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When does the third trimester start?

There are conflicting schools of thought as to when exactly the third trimester starts


The third trimester of your pregnancy is a huge milestone.


You’ve gone through physical and mental rigors, your body has changed, you’re probably either tired or hungry – or both.  At this point, you deserve a celebration.


So when should you officially ring in the start of the third trimester?  Week 26?  Week 29?  Somewhere in between?


Of course, the start of the third trimester depends on how many weeks pregnant you are.  But there’s some disagreement about when precisely the third trimester starts.


Most doctors and experts will tell you that they consider week 28 the official start of the third trimester.


That’s because at week 28 you have exactly three months, or 12 weeks, remaining in your pregnancy.  Therefore, once you hit seven months, you can officially mark the beginning of the third trimester.


Here’s what to expect as you enter the third trimester of your pregnancy.


Baby growth continues


Both you and your baby will get a lot larger in the third trimester.


Baby will grow from about 2 1/2 pounds and 16 inches long in week 28 of pregnancy to between 6 and 9 pounds and 19 to 22 inches long in week 40.


You will gain about a pound per week during the third trimester.


Don’t be surprised if your baby’s growth and increasingly limited living leads to some serious kicking!


Changes in your baby


By week 32 of pregnancy, baby’s formerly translucent skin will turn opaque.


In week 36, fat continues to build as your baby sheds his vernix.  That’s the waxy gel that protects his skin from your amniotic fluid.


Your baby’s touch receptors develop fully near week 29.


By week 31 of pregnancy, your baby will process signals from all five of their senses.


In the third trimester your baby’s brain growth will accelerate greatly.


Your baby will actually start dreaming, blinking and regulating their body temperature in the third trimester.


Around week 34 of pregnancy, your baby should turn head-down, bottom-up.  If your baby remains in the breech position, your doctor will likely try to turn the baby around near week 37.


Changes in your body


You’re probably feeling lots of activity from your baby in the womb. You may also be experiencing changes in your body.


As your abdomen stretches to accommodate your growing bump, you may feel cramps or sudden pains in your abdomen.  There’s not a lot you can do other than rest.


You’ll feel more fatigued this trimester because of the demands pregnancy is putting on your body.


Your uterus will begin to push your stomach and its contents upward.  This will cause a persistent burn = heartburn.


If heartburn is really bothering you, ask your physician about proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) or H2 blockers, which are both safe to take as heartburn treatments.


You may start to experience Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are irregular “practice” contractions until real labor starts.


Stretch marks may start to appear.  Stretch marks are really small tears.  They appear in skin that’s being stretched more than it is used to during pregnancy.  Stretch marks are largely genetic.


You may start to experience an achy back. Try to assuage these aches by putting your feet up.


Your dreams may be crazier than ever.  As you near your due date, vivid dreams become more common, likely due in part to pregnancy hormones.  They’re normal and nothing to worry about.


All the extra weight on your pelvic floor makes it harder to control your bladder.  Do your daily Kegels to help control bladder issues during pregnancy.


Finally, your breasts may begin to leak as they prepare to feed your baby.  How fun!


Other than that, there are no real changes happening 😉


With all of these crazy things going on in your body, try to keep reminding yourself that you’re getting closer and closer to meeting your beautiful new baby!