Congratulations -- you've made it through to the third trimester! This is the period of time from the 28th week of pregnancy until the delivery of the baby. These final weeks can seem to go so slowly. Let's look at what the third trimester has in store for you, your partner, and the baby.
Baby's Development in the Third TrimesterAt 28 weeks, the baby is now covered with a substance called vernix, a greasy substance that protects the baby from the fluid that surrounds it in the womb. The baby's body has grown to catch up with the size of its head. The baby is now able to live, with specialized care, if it is born early. By 32 weeks, the baby is perfectly formed, if a bit thin. During the next few weeks, it will gain body fat, its lungs will mature, and the baby boy's testicles will descend into the scrotum. Between the 38th week and the 40th week, the baby's head will move into position in the pelvis, ready to be born.
Mom's Experience in the Third TrimesterAs the baby's size increases, most women experience a certain amount of discomfort. The baby's weight and its more vigorous movements can cause them a number of physical problems -- aching backs, heartburn, restlessness, frequent trips to the bathroom, and sleepless nights, to name but a few.
Dad's Preparation for the Birth of the Baby
- Helping to devise a birthing plan with your partner can make you feel a part of things. It can give you an idea about what will happen, what you will see, and the choices you can make to make it a happy, exciting birth.
- You may want to prepare yourself by seeing a video of a birth during childbirth classes.
- It can be difficult seeing your partner in pain, and you can feel pretty helpless. However, it is amazing the amount of support your partner will feel when you are there sharing the experience of childbirth.
- If you have concerns about the birth or the health of your baby, it can be a good idea to have a good friend, a family member, or your doctor to talk to. Get support from others and be supportive to your partner.
- Don't forget to take care of your own health: Eating a balanced diet and exercising can help minimize stress and make you a better partner.
- Assess your financial assets and think about what kind of obligations you'll have once the baby is born. Early planning can help soften the financial blow of fatherhood.
Worried about Being a Good Dad?It's normal to feel anxious about becoming a father. There are some good books around that can help you with the day-to-day joys and traumas of child care. For most men, becoming a dad is the greatest thing. If you're having trouble, talk your partner -- communication is the key to sharing and finding solutions. And enjoy your new role!
Medically reviewed on 2/8/2012