A Dad's Guide to Pregnancy in the Third Trimester

What the Dad-To-Be Can Expect

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Once your pregnant partner gets to the third trimester, many soon-to-be dads wonder what to expect. 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 slowly as the anticipation builds and your partner grows an ever-increasing belly. Let's look at what the third trimester has in store for your baby, your partner, and you.

Baby's 3rd Trimester Development

A lot will be happening with your baby's development during these last few months. This is what's going on inside the womb from weeks 28 through 40.

  • 28 weeks: The baby is now covered with vernix, a greasy substance that protects the baby from the amniotic 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 fully 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

As the baby's size increases, most women experience a certain amount of discomfort and fatigue. 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, care, and compassion during this time can make all the difference.

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Moms Share What to Expect in the Third Trimester

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:

  • Don't forget to take care of your own health, particularly by getting enough sleep. Eating a balanced diet, being well rested, and exercising can also help minimize stress, making you a better partner.​​
  • Familiarize yourself with the signs of labor so that you'll know when it's time to go to the hospital.
  • Helping to devise a birthing plan with your partner can make you feel a part of the process and let you know your partner's wishes. Joining in this process can give you an idea of what will happen, what you will see, and how you can best support your partner during labor.
  • If you have concerns about the birth or the health of your baby, talk to your partner, friends, family members, or your doctor to get your questions answered. Getting support from others for yourself can help you be better able to provide optimal support to your partner.
  • Take time to enjoy the last pre-baby weeks with your partner. A huge change is coming to your relationship, so savor and reinforce the bond you have before baby makes three.
  • Watch videos of births, either on your own or during childbirth classes. Know that labor and delivery don't always go as expected. Seeing a variety of births will help you be ready for anything.

A Word From Verywell

It's normal to feel anxious about becoming a father and to be worried about the birth and how it will go for your partner and baby. Remember, while it can be overwhelming or scary, millions of women give birth every day, and for many men, becoming a dad is one of the greatest joys of life.

If you're having trouble coping with these coming changes, talk to your partner. Communication is the key to sharing and finding solutions. Most of all, enjoy your new role as ​a dad!

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