during pregnancy

When Does the Third Trimester Start?

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Congratulations, you’ve made it to the third trimester! You might be marveling at how quickly your first trimester and second trimester went by. It probably feels like you blinked and were suddenly entering the homestretch! At the end of the next 12 weeks, you will have a baby in your arms. So when does the third trimester start, officially? And what can you expect out of your final weeks of pregnancy?

When does the third trimester start? Week 28, or the 7th month of pregnancy.

By now, you’re probably feeling a lot of the physical changes that come with carrying a baby. It may be getting harder to bend down to put your shoes on or shave your legs. The clothes you wore through your first and second trimesters probably won’t fit for very much longer. And you may notice you find it harder to breathe when you’re sitting a certain way.

PREVIOUSLY: 15 Pregnancy Hacks that Will Make Your Life Easier Through Every Trimester

Weeks 28-32 are a great time to start finalizing some plans.

You may be able to complete your pre-registration at the hospital or birthing center you’ve chosen, and if you haven’t yet, take a tour to familiarize yourself with the labor and delivery wards. Notify your employer of the date you’ll be starting your maternity leave, and double check your insurance policy to make sure everything is covered.

Take this time to also cement your birth and labor plans. Talk to your doctor to make sure you’re on the same page in regards to pain management or interventions. Start researching lactation consultants if you’re planning on breastfeeding. Also, narrow down your candidates for your baby’s pediatrician and make a decision.

PREVIOUSLY: How to Choose the Right Pediatrician for Your Child

If you haven’t done so yet, register for your baby shower!

Your friends and loved ones will probably plan your shower between weeks 32-36, so make sure you’ve got your list finalized and have registered for the items you need. You should definitely have your car seat ready to go (practice installing it, removing it, and getting a baby doll in and out). You’re probably in major cleaning and organizing mode too, getting all the clothes washed and the nursery set up.

Starting at week 35 all the way through the end of your pregnancy, you’ll be seeing A LOT of your doctor. Once those weekly visits start, things start to feel real!

These last few weeks are going to be pretty rough in terms of comfort. Baby is dropping, things are happening, your body is preparing for your baby’s arrival. Take it as easy as you can in those final weeks, and try not to overdo it. Technically, the baby can arrive at any moment, and you want to be ready. You may have been experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions for the last several weeks, so pay close attention to those and report any changes in frequency or severity to your doctor. Also, make sure you’re paying very close attention to your baby’s kicks and movement, and if you notice a change, call your doc.

Pregnancy can seem really long, but also feel incredibly fast! You’ve been waiting for this, wondering, when does the third trimester start so we can get this show on the road? In just a matter of weeks, that baby is going to be here!

(Image: iStock / vadimguzhva)