Week-by-Week Highlights - Third Trimester
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Your Third Trimester: Week-by-Week Highlights
Week of pregnancy
The fetus is not quite 12 inches long and weights between 2 and 3 pounds - and will double or triple in size between now and birth. a space gets tighter in its amniotic waterbed, less acrobatic tumbling takes place, though you'll still feel plenty of stretching and kicking.
The fetus has eyelashes and the head of hair he or she will be born with (if any). This hair may fall out a few months after delivery, however, and grow back in an entirely different texture or color.
Though the scenery in the womb sure isn't Paris or the Grand Canyon, the fetus can see in utero - discerning light and dark, and blinking or shutting the eyes. Take care of pre-baby decisions while you can: write your birth plan, interview pediatricians, and pre-register at the hospital if you haven't yet.
A layer of fatty padding is being laid down beneath the thin, wrinkly fetal skin. review your childbirth class notes and don't forget to keep practicing breathing and relaxation exercises, a glucose screen may be repeated around 32 to 34 weeks.
The fetus is exercising its lungs by practicing breathing - inhaling amniotic fluid. You're gaining a pound a week now; roughly half of that goes right to the fetus. In fact, the baby gains more than half its birthweight during the next 7 weeks, fattening up for survival outside the womb. Thanks to these fatty deposits, the skin grows plumper and pinker.
Most babies settle into the head-down position, although it may not be final. The skull bones are still quite pliable and not completely joined, to ease the exit through the relatively narrow birth canal. Pack your hospital bag now - better to be early than to be sorry to have forgotten something in a last-minute scramble.
Your doctor will probably check you weekly until you deliver. You'll be tested for Group B Streptococcus bacteria between weeks 35 and 37 Ninety-nine percent of babies born now survive, the overwhelming majority with not major problems. Not only are the lungs more developed but, thanks to advances in neonatal care, respiratory problems - once a lead killer in preemies before 35 weeks - are much more readily overcome.
Your uterus has expanded to 1,000 times its original volume, and now reaches up to the base of your rib cage. The baby may drop lower in your abdomen, the head engaging with the circle of pelvic bones at the birth canal. Don't let your friends hold your shower too late; you're almost in the due-date zone.
By the end of this week, your pregnancy has come full term; the baby could be born any day now. More good news: your weight gain will probably hit its zenith.
Most of the fetus's downy coating of hair (lanugo) and cheese-like skin coating (vernix) have disappeared. They get swallowed by the fetus along with other secretions and lodge in the baby's bowels - where they'll become the child's first BM, a tarry waste called meconium.
The average full-term newborn weighs 7 to 1 1/2 pounds. On average, boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls. Take it very easy now; if you aren't inclined to do much, don't.
Can't be long now. Don't fret if your baby isn't born by your due date - just 5 percent hit the mark exactly. Most doctors wait another 2 weeks before considering a pregnancy overdue.