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Pregnancy – 3rd Trimester

The period between 28th– 40th week (7 – 9 months) of pregnancy is referred to the 3rd trimester. During this trimester, a pregnant woman tends to be less active and experiences unusual tiredness. An enormous amount of baby’s development takes places during the 3rd trimester. This is the last trimester of pregnancy where the countdown for your baby’s arrival begins.


Changes in your body during 3rd trimester

By end of the third trimester, your pregnant belly would bulge more prominently than ever. The following are the changes that you would experience during the third trimester.

  1. Braxton Hicks contractions: These are uterine contractions which lasts from 30- 120 seconds. The frequency of these contractions increases as you near labor. These are also referred to as false labor pains and prepare the uterus for labor. These contractions may start as early as 20 weeks of pregnancy, however, they are more frequent and noticeable in the third trimester.
  2. Backache: Your expanding belly will stress your back which causes a severe backache.
  3. Fatigue: The additional weight of the fetus and its surrounding structures would make you feel tired and less energetic during the third trimester.
  4. Shortness of breath: The expanding uterus presses upon the diaphragm muscle which is the primary muscle responsible for breathing in air. This causes shortness of breath.
  5. Swollen feet, ankles, and legs: Your enlarged uterus exerts pressure on the abdominal blood vessels. This may cause retention fluid retention in the lower part of your body.
  6. Heartburn: During pregnancy, progesterone hormone relaxes the valve present between the esophagus and the stomach. This causes reflux of food and heart burn.
  7. Frequent urination: The extra pressure on your bladder due to the growing uterus causes increased frequency of urination.
  8. Breast enlargement: Your breasts grow in size and prepares for breastfeeding.
  9. Constipation: Increased production of progesterone may cause constipation.

Tests during the 3rd trimester

It is necessary to have regular health check-ups during the entire pregnancy to monitor the growth and development of the fetus. During your third trimester, your gynec would advise you to undergo blood and urine tests and ultrasound scans.

Urine tests

Your urine sample would be assessed to check the levels of sugars, proteins, and bacteria.

  1. Urine glucose levels: Elevated levels of glucose in your urine sample can be an indication of gestational diabetes. It can have adverse effects on the mother as well as the fetus. The pregnancy hormone ‘Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) can decrease the insulin production and thereby increases chances of developing diabetes during pregnancy.
  2. Assessment of protein: Excess protein in your urine sample is a sign of pregnancy induced high blood pressure and can indicate damage to the organs.
  • Urine culture: Presence of bacteria in urine sample indicates urinary tract infection. A urine culture is useful to identify the organism causing the infection and to determine appropriate antibiotic treatment.

Blood test:

Your doctor would recommend for a complete blood picture (CBC) test to observe the levels of blood components (RBCs, WBCs & platelets). High levels of white blood cells indicate infection. Hemoglobin levels and red blood cell levels are regularly checked throughout pregnancy to detect anemia.

Group B streptococcus screening

Your doctor may recommend you for group B strep screening between 35 – 37 weeks of pregnancy. Group B streptococcus is the leading cause of life-threatening infections in newborns and can cause mental retardation, impaired vision, and hearing loss. In this test, vaginal and rectal swabs are analyzed to detect group B strep bacteria.

Electronic fetal heart rate monitoring

Electronic fetal heart rate monitoring is done during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. This helps to find out whether the fetus is doing well or is in trouble.

Ultrasound scan

A third trimester ultrasound scan is very important to check the position of the placenta, growth, and position of the baby, and to determine the levels of amniotic fluid.

Tips for healthy third trimester of pregnancy

  • Stay hydrated: Drink adequate amounts of water and fluids to maintain a steady amount of amniotic fluid.
  • Proper diet: A balanced diet is useful to supply essential nutrients for the healthy growth of your baby.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking during pregnancy can have adverse effects on the developing fetus.
  • Avoid canned and fried foods: Avoid taking canned foods as preservative can harm your health. Deep fried foods can cause acidity. Sugary foods and fizzy drinks contribute to weight gain and gestational diabetes.
  • Exercise: Exercising plays a key role in improving the cardiovascular fitness. It also improves the blood circulation and enhances the overall health. Practicing certain yoga postures help in reducing the backache.

Why choose Apollo Diagnostics?

We have the expertise of 34 + years in healthcare. Our labs are equipped with EQUAS (External Quality Assurance System) and loaded with full automated machines to ensure error free reports, with a quick turnaround time, and at an affordable price. For your convenience, we offer free home collection of samples.

For appointments, please call 4444 2424.


  1. Third trimester of pregnancy. Accessed on 12-10-2017
  2. Third-trimester tests during pregnancy. Accessed on 13-10-2017
  3. Urine tests during pregnancy. Accessed on 13-10-2017
  4. Electronic fetal heart monitoring. Accessed on 13-10-2017

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