Third Trimester | Fit Pregnancy

Third Trimester

Save the Date

So, when's that baby due? How many months along are you? Why did your ultrasound pick a different date? When is the baby old enough for induction? Are some women really pregnant for 10 months? These aren't always easy questions to answer. Readers want clarification on nailing down the due date, which is especially important when scheduling inductions.

The good, the bad and the ugly

As I was getting a patient ready for an induction this morning, she asked, "How bad is labor, really?" That's a classic question, ladies. "Bad" means, painful, scary, messy and gross. "Really" means, "come on, tell it to me straight—I can take it." OK, here it is, straight up. Most women find labor to be the most painful experience they've ever been through. On a scale of one to ten, one being almost no pain and ten being the most possible most will tell you that labor (before an epidural) becomes a ten.

Finding Dr. Right

Locating a great pediatrician can take time and patience, so it’s a good idea to start while you are still pregnant. Considering that this potentially is the person who will guide your child’s care for the next 18 years, the effort is well worth it.

Baby Bump Etiquette Check

More often than not, you'll find that a protruding belly incites unsolicited comments and advice, unwanted touches (especially the infamous “belly pats”) and the telling of pregnancy war stories by other mothers who’ve “been there.” But just because you’re about to be a mom doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to set personal boundaries, says Ginger Gabriel, Ph.D., a family therapist in Lake Gregory, Calif. Here are some tips to help you make it through these 40 weeks with grace.

Say What?

Prevention of a Premature Birth Starts Early

Most pregnant women assume their babies will arrive right around their due date, give or take a week or so. Although that’s usually the case, a growing number of babies are being born prematurely, at fewer than 37 weeks gestation. Between 1981 and 2001, there was a 27 percent increase, to about 476,000 births per year.  Currently, premature births in the United States account for 1 of every 8 births, according to the CDC.   

Born Too Soon

When Karen Dressler went in for a routine ultrasound in her 26th week of pregnancy, she expected nothing but great news. The Manhattan Beach, Calif., nursing director was pregnant with her first baby and felt terrific. But her doctor found that Dressler’s uterus contained excessive amniotic fluid and that she was having 15 barely perceptible contractions an hour. Dressler was ordered to bed and given medications to try to stop her contractions and to reduce the amount of fluid.

Do You Need A Doula?

Wouldn’t it be great if someone you trust volunteered to be on hand — even sleep on your couch — in case you went into labor in the middle of the night? What if that same person offered to walk in the woods with you in the last weeks of your pregnancy or adjusted her vacation plans to be with you during your baby’s birth?

My doula (pronounced doo-lah), Sue Ann Higgens, did all this and more when I was expecting my first child.

Love Your Baby Doc

1. Quiz your OB-GYN.
Consider your obstetrician an inside source, says pediatrician Charlotte Cowan, M.D., a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "Obstetricians get feedback from new mothers, and they also watch how babies are cared for by pediatricians in the hospital nursery."

2. Ask about affiliations. If possible, choose a pediatrician who can see your baby where you plan to deliver. Meanwhile, association with a major medical center can ease your stress should emergencies or the need for specialized care arise.

Preparing for Sibling


Toddlers have very little patience and even less of a concept of time, so try to wait until four to eight weeks before your due date to discuss the new baby. But if you're showing a lot and she starts asking questions, you might have to talk about it earlier.

Kick Counts


Movement is an excellent indicator of a fetus's well-being, and doing a kick count not only helps you feel confident that your baby is healthy, it also yields helpful information for your doctor. It's easy to do:Simply choose the time of day when your baby is most active and count his kicks (or pokes or roll-arounds). You should be able to detect about 10 movements within an hour; they may all happen within a few minutes, or they may go on throughout the hour. Note that the intensity of movement may change with time due to the fetus's constricted space.