What To Expect In The Last 10 Weeks Of Pregnancy

The last 10 weeks of pregnancy are a time of anticipation and excitement for pregnant women.

You should feel accomplished that you survived the tender breasts, morning sickness, and sleepiness at the end of your first trimester. You also survived the pregnancy hormones (hello mood swings!) and constant changes to your body in your second trimester.

You have come a long way and have almost reached the end, so be proud of yourself mama!

Pro Tip: Still in the early stages of pregnancy? Find out what happens closer to the halfway mark.

It is the last chapter in your journey before you finally get to meet the little one who has been growing inside you for so long!

Pregnant mother in her last third trimester holding her belly. What to expect in the last 10 weeks of pregnancy. Mommy Maker Teacher
What To Expect Last 10 Weeks Of Pregnancy

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Especially if this is your first pregnancy, you will have lots of questions about what to expect during these last 10 weeks. Here’s what happens:

Physical Changes For The Mother

In the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, there are many physical changes for the mother.

Pregnancy Weight Gain

One of these is pregnancy weight gain, which generally happens at a rate of about one pound per week during this last stage in pregnancy.

The baby is growing and needs more nutrition from your body, and that means you will most likely start packing on some pounds. This increase in weight can be pretty uncomfortable to deal with, so it is important to listen to your body and get plenty of rest during this time.

I also choose to use a belly support band (this is the one I have and has lasted through 2 pregnancies!) to combat the backaches and round ligament pains that come along with the weight gain.

How much weight you’ve gained shouldn’t be your focus during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, but rather maintaining a healthy diet.

To maintain a healthy diet in the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, you should aim to eat plenty of the best foods like fruits, vegetables (don’t skip the leafy greens), and whole grains. You should also make sure you are getting enough protein and calcium. And lastly, it is important to drink lots of fluids – especially water!

Frequent Urination

You might have thought you were peeing a lot before–but once you get into your 3rd trimester, frequent urination increases dramatically!

This is because your uterus is placing pressure on your bladder, causing you to have to go more often.

This can be particularly difficult for women who are pregnant during the summertime because it’s hot outside and you don’t want to dehydrate yourself by drinking tons of water, but it is so important to drink enough fluids!

Round Ligament Pain

As your uterus puts more pressure on your round ligaments (the ligaments that attach the uterus to the ovaries and fallopian tubes), you might start experiencing some pain in your lower abdomen. This is called round ligament pain, and it can last throughout pregnancy, but gets worse as you get closer to delivery day.

Round ligament pain can feel like a sharp, stabbing abdominal pain, and it can also be accompanied by a pulling sensation. It is generally not harmful to experience this type of pain, but if it becomes too severe or constant, you should speak to your healthcare provider. Along with that, if you have any vaginal bleeding at any time during your pregnancy, you must seek medical treatment immediately.

Changes In Your Breasts

One last thing about physical changes in the last weeks of pregnancy: your breasts are starting to prepare for the production of breastmilk.

Some signs that your breasts are preparing for breast milk production are an increase in breast size, your nipples becoming darker, the veins on your breasts becoming more visible, and breastmilk leaking from your nipples. All of this is normal and to be expected in the last weeks of pregnancy!

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Last 10 weeks of pregnancy. What to expect and how to prepare for delivery. Woman and partner holding her pregnanct belly in the third trimester.
Last 10 Weeks Of Pregnancy

Developmental changes for the baby

At 30 weeks of gestation, your baby will be about the size of a honeydew melon by the end of this week.

The baby’s skin is thin and translucent, and you can see the veins just below the surface. The lanugo (the soft, downy hair that covers your baby’s body) is starting to disappear, although some babies will be born with a little bit of it still on.

Your baby’s brain is growing rapidly, and while the baby’s lungs are still maturing, by 34 weeks the baby will have largely completed this process. Your baby’s eyes are still closed, but the eyelids are thinning and will soon open.

Your baby’s internal organs are also maturing, and the baby’s digestive system is starting to function. The baby’s kidneys are now able to produce urine, and the baby has started swallowing amniotic fluid (which will later be excreted as meconium).

