Dad's Guide to Pregnancy: The Third Trimester

What the Dad-To-Be Can Expect in the Third Trimester

man and pregnant woman on couch
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Congratulations, you've made it through to the third trimester! This is the period of time from about the 28th week of pregnancy until the delivery of the baby. These final weeks can seem to go by so slowly as the anticipation builds. Let's look at what the third trimester has in store for you, your partner and the baby.

Baby's Development in the Third Trimester

A lot will be happening with your baby's development during these last few months.

This is what's going on inside the womb during weeks 28 through 40.

  • 28 weeks: The baby is now covered with a substance called vernix, a greasy substance that protects the baby from the fluid that surrounds it in the womb. The baby's body has grown to catch up with the size of its head. The baby is now able to live, with specialized care, if it is born early.
  • 32 weeks: The baby is perfectly formed, if a bit thin. During the next few weeks, it will gain body fat, its lungs will mature, and male babies' testicles will descend into the scrotum.
  • 38 to 40 weeks: The baby's head will move into position in the pelvis, ready to be born.

Mom's Experience in the Third Trimester

As the baby's size increases, most women experience a certain amount of discomfort. The baby's weight and its more vigorous movements can cause them a number of physical problems, including aching backs, heartburn, restlessness, frequent trips to the bathroom, and sleepless nights.

Providing support during this time can make all the difference.

How Dads Can Prepare for Birth

Plans you make and things you check off your list in the upcoming months before your baby is born can help you be better prepared. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Helping to devise a birthing plan with your partner can make you feel a part of things. It can give you an idea about what will happen, what you will see, and the choices you can make to make it a happy, exciting birth.
  • You may want to prepare yourself by seeing a video of a birth during childbirth classes.
  • If you have concerns about the birth or the health of your baby, it can be a good idea to have a good friend, a family member, or your doctor to talk to. Get support from others and be supportive to your partner.
  • Don't forget to take care of your own health: Eating a balanced diet and exercising can help minimize stress and make you a better partner.
  • Assess your financial assets and think about what kind of obligations you'll have once the baby is born. Early planning can help soften the financial blow of fatherhood.

It's normal to feel anxious about becoming a father. But remember, for most men, becoming a dad is one of the greatest joys of life. If you're having trouble, talk your partner. Communication is the key to sharing and finding solutions. Most of all, enjoy your new role as dad

For more information to prepare for pregnancy, read about the first trimester and second trimester.

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