The third trimester of pregnancy feels a little like prepping for a jungle expedition. Your hot, sweaty, exhausted, you can’t remember if you’ve got it all together or if you’re missing everything you need. Not to mention you feel swollen bigger than a whale and can barely move without peeing your pants, let alone sneeze or caught! That third trimester is HARD, and to add to the annoyance of being physically and emotionally wipes, you might be full of anxiety about all the things you need to get done before baby arrives and have no idea where to begin. I mean, you don’t even know if you took your vitamin this morning because #pregnancybrain. What you need mama, is a good, ole’ fashion list.
So, for all you pregnant moms, or those thinking about getting pregnant, or random people just interested, here is a list to refer to of things to do in your third trimester and/or final month of pregnancy to prepare for baby…and keep your stress levels at bay!
1- Get Out!
Go on a date…or 10 dates, with everyone. See friends. Visit grandma. Watch a movie at the theatre. After you have a little one, your chances of going out decrease by…well A LOT. You don’t have energy, and if you are anything like me, you don’t want to be around people either. So schedule some time out and be social!
2- Discuss your birth plan
This is something you will probably want to research yourself and talk to your medical provider about. Are you delivering vaginally or cesarean? Do you want an epidural? Will you be induced? How many people are going to be in the room with you? Are you planning on banking the cord blood? Skin-to-skin contact? Find out HOW to do that in my birth plan post. There is no wrong way to do it, but make sure whatever your plan is, that it is what YOU want to do and feel is best for you and your baby.
3- Get a Sleeping Area for Baby Ready
Newborns sleep, a lot. You don’t want to have to worry about setting up the crib or putting together a bassinet when you are exhausted yourself from having a baby. Having a place already set up (whether a crib, cradle, pack and play, bassinet, co-sleeper bed, whatever) will make you want to kiss yourself thank you when you arrive home. If you need some help getting started or finding the best bassinet for your family, check out this amazing ThinkBaby article that goes into detail about the best bassinets. P.S. their main site also has some other amazing sleep tips for new moms and babies, I’d highly recommend checking those out, stat, because we all know mama needs her precious sleep or attack of the mombie is a risk… 😉
Whether you like it or not, people LOVE babies. Which means you are going to have your privacy invaded like crazy. Save yourself from feeling flustered because everyone is seeing you in your long johns and invest now in some cute comfy wear. May I suggest yoga pants or patterned leggings paired with a cute, simple, loose top? Trust me- you won’t be shopping for these things AFTER the baby gets here.
5- Pack a Hospital Bag
When it comes down to the wire, you usually don’t know exactly when the baby will be here. He might be three weeks early. She might come a week late. Unless you have a scheduled date with your doctor (even then it is subjective to baby terms) it is best to be prepared for anything, anytime! See my suggestions for what to bring in your hospital bag here.
6- Choose a coming home outfit for baby
Baby has to wear something on his way out of the hospital, right? Of course he does. He is going to be the kind of style in those new outfits you have waiting. Pick one and toss it in the bag!
7- Consider some baby health and CPR classes.
This is something I wish I would have done before I had my baby. Most people have no idea what to do in an emergency situation, and with babies, being able to react quickly and efficiently is important. Most hospitals and fire departments will offer these classes for free or at minimal cost- or they can point you in the direction of where to find them!
8- Narrow down your favorite names
Some people have the name picked out before they even spawn their precious babe. Not me. I named my baby almost 3 days after she was born. And yes, I felt like an embarrassed schmuck every time someone asked her name and I said I didn’t have one yet…two days after her birth. You don’t have to have a name when you go in, but having a few in mind to pick from will help you make a decision all the sooner once she is born.
9- Get your nails done!
You need to pamper yourself during that last month to get through the less-than-wonderful parts of being 9 months pregnant. Not to mention how many pictures are going to be taken featuring a baby in YOUR HANDS! Make those nails pretty and feel a little prettier yourself! I had tons of nurses commenting on how cute my snowflake designed toenails were during labor- a fun compliment to encourage me!
10- Schedule a photographer
Most photographers want to take newborn photographs within the first couple of weeks of the baby’s life. Choose someone now and make sure they can fit you into their schedule and then you won’t have to stress about it later when your post-pregnant mind can barely handle more than “cry, feed the baby, love the baby, cry some more.”
