At week 28 of pregnancy, you officially enter the third trimester. The end is in sight!

The third trimester is an exciting time for a lot of expectant parents. It’s usually the stage where maternity leave edges closer, more items get ticked off the ‘to-do’ list, and arrangements for the birth are made.

But what actually happens in the latter stages of pregnancy? Here are a few home truths about how you might be feeling and what is happening to your body during the last few months of your pregnancy.

You might not be glowing and full of happiness

Some lucky women are just that; glowy skin, luscious hair and a glamorous bump. 

We think it’s fairly safe to say, however, that this is certainly not always the case.

During the later stages of pregnancy, mum-to-be is contending with her growing baby bump and everything that it brings. 

The following are a few conditions that heavily pregnant women might experience:

Heartburn and indigestion. This can be caused by the growing baby and hormones affecting the digestive system.

Exhaustion. Not only is mum-to-be carrying the extra weight, but she is probably uncomfortable at night and therefore getting less sleep. 

Back, pelvic and hip aches. The increasing baby weight puts pressure on the lower back area, and also joints and ligaments will also be looser than usual due to hormonal changes. 

Swelling. Ankles, feet, fingers and even the face are prone to puffiness due to water retention but also pre-eclampsia in some cases. Always get this checked if you feel concerned, as it can be dangerous to mum and baby.

Hormones. The highs and lows of pregnancy can lead to unusual mood swings. Don’t be surprised if you are happy one minute and in floods of tears the next. Always share this information with a midwife though, as postnatal depression and other conditions can begin to present as early as pregnancy.  

Try to slow down

If one thing is guaranteed to wind you up, it’s when people tell you to ‘enjoy your sleep whilst you can’. 

The truth is that when you feel like you’re carrying a watermelon around, ache all over, and the baby wants to have a party at 3am, you might not be sleeping at all! Let alone getting more sleep.

That said, listen to your body and if you are tired, try to slow down. 

The washing can wait (or someone else can do it). Ask your partner to make dinner for you. Enjoy a long bath on your own. Whatever it is, your body is doing something superhuman and using every little bit of energy that you have, so reward yourself with some guilt-free rest.

You might still feel nauseous

Sadly, morning sickness doesn’t always disappear at 12 weeks. 

Whilst more common in the first trimester, morning sickness can strike at any point in pregnancy. 

Nausea usually improves or stops by around weeks 16 to 20, but it can last longer. In fact, excessive nausea and vomiting are known as hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which can require hospital treatment although this is quite rare.

Find out more about hyperemesis gravidarum on the NHS website.

You will want to get organised

Most parents-to-be want to be organised for when the baby arrives. 

Whether it’s buying baby clothes, choosing the pushchair, or kitting the nursery out, preparing for baby can help with feeling more ready, both emotionally and practically.

Rather than leaving it all until the last minute, the key to not feeling overwhelmed towards the end is to chip away at the list over time. 

Check out our Pushchair and Pram Advice Section, where you can find the best pram for you! 

You are more likely to worry

Pregnancy can throw up all sorts of worries, but also bring on greater anxiety. 

Concerns about birth, caring for the baby, health, becoming a parent, stress, and money worries can all exacerbate nerves and add to the worry. 

This is all completely normal and the best thing to do is talk it through with someone who can help. 

After all, it is said that ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. 

Women in third trimester