Fetal movements should be getting stronger–ouch!

And you may notice jerky movements which might actually be your little one having hiccups.

As you get closer to your due date, the baby moves to a head-down position, and the head is now in line with your pelvis.

In the last few weeks before delivery, the baby will move down into the birthing canal. This process, called “lightning” or “dropping”, causes a number of physical changes in the mother, including shortness of breath, an increase in pressure on the bladder and bowels, and lower back pain.

Signs That Labor Is Coming Soon

You might be wondering when your baby will finally arrive. In the last few days and weeks, before you deliver, you will notice some signs that labor is coming soon.

Some signs that labor is near are: your water breaking, bloody show (light bleeding mixed with mucous), increased vaginal discharge, and the baby’s head moving down into the pelvis.

You might also notice increasing contractions over these last few weeks before labor starts–these are called Braxton-Hicks or practice contractions. These can be uncomfortable, but they do not last long, aren’t consistent (you can’t time them every 5 minutes apart, say), and go away altogether with rest and fluids.

Mom Tip: Regular contractions are a sign of early labor. Make sure to pay attention to the timing and frequency of your contractions.

Your cervix becomes thin and long, which is called effacement. Your body starts producing a lot of the hormone estrogen right before labor begins, which helps your cervix to soften and become thinner.

How To Prepapre For Your Baby’s Arrival In The Last 10 Weeks Of Pregnancy

Pro Tip: You might be more tired toward the end of the third trimester, so it will be more difficult to prepare for the arrival of your little one. It is best to try and get big tasks like setting up the nursery and having your baby shower around the halfway mark of your pregnancy when your energy levels are at their highest.

One way to prepare for a baby’s arrival in the last 10 weeks of pregnancy is by getting your home ready.

It’s a good time to make sure that you have everything the new family needs, like diapers, wipes, clothes, a car seat, bedding, a place for the baby to sleep, and so on.

You should also make sure that you have all of the postpartum essentials that you will need on hand when you get home from the hospital like comfortable postpartum clothing and recovery products like postpartum padsicles.

Creating A Birth Plan

Preparing a birth plan is an important step toward the end of your pregnancy.

You should familiarize yourself with the birthing process (these are my favorite pregnancy books).

Once you have an idea of what you want your birth to look like, you should communicate that with your partner (or whoever will be in the delivery room with you) and your doctor.

You can jot down your ideas on a sheet of paper or write yourself a note on your phone, or you can use a template if you’re not sure where to start. You can find tons of birth plan templates online (this is the one that I used). You can also talk about your birth plan with your health care provider.

Especially if this is your first time delivering a baby, it’s a good idea to have a general plan for the birth, whether it be a vaginal delivery or c-section.

My birth plan was pretty basic, I only filled out some of the general information on the template. I had a few must-haves (like skin-to-skin and breastfeeding) but I left a lot open as I wanted to be prepared for any medical interventions that were necessary.

Ultimately, I ended up being induced and the process wasn’t anything like what I was expecting. I’m glad that I had a birth plan going into it, but I’m also glad that I wasn’t tied to very specific birthing requests because it was easier to be flexible throughout the actual process.

Prenatal Care

Make sure you are attending your prenatal doctor’s appointments and keep taking your prenatal vitamins  There seem to be a million doctor’s appointments toward the end of pregnancy, but it is so important to go to all of them to make sure you and your baby are headed for safe delivery.

In the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, your doctor will closely monitor your blood pressure and blood sugar. They will also do a final ultrasound to check the baby’s weight and position.

The last 10 weeks of pregnancy are a very exciting–ok, and nerve-wracking–time. Do your best to prepare as much as you can, and know that you are going to meet your tiny newborn baby in just a few short weeks!

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I am the founder of Mommy Maker Teacher and a mom of two toddlers. With a degree in education, 12+ years of experience as a K-12 teacher and curriculum developer, and courses in childhood psychology and language acquisition, I share research-backed parenting tips and advice. I provide helpful content for moms on all stages of motherhood—from trying to conceive and pregnancy to postpartum, breastfeeding, and parenting.