11- Tinker and Play
I had the lovely experience of holding a screaming newborn and trying to unfold my fancy stroller for the first time in a parking lot in the snow. The people who walked past had eyes that glared at me with the thoughts, “incompetence.” Save yourself the embarrassment and take a few minutes to play with the car seat, stroller, bouncer chair, and anything else you might have so you know how to handle it like a pro when baby gets here!
12- Clean the house- or hire a professional cleaner.
If you have the money to splurge, I suggest the latter. Get someone to come deep clean your tub and scrub the nooks and crannies of your kitchen for you. It feels so much better to bring a newborn into a house where you don’t feel compelled to immediately start housework. If you can’t afford a cleaner, try to choose One task per day to complete and slowly work on cleaning it up a little at a time (many of you know this because you have been nesting, right?)
13- Stock up!
You might find it helpful to stock up on the “staples” now so you don’t feel like you need to once the baby is born. Get a bunch of on-the-go snacks (if you can eat them with one hand, more power to you!) toilet paper, frozen foods, cereal, feminine supplies (a LOT of these), and extra diapers.
14- Media it up!
Babies eat a lot and need a lot of attention, even if they are just sleeping! That means you are left with trying to find entertainment for yourself to keep you sane as you spend endless hours feeding or holding the baby. Sign up for Hulu, download books to your Kindle, fill up your Netflix queue of things you want to see, borrow books from friends, download music to your ipod, and start stocking up favorite movies so you aren’t left with the “what can I do” question later.
15- Wash SOME of baby’s clothes
Washing a few things to have set and ready to go will help your stress levels immensely after having a baby. Don’t wash too many things though- you never know if your little girl will grow fast, how long she might wear something, or if she pops out…a boy! Hey- you have to be prepared for anything!
16- Make a list of helpers
There is no question about it, having a new baby is hard. Sometimes, you WILL need help. Find a few people you are comfortable with asking (your mom or best friend?) that would be willing to come hold the baby while you shower, or clean your kitchen while you nap with baby. Contacting these people before hand will help them to prepare and make it less complicated for you to have to figure someone else out on the spot later.
17- Decide when to announce the baby
Are you going to call everyone when you are in labor? Will you just text them with a baby once they make their arrival? Are you going to wait until you are home before allowing people to visit? Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by everything when you actually have the baby, decide now who you are going to tell beforehand and who you want to announce it to after and let yourself focus on more important things in labor!
18- Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Now- I was a weirdo, I actually got MORE sleep AFTER the baby was born. What can I say? I was miserable, and uncomfortable is an understatement. Plus I had to pee every 23 minutes. But if you feel tired, take a nap! Go to bed early! Sleep in! You don’t know how much you can get of that later, and you need all the energy you can get!
19- Journal about your story
Take the time to write about your pregnancy. Tell your funny stories, the best and the worst things about it, and even consider writing a letter to your baby. You will be amazed how quickly you forget the little things!
20- Don’t Be Shy!
If you are feeling sexy and have the energy, make some moves on your lover! You may not get another chance for a while, and even then, kids have a knack for ruining the romance moment!
21- Consider writing a will
This is something that doesn’t need to happen immediately, but the sooner you can get this done, the better and more secure the future is for your little one in case anything should happen. Even if you just take some time to do a little bit of research or contact a lawyer, you will feel grateful you did.
22- Make Decisions
Are you getting him circumcised? Is she going to be breastfed or bottle fed? Pampers or Huggies? Some decisions are bigger than others, but if you talk about what you want to do before they arrive, it relieves that much more stress later.
23- Make some meals
Spend a few hours and throw together some freezer meals that will be quick, easy, and tasty once the baby gets here and you don’t feel like cooking.
24- Indulge yourself
You literally just spent the last nine months building a body, creating a life! And you are going to spend the next 18 years (or longer) teaching that little body how to live. Take some time to do what you love. Go to your favorite store with breakable items (you won’t be in there again for years!), get a massage, have your hair primped, do a girls night. Whatever it takes to give yourself what you deserve!
Hopefully this list takes the edge of the frantic need to remember everything you have to do before your bundle of pooping/eating/crying/perfect joy arrives! For a list of 17 things to do after baby arrives, click here!
Hugs and Loves!