third trimester to dos
The third trimester is an exciting time as you think about welcoming your new baby and all that you have to do to become prepared. Maybe the days are whizzing by or maybe they are inching slowly, either way it can feel as though there is never enough time to finish doing it all!
If you haven’t a clue of where to begin, or if you’re wondering if you’ve covered it all, use this third trimester “to do” guide to help organize and prepare.
Create your Birth Preferences (aka a birth plan)
A birth plan is a great way to get what you envision for your birth down on paper. This kind of clarity is key to help you communicate what you do and do not want with your care providers. There are many ways to begin writing a birth plan including using templates on Google and in pregnancy apps. Talk with members of your support team to learn more about your choices, so that you can feel empowered to have the best birth for you.
Assemble your support team
No matter where you give birth (homebirth, hospital or birthing center) or what kind of birth you are having, (planned induction,scheduled cesarean, unmedicated or with pain medicine), you will want to have emotional support, especially if this is your first time navigating childbirth. Do you have a family member who is supportive of your birth plan and is a calm force in your life? Do you want virtual or in-person birth coaching? Would you like to hire a birth or postpartum doula or a lactation consultant? Now is the time to solidify a team of people who will help you reach the end of your pregnancy with confidence and get you stepping into parenthood on a supported foot.
Prepare your birth bag
You’ll want to gather a few things to help you stay comfortable, if you are planning a hospital birth. This may include clothes that feel good but that you don’t mind getting messy while in labor, toiletries, slippers, a nursing bra, snacks,things to drink and pain relief tools like a tennis ball or massage tools. There’s no need to pack diapers or much clothing for your baby, but you may want a special “Going Home Outfit”. Check with your provider about what physical supports they will have available, including birth and peanut balls.
Whether you plan on breastfeeding/bodyfeeding or using formula, everything you need to feed your baby will be available to you in the hospital.
Anticipate your postpartum needs
Create a plan for how you will eat once your baby has arrived. Meal train is a great service that coordinates with your friends and family to drop off meals to your home. In the weeks leading up to your due date, you can also begin preparing and freezing meals to be eaten later: bone broths, soups, casseroles and pasta are some of many foods that reheat well. You will also want a peri bottle, large pads,adult diapers or thinx postpartum undies and supplies to make padcicles or try the perineal balm by Coddle. If you are planning to nurse, you’ll want clothes that make that easier for you. You can skip nursingwear by choosing loose, long shirts or button downs for easy nursing or purchase a few nursing tops.Hiring a postpartum doula is great because they are skilled in supporting new families and in helping to make the transition into parenthood smooth.
Take a postpartum prep class for a deeper dive into getting ready for the fourth trimester.
Your baby will need very little in the first few weeks and months of life
- a diapering system (cloth, disposable, or elimination communication, wipes and diaper rash ointment)
- a feeding system (chestfeeding, formula, pumping, or a combination, bottles, bottle brush, breast pump)
- A safe place to sleep (crib, bassinet, bed sharing or floor bed)
- Ways to get around (car seat, stroller, wrap or carrier)
- Enough clothes in each size to last the amount of days you typically go in between washing. Plan for 1-2 clothing changes a day, due to spit up and blow outs (if you don’t know what blow outs are yet hint we’re talking copiou poop, you will learn soon and you’ve been warned!).
Find a Pediatrician
Finding a pediatrician who aligns with your parenting style, isn’t too far from where you live, takes your insurance and is accepting new patients is important since you visit them frequently.. Talk to other parents you know or on local parenting listserves or Facebook groups to start , receiving recommendations. A pediatrician should be a trusted guide. If your pediatrician makes you feel bad about your parenting or is undermining your parenting style when it comes to feeding and sleeping choices, it’s never too late to switch care providers.
Planning for your baby’s arrival in the third trimester can rightfully feel quite overwhelming. What’s most important is that your baby is welcomed into the world with a family who is supported and confident. Don’t forget to take a few moments to enjoy this time, the calm before the storm of love and cuteness that is headed your way.
Laura Max is a birth and postpartum doula, available on the boober platform, having served clients in both the tri-state metro area and in Michigan. She is a wife and the mother of two, a teenager and a 7 month old. When Laura is not supporting new families (or her own), you can find her out in nature, listening to R&B and enjoying a mug of tea. Laura is available on the boober platform for matches.
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