Third Trimester

This trimester can be the most difficult. You know the baby is almost here; waiting can be hard.

  • The baby should be moving daily. If you’re concerned about how much your baby’s moving, see the Fetal Activity Chart.
  • You should be taking Lamaze (childbirth prep classes) and/or breastfeeding classes.
  • You will have occasional back pain and low abdomen pain (stretching and pulling). If you have questions about your pains, don’t hesitate to ask.
  • The last month can be especially uncomfortable, but nature knows when labor should begin. Try to relax and enjoy this special time.

Now is the time to consider which provider you would like to care for your newborn. If you are undecided at the time of delivery, you may request a Christie Clinic pediatrician or family practitioner on call.

PEDIATRICS – Learn more about the Department of Pediatrics Team

Windsor (Champaign)




FAMILY MEDICINE  — Learn more about the Dept. of Family Medicine Team

Windsor (Champaign)

Danville on Vermilion






St. Joseph

Third Trimester: Educational Courses

Christie Clinic, Carle Foundation Hospital, and OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Champaign offer a wide variety of courses to prepare you and your family for your new baby. The following is a list of available classes:

Christie Clinic

  • Breastfeeding
  • Childbirth Prep
  • Infant CPR

Carle Foundation Hospital

  • Wonders of Babies
  • Postpartum Adjustment: the Fourth Trimester
  • Care of the Newborn
  • Infant Illness
  • Infant Massage
  • Aquatic Exercise Class

OSF HealthCare
Heart of Mary Medical Center, Champaign
877-737-info (4636)

  • Siblings Class
  • A Father’s Perspective
  • Infant & Child CPR
  • Childbirth Education Series
  • Feeding your Baby

Third Trimester: Advanced Pregnancy

Entering your third trimester is an exciting milestone in your pregnancy. Now that you’re coming to the end of your journey, please be aware of the information below.

Your baby is now approximately 14-15 inches long and weighs two-and-a-half pounds. Over the next 3 months, the baby will gain 4 1/2-7 pounds and 4-6 inches.

Your office appointments will increase to one visit every two weeks, and eventually weekly, unless otherwise determined by your provider.

Your provider may order an additional ultrasound to evaluate growth or position.

If you have not already done so, sign up for our childbirth education and breastfeeding classes. Our receptionists are happy to schedule appointments and provide you with dates, times, and availability.Preregistration forms for Carle Foundation Hospital or OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Champaign should be filled out and sent in by the time you are 36 weeks pregnant.


  • If you are more than a month from your due date and you are having more than 4 contractions an hour.
  • If your water breaks.
  • If you experience heavy bleeding (menses).
  • Decreased fetal movement.

Third Trimester: Early Labor Warning Signs (Prior to 36 Weeks)

  • These signs may be normal, but if you experience any of them, contact your provider.
  • Regular tightening of the uterus or belly four to six times per hour. It may feel like the baby is “balling up.”
  • “Period-like” cramps that come and go or happen constantly. You may also feel pain in your back.
  • A low, dull backache that feels differently than previous backaches.
  • Pressure or pain in the lower belly, back, or upper legs.
  • Heavy drainage from the vagina or birth opening that feels or looks like water, mucus, or blood.
  • If you are worried and feel like “something is not right.”


  • Go to the bathroom and empty your bladder.
  • Drink two to three large glasses of water.
  • Lay down on your side for one hour.

If you are still experiencing early labor signs, call your provider or nurse midwife immediately.

Third Trimester: Required Pregnancy Laboratory Tests

Throughout your pregnancy, certain blood and urine tests will be needed. The following is a brief description of third trimester tests and why they’re required. For more information, contact your provider’s office.

Third trimester (28-40 weeks)

  • At approximately 28 weeks, the following tests are ordered:
  • CBC (complete blood count): Detects possible anemia.
  • RPR: Screens for syphilis; required by the State of Illinois.
  • Glucose load (50 grams): Screens for diabetes.
  • Antibody screen: Required for Rh negative patients.

At approximately 36 weeks gestation, the following test is ordered:

  • Vaginal culture for BETA Strep Group B—This screens for Group B Strep, a bacterial infection that can be found in a woman’s vagina or rectum and can be passed along to the baby during vaginal birth or cesarean section.


There has been persistent increases in pertussis (whooping cough) disease in the United States. As a result of this, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology supports the recommendations of the CDC, Center for Disease Control and the Prevention’s Advisory Committee that all pregnant women should be immunized with tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis (Tdap) during each pregnancy regardless of the patient’s prior history of receiving Tdap. The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology follows the recommendation and offers the vaccine to all pregnant women at 28 weeks of pregnancy. It is further recommended that members of your household or any direct caregivers of your newborn contact their physician’s office for Tdap immunization.

Urine SpecimenAt each appointment, a urine sample is required to check sugar and protein levels. Specimen containers are available at the reception desk. Give your specimen to the medical office assistant when you go into the exam room.

Testing is available at:

  • Christie Clinic on University: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Christie Clinic on Windsor: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.Saturday 8-10 a.m.
  • Christie Clinic in Mahomet: Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-4 p.m.Friday 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Christie Clinic in Tuscola: Monday-Friday 8:15 a.m.-11:15 a.m.

