We are nearing the finish line and are looking forward to welcoming Baby H into our lives very soon! The third trimester has both gone as expected and been somewhat unexpected. If you are nearing (or in) your third trimester, here are some reminders, warnings and things to think about:
- Birth Control – I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that we would need to talk about this with our doctor, but it didn’t. Unless you want to risk going from pregnancy to pregnancy, which is generally not recommended, you will need to have this conversation with the doctor.
- Nursing Clothes – I have been working really hard to find great pregnancy clothes that are inexpensive, will transition well into my post-baby life and are still fashionable. It just recently occurred to me that I need to look into nursing clothes too. Now, many of the clothes I selected for pregnancy were ones I thought would also work for nursing but I am realizing how many of my clothes, in general, are not very well suited for nursing! I ended up doing an unanticipated mini shopping spree just to get some basic items that could work for nursing, were appropriate for work/leaving the house, and that would provide versatility. I found that Old Navy, Asos and H&M had the best, and most reasonably priced, options.
- Your first trimester symptoms will return – I knew this was coming thanks to the million of baby related newsletters I’ve subscribed to, but that didn’t make it any easier. I am anxious about getting the house cleaned, getting myself and my husband ready for baby, and not forgetting my breathing techniques for labor and delivery. Being exhausted all the time, having to pee every 30 minutes and some really special joint pain have not made these endeavors easy.
- You must wash baby’s things – Again, I had read about this but it was something I had to make time for and coordinate. Up until recently, I had had things like this on my to-do list but they weren’t “urgent”. Now, everything is urgent. (This baby could basically come any time.) You also need to get a specific kind of laundry detergent that is sensitive enough for baby. Don’t push this part of the process off too long! You’ll want everything to be baby ready for when baby arrives.
- Pack the hospital bag – This is probably on every checklist for the third trimester ever. I went through what feels like every checklist ever created and made my own based on what my hospital offers and what we wanted to bring. Creating that checklist helped immensely because we were able to identify things that we hadn’t yet purchased. I would have been so stressed out if we had waited to the last minute and were missing some things we had wanted to bring!
- On that note, as your hospital what they provide – Many hospitals will have all the diapers, wipes, pads, etc. that you could possibly need. Make sure you ask them what they offer and what you should bring. If they have it (and you are paying for it), then there is no need to bring your own items.
- Make time for your spouse – You will, very soon, have a very needy, absolutely lovable baby to take care of. Having a baby is often considered one of the greatest stresses on a relationship. You’ll need to be intentional about caring for your relationship after baby but don’t forget about it before baby! Make time for date nights, don’t take out your exhaustion on your spouse, and consider ways to get your spouse involved. Your spouse will absolutely appreciate it.
- Communicate with your family about expectations – Make sure you share any expectations or special requests you have with your family. You’ll be really exhausted after baby arrives and might not communicate these things in the nicest way. If you can talk them through things ahead of time, it will help you in the long run. Not sure what kind of expectations you may want to mention? Check out my blog about New Baby Etiquette for some ideas.
- Establish a maternity leave plan for everything – By now, you are probably already working out a plan, or have established a plan, for when you are on maternity leave at work. But, work is not the only place that may need this! Are you doing any freelance work? Are you volunteering anywhere? Do you have any outside obligations that may be impacted by your maternity leave? Make sure to communicate with as many people as possible about your leave and set up plans for how to transition responsibilities as needed. You do not want to be on call while you are trying to bond with baby if you can help it.
- Do you know who your support group is? – Your spouse will, of course, be the primary support system for you but you may want to consider who else you have available. Are there family members coming into town? Do you have friends who are in the area and could help? Establishing your support group can be incredibly helpful so you can know, going into the postpartum stage, who you can contact for help or advice.
What would you add to your third trimester “checklist”?