Dad, you've made it through two-thirds of this pregnancy supporting and encouraging your partner. Now is the time for that final push (pun intended) to the day you will be holding your little baby. ?

The basics

The third trimester spans from the beginning of week 28 through delivery, usually around 40 weeks.

What's happening with baby

Your baby, now proportioned like a newborn, spends the third trimester growing and getting ready for the outside world. From 30 weeks on, your kiddo will gain about half a pound per week.

By 33 weeks: Around this time your baby practices breathing and is finishing the development needed for his or her first breath of air.

By 35 weeks: Your little one now sleeps with his or her eyes closed and has coordinated reflexes. The kidneys are fully developed, and fat stores are continuing to accumulate in the arms, legs and abdomen.

By 36 weeks: Baby's physical development is essentially complete, and during the next four weeks he or she will continue to work on gaining weight and storing fat. These fat stores are very important, as they will help the baby regulate his or her temperature outside the womb.

What's happening with mama

Motherhood looms closer every day for your partner, and that feeling is both physical and emotional. As baby continues to grow, so must your partner's body. Stretch marks, weight gain, and swollen hands and feet are all common during the third trimester.

The recommended weight gain during pregnancy for woman who starts at a healthy weight is 30 pounds. This increasing weight can lead to increased back and leg pain, fatigue and difficulty with sleep.

Heartburn, constipation and hemorrhoids are all common and uncomfortable experiences that increase during the third trimester as well.

On the emotional side, you may notice your partner's “mommy" instincts kick in as she starts nesting—making sure the nursery is set up, cleaning the house and washing all the baby clothes.

You can also anticipate the “I can't wait for this pregnancy to be over" phase from your partner. Use this time as a couple to finish all the little projects around the house, and to make sure that you are both ready for the big day.

What's happening with you

The third trimester marks the final chapter in you and your partner's pregnancy journey. The story ends with you installing the carseat and taking home a tiny human who you'll love more deeply than you have ever imagined.

The third trimester is your last chance to polish up your dad skills before baby comes.

Helping set up the crib and folding tiny clothes are great ways to bond with your partner. It's also a great idea to take a birth class together.

Walk into a hospital, see the labor rooms, check out all the gadgets your partner will be hooked up to and get a general idea of what labor will be like. Many dads are surprised about the labor process. Take this time to be prepared to help your partner on your baby's birth day. (Spoiler: Labor usually takes longer than you will expect, childbirth isn't at all glamorous and you will think your partner is an absolute rock star when everything is said and done.)

You've made it through this pregnancy as your partner's right-hand man. Next step, fatherhood. ?

Join Motherly

Having a newborn is challenging at the best of times, but during forced isolation and in a climate of fear and uncertainty, it can become overwhelming.

The coronavirus pandemic is setting up our communities for genuine mental health concerns. This may be especially true for new parents. When will 'normal' life return? How will I pay for diapers and baby food? Will my mom be able to help us now? What if my baby or my family get COVID-19? Unfortunately, no one knows the long-term impact or answers just yet.

Most families have built a network of social support by the time they have their first child—if they don't already have a support system, they develop one through various baby classes and groups set up for parents. The creation of the village can be instrumental to the mental health of new parents. Social distancing, the lockdown of cities, and isolation will inadvertently affect the type of support available.

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