What to expect during your third trimester

Congratulations on reaching this exciting stage of your journey toward motherhood!

The third trimester marks the home stretch as you prepare to welcome your baby into this world. We know that you may have questions and concerns, and we will be here to provide you with care, support, and expertise every step of the way.

Pregnant couple sitting together

What happens during the third trimester?

The third trimester is from week 27 to the end of your pregnancy. During this time, your baby will continue to grow in size and weight. It is normal if you start to feel a bit more uncomfortable as you continue to gain weight. You may begin to have false labor contractions, called Braxton Hicks contractions. These contractions last around 30 seconds, are irregular, and not painful. Remember that this is not a sign that labor has begun.

During this final trimester, your baby’s bones are fully formed, and their organs are capable of functioning on their own. As you near your due date, their body should turn southwards into a head-down position for birth.

What to expect during your third-trimester appointments

You will have the following visits during your third trimester:

  • 30 to 34 weeks: Your provider and care team will share what it means to have your baby in a Baby-Friendly® designated hospital, explain terms like “rooming in” and “skin to skin,” and share breastfeeding resources. Contraception options for after the baby is born will be discussed. If you are considering postpartum sterilization, this is the time to fill out a consent form. Education on “kick counts” will be given, as well as how to recognize preterm labor signs and what to do if you experience them.
  • 36 weeks: Your provider may perform a pelvic exam to confirm the position of your baby. A group B strep test will also be done at this visit. Please bring your completed birth plan from your MyChart account to discuss with your provider, including pain management for labor and after delivery, the postpartum period, and mood changes.
  • 38 weeks: Your provider will discuss potential indications for C-section and operative delivery. A cervical check will be performed if indicated.
  • 39 to 40 weeks: Your provider will perform a cervical check. They will also review signs of labor and what to expect if you pass your expected due date.

Your third-trimester checklist

Here is a checklist for some third-trimester considerations:

  • Discuss your birth preferences with your provider, and create a birth plan that considers pain management, delivery positions, and any special requests you may have. You can do this directly in your MyChart account
  • Take a tour of the hospital or birthing center where you plan to deliver. View tours of our birthing units
  • Purchase or gather all the necessary items you need for your baby’s arrival, including clothing, diapers, feeding supplies, and a safe car seat. Learn more about car seat safety.
  • Talk to your employer about maternity leave plans, and make any necessary arrangements with your workplace
  • Bring any necessary paperwork from your employer, such as Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms, to your appointments. Your provider will assist you in completing the required documentation
  • Prepare a hospital bag with essentials for your hospital stay, including comfortable clothes, toiletries, nursing bras, snacks, and items for your baby, like clothes, diapers, and a receiving blanket
  • If you plan to breastfeed, consider attending a breastfeeding class or seek information and support from one of our lactation consultants. Learn more about our breastfeeding classes
  • If you plan to bottle-feed, make sure you have the necessary supplies and formula on hand
  • Enroll in our childbirth classes to learn about labor, breathing techniques, relaxation exercises, and infant care. Learn more about our childbirth classes
  • Register for our pelvic floor and core during pregnancy class
  • Explore and educate yourself about post-delivery administration, such as birth certificates, social security numbers, and health insurance enrollment for your newborn
  • Consider if you notice any extreme feelings of guilt or hopelessness, which can occur before, during, or after the birth of your child, and reach out for help. Learn more

Remember that every pregnancy is unique, and it’s important to discuss any specific concerns or questions that you may have during the third trimester with your provider.

Create a MyChart account

As part of your care during pregnancy, we encourage you to create a MyChart account.

You can also download the MyChart app through the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Your MyChart account has specific pregnancy features, including:  

  • Tracking the growth of your baby week by week during pregnancy and seeing which fruit size is comparable to your baby’s current development 
  • Completing your birth plan and saving it to your medical chart 
  • Maintaining a list of tasks for you to complete to prepare for your baby 

This account will also allow you to see test results, email your provider, refill prescriptions, request appointments, and see office visit notes. 

Your MyChart account will provide these benefits beyond your pregnancy and connect you with all of your Spectrum Health providers.

We’re here to help you understand what happens during your pregnancy journey

You may have many questions about this final trimester of your pregnancy. We are committed to providing you with comprehensive answers and resources to make you feel as confident and comfortable as possible.  

Refer to our Question Guide for things that you may want to ask your provider during your appointments. 

Refer to our FAQ page for commonly asked questions and answers.


Financial support and assistance

We recognize that planning a pregnancy can feel overwhelming on its own without the additional burden of financial concerns. We are committed to helping you in any way we can, including offering financial support and assistance to those who are eligible.

Breastfeeding support

As a Baby-Friendly® organization, we support mothers who want to breastfeed. Our breastfeeding experts will help you understand the steps to a successful breastfeeding and bonding experience. Each of our registered nurses in the family birth centers has been trained to support mothers during breastfeeding, and many are even certified breastfeeding counselors.

Woman holding new baby

We also have lactation consultants or lactation peer counselors available to help you. You can get free breastfeeding support and coaching with a lactation expert using a secure video connection.

Call our lactation warmline at 616.391.9437 to schedule an appointment.

Experiencing an emergency?

If you are experiencing anything unusual or a medical emergency, please contact your provider immediately.