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At Open Arms Real Choices Clinic, we’re all about empowered education! We take great care to keep our staff and clients informed with honesty and transparency. We hope you enjoy our series on The Stages of Pregnancy. Let’s explore the final stage, the third trimester.

The weeks leading up to your final due date are a crucial time to ensure optimal growth and health for your baby. Your baby’s growth and weight accelerate quite dramatically during the final trimester.

It is common to hear pregnancy lasting 9 months long, but oftentimes, 10 months is required for a full 40-week, full-term pregnancy. As you get close to the due date, your healthcare provider will monitor the baby closely. If you surpass the date and don’t go into labor, you may have to be induced, meaning medication will be given to cause you to go into labor.

MONTH 8 – weeks 29 through 32

At the beginning of month 8, your baby may be kicking more. The baby’s brain is quickly developing and most of the internal systems are developed by this point. However, the lungs still may be immature in growth.

  • The baby can see and hear
  • Bones are soft but fully formed
  • The baby’s body stores minerals such as calcium and iron
  • The lanugo (soft hair formed in the second trimester) begins to fall off.
  • Size—15-17 inches long and approximately 4-4.5 lbs. gaining .5 lb. per week on average.

MONTH 9 – weeks 33 through 36

Your baby is continuing to grow and mature rapidly. Though the lungs have taken a while to develop, they are close to maturing by this point. The baby’s reflexes are also established meaning he/she can blink, grasp firmly, and turn the head.

  • The vernix thickens (protective skin coating formed in the second trimester)
  • The baby may respond to touch and light
  • Size—16-19 inches long and approximately 6-6.5 lbs.

MONTH 10 – weeks 37 through 40 (if necessary)

This is the time in fetal development that you could go into labor at any moment. As your baby continues to grow, there is less space in the uterus for him/her to move around and as a result, baby movements may slow down. However, the baby may move into a position preparing for birth, head down in the uterus. When the baby drops down into the pelvic region, you may experience discomfort.

  • Organs are fully developed and capable to function independently
  • Size—full-term babies are typically 19-21 inches long and 6 lbs. 2 oz. to 9 lbs. 2 oz.

The final stages of fetal development and growth are very exciting for the soon-to-be mother. By week 37, your baby is considered full-term, ready to exit the womb. All of that time, change, and growth both you and the baby have experienced thus far, suddenly becomes extremely worth it as your little baby boy or girl meets the world.

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