Episode 37 – Education – The Third Trimester

The Third Trimester refers to the last 13 weeks of a 40 week pregnancy. This episode shares contacts and resources, and unpacks the idea (by Psychologist Sarah-Jayne Duryea) that “Babies are gestated in the mind as well as the body

Psychologists mentioned in this episode:

Queensland – Narelle Dickinson at Lotus Health and Psychology

New South Wales – Katrina Hale

Victoria – Sarah-Jayne Duryea at HappyMinds

Katrina Hale’s podcast on the Third Trimester in the Resources section of her website.

Also by Katrina:

Surrogacy birth planning with your hospital 

Surrogate Post Birth Emotional Needs – A Guide for Intended Parents

Pair this episode with episode 41 – The Fourth Trimester.


This page is part of a series of surrogacy education episodes from Anna. On the main podcast page you will find recent episodes and links to other categories: surrogates, gay dads, straight mums and guest / theme.

Join Anna McKie in conversation with surrogates and parents who have navigated Australian altruistic surrogacy. Anna is a gestational surrogate, high school Math teacher and surrogacy educator working with Surrogacy Australia and running SASS (Surrogacy Australia’s Support Service). 

The other episodes of the podcast were recorded as part of our free, fortnightly webinar series. If you would like to attend one, check out our dates and registration links. The recordings can also be found on our YouTube channel so you can see the photos that are described in the recordings.
Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.


The third trimester. In case you’re not familiar with this, it refers to the last 13 weeks of a 40-week pregnancy. What is different in surrogacy is that the surrogate will not be the parent, but she is planning for birth. Psychologist Sarah-Jane Duryea speaks about this topic with her surrogacy teams, and it is a very powerful thought to unpack. Traditionally, the person who gestates the baby is also the primary caregiver, but in surrogacy,

The person who gestates the baby is not planning to be the primary caregiver, and the primary caregiver may be male or female. Sarah Jane, or SJ, she says, babies are gestated in the mind as well as the body. I think that’s a beautiful and powerful idea for surrogacy teams to embrace. In the third trimester of a surrogate pregnancy, the surrogate’s body is preparing for birth, however her mind is not nesting and creating a nursery.

The intended parents, IPs, although they are not growing a baby, are creating a space for their child in their home, in their mind and in their heart. Having many adults come together to create life can be complex, as these traditional roles are now spread across multiple people, but it can also be beautiful when everyone’s needs align. To keep this episode relatively short, I won’t cover a long list of things for teams to discuss, rather I’ll point you in the direction of some resources and contacts.

So three psychologists who are very experienced in surrogacy and run Zoom sessions across Australia are, in Queensland, Narelle Dickinson, in New South Wales, Katrina Hale, and in Victoria, Sarah-Jane Duryea, and I’ll put links to their websites in the show notes. We recommend that surrogacy teams have ongoing counseling as individuals and as a team in the third trimester. It allows everyone to address how they are feeling about the baby in their bodies and their minds.

and to plan for a positive birth experience for everyone. We say that even when surrogacy runs smooth, it is still hard. Katrina Hale has recorded a podcast about the third trimester, which I recommend you listening to as a team, and that can be found on her website under the resources section. Some key highlights of that episode and to consider for the third trimester, the surrogate is going through physiological changes as her body is getting ready to push a baby out.

The IPs have started nesting and are still supporting their surrogate too. There are many adults involved who all have their own needs. The surrogate has often been the leader in the past with scheduling appointments and she needs to start handing over so her body and mind can prepare for birth. And a quote from Katrina that, the surrogate is physiologically incapable of making decisions. And she refers to that in terms of a birthing person getting ready to birth and almost going into a cave.

It’s a physiological thing that happens and we need to be able to rely on our team that they’re at the entrance to the cave protecting us and planning everything else around us. When planning for birth, we encourage all surrogacy teams to consider having a birth photographer. The photos from the day of birth are lovely for everyone to look back on, but they are especially important for the surrogate.

They help her to see the moment she brought life into this world so her friends could become parents. That’s part of her emotional payment for being a surrogate. Katrina Hale also has two other great resources on her website. Surrogacy Birth Planning with your hospital to help your care providers to understand the different roles that people play in a surrogacy birth.

And the big one, surrogate post-birth emotional needs, a guide for intended parents. This one is the Bible among the community. If your team plans for everything in those four pages that she writes and then actually puts the plans into play post-birth, you stand the best chance of your surrogate being fulfilled with the journey and your team being friends in the future. In the next education episode, I’ll be discussing the fourth trimester, which refers to the first three months after birth. It’s a very important time for the surrogate to navigate.

for the IPs as they parent a newborn, and for the surrogacy team to navigate out of the surrogacy project. If you are finding these discussions useful, I would love it if you could leave a review wherever you listen to this show, and you can find more information at surrogacyaustralia.org
Until next time, welcome to the village.


Looking to find a surrogate in Australia? Consider joining ⁠SASS⁠.

Looking for an overview of surrogacy? Join us in a free, fortnightly Wednesday night ⁠webinar⁠.

Looking to chat with other IPs and surrogates in a casual setting? Join us for a monthly ⁠Zoom⁠ catch up, one Friday of each month. 

Looking to hear stories from parents through surrogacy and surrogates? Listen to our ⁠podcast⁠ series or watch episodes on our ⁠YouTube⁠ channel. 

Looking for support one-on-one? Register for ⁠SASS⁠ to connect with me – your Siri for Surrogacy, or book in for a private consultation ⁠sass@surrogacyaustralia.org