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Development Before Birth: The Third Trimester
The big day is very close now. The last few months probably feel like they’ve flown by. Here is some of what you can expect in the final weeks:

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24 Weeks +

At this stage your baby will be about 12 inches long and weight almost 2lb. Virtually all of her brain cells are present. Many of the connections between these cells aren’t yet ’wired up’ but the ones she needs for her basic bodily functions, such as sleeping, feeding, breathing, digesting, blood pumping and so on, will be there by the time she is born as well as those that control actions like gripping and walking.

25 Weeks +

She is getting more and more active. You will find that she reacts to nearby sounds, such as voices around you or music you may be listening to, and to the way your body moves. If you start the water running for your evening bath she will know what is about to happen and may start to kick around freely. Recognising the sound of the water running shows that she can remember sounds so it’s a good time for daddy to start talking to her so that his voice too will be recognised at birth.

28 Weeks +

She will probably be awake and active for about 2 ½ hours a day now and, by 40 weeks, this rises to about 3 ¾ hours a day. There are indications she is sensitive to touch and pain as, for example, she will move away from a needle prick but will move towards touch.

The Final Months:

This is a key stage of her development that will see her gain about 5lbs and grow more than 7 inches. As she takes up more space in the womb she has less room to move around which reduces her kicking but, unfortunately, may increase your chance of backache! Another reason why she moves around less now is that the ’stop’ mechanisms in her brain are developing. In earlier weeks she would easily have easily been able to start kicking but wouldn’t have been able to stop at will so it would have been that she would have started a new activity, such as sleeping, that would have caused her to stop.

How You Can Help:

* Although you may be having difficulty in sleeping comfortably, you should still make time during the day to rest. Sit with your feet up for a while and relax.
* Talk to your baby. Your voice will certainly be familiar to her and when she’s born she will show more interest in your voice than anyone else’s. In her first few days she will move in time to the rhythm of your speech, something she probably does in the womb too, and if daddy has regularly spoken to ’bump’ she is likely to recognise his voice too.
* Follow any advice given to you by your health advisor carefully and don’t be scared to ask questions!