You’re officially on the home stretch until your precious baby is born!
Your third trimester is the time to switch gears and focus on getting yourself and your home ready for your baby’s arrival.
Grab your third trimester checklist and prepare for all of the things you must do before you give birth.
Also, make sure you have all of these must-have items to make your third trimester as comfortable as possible.
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Third Trimester Checklist
Create Your Birth Plan
Now is the time to start thinking about your birthing process. A birth plan should include who you want in the room with you, if you want medications, etc.
Take a few moments and think about what your ideal labor would look like and write it down.
Make sure to share your plan with your partner, your OB, and your hospital when you arrive.
Take a Birth Course
A birthing course is the best way to prepare for giving birth.
I highly recommend Haley’s course, Let’s Get Ready to Birth.
This course teaches breathing techniques for labor, answers all of your questions about what to expect when you go into labor, and has step by step guidance for creating your birth plan.
A birthing course is really the best way for new and experienced moms to prepare for labor.
Take a Hospital Tour
Most hospitals allow you to take a tour of the labor and delivery unit prior to giving birth. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the big day.
Also, make sure you pre-register for birth if your hospital allows. This way, when you’re actively in labor you don’t have to stress over completing paperwork.
Trust me, that will be the last thing you’ll want to do!
Pack Your Hospital Bag
I recommend packing your hospital bag by 34 weeks. Although chances are you won’t need it for another 6 weeks, it’s better to be prepared just in case!
You don’t want to have a surprise early labor and not have everything prepared.
Pack Your Diaper Bag
Although the hospital supplies most basics for your newborn, it’s a good idea to pack your own diaper bag as well.
If you have a preference over the brand of diapers and wipes you’ll use, go ahead and pack those in the diaper bag.
Also, make sure to pack a few outfits for your baby, especially something for her grand trip home.
Install Your Baby’s Car Seat
If you haven’t purchased a car seat yet, this is a must before baby arrives. Hospitals will not let you leave without one.
Also, around 34 weeks, I recommend going ahead and installing your car seat. Again, you hopefully won’t need it for many weeks, but at least you will be prepared.
Make sure to review the instruction manual to install it properly.
Continue Regular OB Visits
During your 3rd trimester, you’ll start seeing your OB more regularly. This completely depends on your OB practice and is not one set standard for everyone.
But, be prepared to be seen more and more frequently as your pregnancy progresses
Count Baby Kicks
One way to ensure baby is nice and healthy is to pay attention to your baby’s kicks.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, you should feel about 10 kicks within 2 hours.
Keep an eye on any large variations from day to day and reach
Although you’re probably feeling very slow and sluggish at this point, try to keep exercising.
In your third trimester, exercise probably looks a lot different than it did earlier in your pregnancy. The goal is to move a little whether that’s through walking, swimming, or light dancing.
Also, you want to maintain some strength with light and safe strength training. This way you’ll be ready to push the baby out.
Plus, exercising throughout your pregnancy will help you bounce back much quicker after your baby is born!
One of the most important things to do during your third trimester is to rest when you can. You’re probably experiencing many sleepless nights at this point between frequent urination, discomfort from your growing belly, and pregnancy hormones.
This is the time to put your feet up when you can and rest when you need to. Once that baby arrives, you’ll be needing as much energy as possible.
Finalize Maternity Plans
During your third trimester, make sure to have a finalized plan in place with your employer.
You want to make sure everything is squared away before your baby is born so you don’t have to think about work at all for many weeks (or hopefully many months).
Read Parenting Books
I love preparing as much as possible. If you’re like me, the third trimester is a great time to grab a few parenting books.
For me, one of my biggest concerns early on was sleep. I used the third trimester as the time to read as many books about baby sleep as I could find.
I personally love the Secrets of the Baby Whisperer which was an absolute lifesaver for us when my first baby wouldn’t sleep.
Prepare Freezer Meals
Once your new baby arrives, cooking may be the last thing on your mind. Now is the perfect time to prepare some freezer meals that you can quickly reheat.
Aim for foods that can be stored for a few months and reheated quickly without any prep work.
Register for a Free Breast Pump
Most insurance companies will pay for a free breast pump during your third trimester.
Simply fill out an application and they’ll mail you a pump if it’s covered by your insurance.
Even if you’re not sure whether or not you’ll breastfeed, it’s a good idea to grab a free pump just in case.
Learn About Breastfeeding
Before baby arrives, if you plan to breastfeed, now’s the time to prepare. Ask your OB or hospital what resources are available.
You can also sign up for a course or find a lactation consultant to help guide you once baby is born.
Prepare the Nursery
Many women have their baby showers during their third trimester, so this is a fun time to set up a nursery.
However, if you don’t feel ready to set up a full nursery that’s ok too.
Make sure you at least have some essentials before baby arrives including diapers, onesies, a safe place for baby to sleep, and a car seat.
Wash Baby’s Linens and Clothes
Baby’s skin is very sensitive, so you want to make sure to pre-wash all linen and clothes before they arrive.
I recommend using a gentle unscented laundry detergent such as Seventh Generation’s Free and Clear.
Plan Where Baby Will Sleep
Once baby comes home, you’ll need to have a safe place for your baby to sleep. Now’s the time to prepare your sleeping arrangements.
The AAP recommends your baby share a room with you for the first 6 months to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Babies should ideally have a firm, flat place to sleep that is separate from your own bed.
I personally love the Snoo which is an absolute game-changer for babies who don’t sleep well.
The Snoo gently rocks your baby all night and helps lull them into a deep sleep even if they start to wake up.
Choose a Pediatrician
Prior to having your baby, your hospital will want to know which pediatrician you will be using. Now’s the time to interview some local pediatricians to see who you’d like.
Many pediatricians will allow you to meet them or ask questions before your baby is born. You can also ask around in local mom groups to see who others prefer.
Create a Plan for Visitors
Now’s a great time to discuss with your partner what your expectations are for visitors after the baby is born.
Have a conversation and discuss what feels right for your family. Learn more tips on handling visitors after a a baby here to help keep your baby safe and to keep you happy.
Once you complete your third trimester checklist, the only thing left to do is to prepare for labor and welcome that precious baby into your home.
Don’t forget these third trimester must-haves to help make your third trimester a breeze.
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