Malini had a colourful and flamboyant balcony. No, not like it was having a fling with the neighbour’s balcony or was two-timing the adjacent balcony with the one across! It was literally colourful and flamboyant: teeming with a riot of plants laden with vegetables. Pots lined the railing and others hung from hooks.
While fondling the ripening tomatoes in her balcony garden, Malini said,
‘The third trimester of pregnancy felt special: everything was getting real!’
‘I know,’ Ritu squealed, as she helped Malini pluck the beans.
‘As one crosses the 36th week mark, the foetus is a 'baby' as we know it. It is growing in in size and weight: its lungs are maturing, and it is assuming the head-down position to get ready for birth. By the end of the third trimester, it could grow to 21 inches long and weigh about 6 to 9 pounds.’
‘Doesn’t the mother feel overwhelmed?’
‘Not really! Though I did look like this,’ Malini held up the pumpkin growing in a pot and made a face.
Ritu pulled a chair and sat down.
‘My mother tells me she had bad varicose veins when she was expecting me.’
‘Yes,’, Malini continued, ‘there are many changes in the third trimester that women deal with.
Fluid retention, causing the ankles, hands, and face to puff up.
Increased in temperature as the foetus radiates body heat, causing you to feel hot.
You might get more body hair. Also, this hair may also feel coarser.
Leg cramps may happen more often.
Dry, itchy skin especially on the stomach may continue.
False labour (Braxton-Hicks contractions) come in to prepare thebody. Sometimes, they can feel so real that you rush to the hospital.
Colostrum may start to leak from your nipples.
Skin pigmentation may become more apparent. You may have dark patches of skin on your face.
White-coloured vaginal discharge (leukorrhea) may increase and contain more mucus.
Haemorrhoids may continue and get worse.
Need to urinate more often because of increased pressure on the bladder.
Backaches may continue and get worse. If you’ve been doing your yoga right through, the results will pay very well now!
‘That’s a lot’, Ritu’s eyes had narrowed like the lady’s fingers.
‘This is just an overall list, Ritu. All women don’t get all of these!’
‘That’s a relief’, Ritu popped a tiny tomato in her mouth.
Malini saw that a creeper had twirled around the neighbour’s cable TV wire in an unholy union. Such bold behaviour right under their noses! She untwined it and brought it back to its legal and rightful pole.
‘Ritu, the mum’s belly feels really big towards the end of the third trimester but that doesn’t mean that the baby is fully developed. The brain is continuing to develop, the kidneys and lungs are continuing to mature.
The bones of the skull stay soft to make it easier to pass through the birth canal. By 38 to 40 weeks, the foetus' lanugo (body hair) has gone. And, by 38 to 40 weeks, the lungs have matured completely.’
The women picked watering cans to water the plants: the plants’ babies also needed nourishment!
‘At least, they don’t go through labour!’, the ladies smiled at the plants.