Congratulations you’re in the home stretch!
You’ve come a long way. The past few weeks of tiredness, fatigue, swollen ankles and nausea is almost at an end. Your baby is ready to make an entrance and you’re certainly ready to meet him or her. But before you do, here are a few tips on things to help make the most of your third trimester.
1. Go over your birthing plan
During the first half of your pregnancy, you may have sat down with your OBGYN to discuss a birthing plan. If so, now is the time to dust it off and go over it again. Consider if you’re still happy with the plan. Perhaps you want to make a few changes to it or maybe just remind yourself of details you may have forgotten.
If you don’t have a birthing plan, that’s okay. Make an appointment to see your doctor and go through any last minute issues or concerns you have. For example:
- Will you be having a home birth or hospital birth?
- If it’s a hospital birth try to book a tour of the hospital unit where you’ll be delivering
- Have you been scheduled for a c-section? If so, do you know what to expect?
- Do you know who will be in the delivery room with you? (ie. a doula, your own OBGYN or the on-call doctor)
- What pain relief options are you going to use? If you’ve changed your mind about pain relief such as having an epidural, discuss this with your doctor now so they can make note of your changes.
These may sound like small details but they can have a huge impact on the day of delivery.
2. Start lining up helpers
Recruit family members and close friends to help provide immediate help after the delivery. Do you have a cousin or aunt that can drop off some healthy cooked meals every so often? Is there an in-law you can ask to come and assist with the vacuuming or laundry? How about your mom who might be able to babysit for a few hours will you catch up on sleep?
They say it takes a village to raise a child and in the first few days and weeks following the delivery, you’ll need all the help you can get. New parents do constant battle with exhaustion and sleep deprivation for the first few weeks after bringing the baby home. Recruit help now. You’ll be thankful for it later.
Remember, asking these helpers early on gives them a heads-up and allows them to clear some time in their schedule for you. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask for help.
3. Pack your hospital bag
Your hospital bag should be small but comprehensive. You don’t need to pack your whole closet, just a few key items that you’ll require for 2-4 days. This should include some of the following:
- A few comfort items for yourself: socks, non-perishable snacks or a comfy bathrobe
- Your own change of clothing. Make sure its something comfortable and don’t forget a maternity bra
- Your own personal hygiene products like wet wipes, pads, and a toothbrush
- A set of clothes for the baby and a blanket
- Something for entertainment such as a laptop, book or magazines
4. Have your house cleaned (and other things to get in order)
Many parents looking back on their own journey always say one thing: They wish they had had their house cleaned before their baby’s arrival. And when you think about it, coming home to a dirty house is never fun. It’s made even worse knowing that for the next few weeks you probably won’t get the chance to clean. Be sure to do the following:
- Vacuum – it might be the last time you do it for the next few weeks
- Make sure you have clean bedsheets to return to and a set of clean linens to use
- Stock up the house with food
- Buy a large number of diapers, baby wipes, bottles and formula. Have these ready and put them away in a clean area.
- If you have pets, make sure there is enough pet food in the house
- Start cooking meals that you can freeze
5. Last minute things to do
Here are a few last minute items to add to your to-do list
- Remind your family and friends about the ground rules for visiting during the first few days and weeks. Everyone will understandably want to see you and the latest addition to your family as soon as they can. But set a few boundaries on who you’ll be seeing and when you’ll start accepting visitors. Having the conversation before the baby arrives makes it much less awkward than doing it after the baby arrives.
- Now is the time to buy some baby gear if you haven’t already. Start off with the basics like a stroller, crib, lots of diapers and a breast pump. Don’t forget to install the baby car seat!
Lastly, enjoy this trimester of your pregnancy. It’s usually the time when you’re quite tired but it’s also a time to try and relax, stay at home and engage in light activities. Catch up on baby reading and your sleep!