, your baby begins to turn its head down to get ready for “the big day.”

Your baby’s bones are now fully formed and its body begins to store minerals like iron and calcium.

According to Web MD, at week 36, during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, your baby’s head should start to move into your pelvic area to get ready for delivery. This movement from your baby is called lightening. For the last 2 weeks of pregnancy, your baby will stay in this down-facing position until you give birth.

Moreover, in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, your baby will continue to develop. At this phase, they can now open their eyes and sense light. Your baby also begins to develop hearing. What’s more exciting is that at this point, your baby knows how to suck its thumb, knows how to cry, and even smile!

baby bump - 3rd trimester pregnancy

Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash

Your baby’s skin is covered with a protective coating called vernix caseosa, during the third trimester of pregnancy. The lanugo or the soft body hair will fall out during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, and it is almost gone by the end of week 40 or the final week of your pregnancy journey.

Furthermore, in the third trimester of pregnancy, your baby’s brain keeps on developing while its lungs and kidneys mature. Your baby also gains muscle tone and body fats at this stage.

Pregnancy third trimester symptoms

The 3rd trimester of pregnancy is challenging both for your body and your emotional well-being. That is why it is important to get ready for the third trimester pregnancy symptoms.

It is essential to be prepared for any third trimester pregnancy symptoms to know what to do during these challenging times of your pregnancy journey. Being prepared for symptoms of third trimester pregnancy helps you prevent worries.

Pregnancy third trimester symptoms

According to Mayo Clinic, the following are the third trimester of pregnancy symptoms that you need to be prepared for.

False labor

One of the most common third trimester pregnancy symptoms is Braxton Hicks contractions. During 3rd trimester pregnancy, you are more likely to experience false labor or Braxton Hicks contractions.

These contractions will occur more often during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, especially during the afternoon or evening. Most Braxton Hicks contractions also occur after physical activity or after sex. It is important to know the difference between false labor and actual labor to avoid panic.

You can identify Braxton Hick’s contractions from contractions due to real labor. False labor contractions are not as intense as true labor contractions. And it may stop once you change position. However, if your contractions make you almost lose your breath and make your face red, call your doctor right away.

Difficulty breathing

Another symptom of third trimester pregnancy is shortness of breath. Difficulty in breathing can be avoided by practicing good posture to give your lungs more room to expand.

Digestive issues

Indigestion and heartburn may also be felt during this time due to the growing baby and the hormones that are affecting your digestive system. Heartburn can be prevented by eating small and frequent meals. Aside from that, avoid eating fried foods, citrus fruits, chocolates, and spicy foods to avoid digestive issues.


Your baby continues to grow and your bump is getting bigger. As your womb stretches and as your baby gains more weight, it may result in having a backache. Additionally, your hormones during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy relax the connective tissue that holds your bones in place and these may cause discomfort in your back.

baby bump - 3rd trimester pregnancy

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

Varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and spider veins

Symptoms of third trimester pregnancy: Tiny red-purplish veins called spider veins will most likely appear on your face, neck, and arms due to the increase in blood circulation.

Meanwhile, varicose veins will appear on your legs, those are swollen veins that are also the result of an increase in blood circulation.

Aside from that, you may also experience painful and itchy varicose veins in your rectal area. This is called the hemorrhoids or almoranas in Filipino.

To ease those symptoms of third trimester pregnancy, exercising and elevating your legs is essential. On the other hand, to ease the itch and pain of hemorrhoids, soaking in a warm tub or applying witch hazel pads to your rectal area may help.

Frequent urination

You may feel the need to urinate from time to time because of the pressure on your bladder. This is because your baby is moving deeper into your pelvis as it gets ready for delivery.


Toward the end of your pregnancy, you may also experience some light bleeding. This is normal and just a sign that the labor is starting. However, there are some cases where the bleeding is a sign of some serious condition.

Bleeding in pregnancy can be a symptom of placenta previa, a condition where the placenta grows low and covers the cervix. Aside from that, spotting in pregnancy can also be a sign of placenta abruption or the separation of the placenta from the uterine wall or may be a sign of preterm labor.

All of these are reasons why it is important to consult your doctor in any case that you experience bleeding during pregnancy. It is paramount to call your doctor to rule out any serious problems before it gets worse.

baby bump - 3rd trimester pregnancy

Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash

Other symptoms of third trimester pregnancy

White discharge during pregnancy in the third trimester

You might notice an increase in vaginal discharge as you get closer to the end of your pregnancy journey. You may see white discharge during pregnancy in the third trimester.

It is normal and there’s nothing to worry about it. The normal vaginal discharge for 3rd trimester pregnancy is thick, clear, or a white discharge with a slight ting of blood.

This is called a mucus plug. The mucus plug is a sign that your cervix is dilating in preparation for labor and delivery. However, if the flow of your vaginal discharge is too heavy that it almost soaks through your panty liners, it is safer to consult your doctor.

Mommies, as you anticipate yourself giving birth, you may feel more emotional due to your worries. Taking childbirth classes may help you cope with the emotional symptoms of pregnancy. Through these birth classes, you will know more about what to expect when you give birth.


Here at theAsianparent Philippines, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advise or medical treatment. theAsianparent Philippines is not responsible to those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend to consult your doctor for clearer information.

Got a parenting concern? Read articles or ask away and get instant answers on our app. Download theAsianparent Community on iOS or Android now!