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Home Parenting Pregnancy & Baby The Third Trimester

The Third Trimester

when-does-the-third-trimester-beginYou've Been Crossing Those Days off the Calendar for Almost Six Months Now...

You feel huge - like a whale, or an elephant or a very large basket of melon and you can't wait to be rid of the backache and constant need to use the "facilities". Welcome to the third trimester! You are in the final stages of your pregnancy now, so enjoy it as much as you can. While you might be saying yourself, "Yeah right!" there lots of new and exciting things happening to your body and to the little person growing inside you. So, when does the third trimester begin in technical terms?  This is it.  The last three months of your pregnancy are imminent.

When Does the Third Trimester Begin?

Well, normally it is considered as the last three months of your nine-month pregnancy. Medical professionals mark the beginning of the third trimester from 28 weeks. The third trimester starting point is slightly different for everyone though, and depending on your progression, you might be feeling those third trimester symptoms, if you can call them that, a bit earlier on, or even a bit later. You will not only feel different from a physical point of view, but emotionally you will feel different too.

The beginning of the third trimester comes will all kinds of strange, new sensations. You might start to get more heartburn as the uterus sits right under your rib cage. You could find that you constantly need to urinate as the baby position changes and becomes lower. You might also wake up one night and find that you cannot feel your hands. This tingling and numbness is carpal tunnel syndrome caused by the pressure and swelling on the median wrist nerve (Don't worry; it normally goes away after you give birth).

Another third trimester starting point could be the increasing swelling and aching of your feet and ankles called edema. These last three months of pregnancy are really tough on some of us.  This is due to the added weight you are carrying, as well as an increase in the amount of fluids in your body (Time for lots of foot massages!) Another reason to get a good massage at the beginning of the third trimester is to help the back, pelvic, and hip pains you might be feeling. All the ligaments in your body will become sore during this final trimester as your body prepares to give birth, so take advantage and get pampered. Other tips for pelvic aches and pains include sleeping with a pillow between your knees, wearing a tummy or maternity girdle, resting, and applying a heat pack.

Physically speaking, the third trimester is associated with the "time of the lightening". This is the term used to describe the baby dropping into its final position in the uterus from about 35 weeks. The head will normally be down quite far into your pelvis and you will not feel as much movement from your baby as before.

Now that we have answered the question, "When does the third trimester begin?" how do you know when it ends? Three more pregnancy months to go doesn't sound so bad.  And it will go quickly.

When do you know that you are in labor? There is no definite way to tell, as every pregnancy is different, but you can look out for certain signs that labor is just around the corner.

This includes getting the show, which is the plug of your cervix that breaks away. It will be gooey and might have a few streaks of blood in it which is totally normal.  You may have early contractions and false alarms are not unusual.  But one day they are different and there's an urgency that you won't be able to ignore.   As the baby is moving down and the canal is widening for the birth, you will also start to feel the contractions more intensely and the pain and discomfort is more widespread and especially difficult to ignore the pain in your back at regular intervals. The third big sign that will definitely signal the REAL DEAL start of labor is your waters breaking.

The beginning of the third trimester will give you all kinds of joys along with the aches and heaviness and difficulty moving about, but more than anything, excitement at the prospect of  meeting your baby, face to face one day soon overtakes you and yours.  . You are in the home stretch now, so savor every minute of it and good luck!