Third Trimester: Comfort Measures

28 to 40 weeks

Indigestion, heartburn Eat slowly and more frequently. Chew gum after eating. Eat something dry before bed.
Hemorrhoids Avoid constipation and straining. Lie with a pillow under your buttocks; apply ice or cold witch hazel to the painful area.
Insomnia Normal. Take a warm bath or drink warm milk before bed. Music, a dull book, and relaxation exercises will also help.
Joint pain Occurs with swelling, especially in the fingers. Pain in your hips occurs as joints relax before delivery. Exercise and get plenty of rest.
Backache The result of stretching ligaments and the weight of the baby. Tighten your lower abdominal muscles or wear a pelvic support belt. Pelvic tilt exercises may also help.
Incontinence Urinate constantly. Do pelvic floor muscle exercises. DO NOT stop drinking fluids.

Third Trimester: FAQs

1. Can I use a nurse midwife for my delivery?
We currently have three nurse midwives available for low-risk deliveries. 

2. Do I have a choice of where I deliver?
Christie Clinic is proud to be the first multi-specialty group in the Champaign-Urbana area to offer patients choices for delivery. When choosing Carle Foundation Hospital or OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Champaign, we recommend that you consider your insurance coverage. Some companies have preferred providers, which could affect the level of coverage at one location versus another.


3. Can I bring a video camera to the hospital?
You may choose to bring a camera and/or video recorder to the hospital. However, we ask that no picture taking or videotaping occur until the doctor has left the labor suite after delivery. 

4. If I am not familiar with Carle Foundation Hospital or OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Champaign, can I get more information?
To schedule a tour or for more information on Carle Hospital, call 383.6962.For more information on OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Champaign, call 337.2122. 

5. Should I be concerned about high blood pressure?
If high blood pressure goes undetected, it could lead to potential complications. However, if it’s treated early, you should have nothing to worry about. Your provider will monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis to avoid any potential health hazards. 

6. Is it normal for my breasts to leak?
Yes. Most women begin to notice a yellowish fluid, called colostrum, during the last stages of pregnancy. If you experience this, use disposable breast pads inside your bra. 

7. How do I reduce body swelling?
As your body prepares for labor, it takes on more fluid,causing different parts to swell. To help relieve some of the swelling, drink water, avoid salt, elevate your feet, and rest.

Third Trimester: Fetal Activity Patterns

Beginning around week 18, you’ll feel the first signs of your baby’s activity pattern. By monitoring your baby’s movements throughout your pregnancy, you’ll provide us with important information about your baby’s health. Just follow the instructions below, and record your daily information on the provided charts. If you have any questions or concerns, please give us a call.

Monitoring Your Baby’s Movement (After 28 Weeks)
 • Determine the time of day that your baby is most active. For many women, this typically occurs after eating.

  • Rest on your left side.
  • Place your hand on your belly, and count the movements (kicks, flutters, rolls) up to 10.

If you don’t have 6-10 fetal movements in one hour, count for one more hour. If, after two hours, your baby has not moved 6-10 times, call your Christie provider during office hours. On weekends and after office hours, please go to the hospital of your choice.

Third Trimester: Things to Purchase

It’s almost time to make room for one more person in your family. Are you ready? Below, you’ll find a basic list of items to purchase during your third trimester. Remember, it’s not too late to register at your favorite stores so friends and family will know exactly what to get.

  • Breast pump
  • Extra breast pump membranes
  • Lanolin cream
  • Breast shield
  • Soft shells
  • Nipple shields
  • Disposable nursing bra pads
  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Nursing bras
  • Micro-steam bags
  • Stroller
  • Baby monitor
  • Nursing pillow
  • Changing table
  • Car seat
  • Diapers/diaper bag
  • Parenting books

Third Trimester: Labor Induction

Labor induction is only considered if it improves the baby’s and the mother’s health during delivery. Labor induction is accomplished by administering medication and/or by artificial rupture of membranes.Labor induction is considered with the following conditions:

  • Hypertension in pregnancy
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Post maturity/past due date
  • Ruptured membranes for more than 24 hours
  • Prolonged labor or slow progress
  • Change in baby’s health

If you’re going to be induced, your doctor’s office will schedule a date and time to report to Carle Foundation Hospital or OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Champaign. If you have not already done so, please call Carle Hospital at 383-3031 or OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Champaign at 337-2122 to preregister.

Occasionally, due to a high volume of deliveries, it may be necessary to reschedule your induction. Please call the labor and delivery staff one hour before your arrival time to confirm the time. When you arrive at Carle Foundation Hospital, go directly to the Labor and Delivery area, report to the receptionist, and let her know that you are going to be induced.

At OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Champaign, go directly to Labor and Delivery and let them know that you are ready to be induced. Eat lightly (e.g. juice, cereal, toast) before you come for induction. If you have gestational diabetes, bring your supplies with you, and continue to check your sugars. When you are admitted, the nurse will review your history and prenatal record, check your vital signs, and monitor the baby.

In order to stimulate uterine contractions, an intravenous infusion with Pitocin® may be used. Your contractions and your baby’s heart rate will be monitored throughout the procedure. Continue to change positions frequently, and practice relaxation techniques.

After your cervix has dilated, your doctor may artificially rupture your amniotic sac to induce or stimulate labor. You will be monitored at the time of rupture and frequently during labor. Again, continue to change positions, and practice relaxation techniques.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call Christie Clinic’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at 217-366-1255, Carle Foundation Hospital’s Labor and Delivery unit at 217-383-3305, or OSF HealthCare Heart of Mary Medical Center in Champaign’s Labor and Delivery unit at 217-337-2122.