This third-trimester checklist will help you keep tabs on the longest and probably the most stressful stage of your pregnancy. From packing your hospital bag to making a birth plan, we’ve listed all the to-dos for the final days leading to the birth of your baby. Read on.
GET ALL BABY ESSENTIALS
The baby essentials should be high on your third-trimester checklist. Your third trimester is the time to get all those items in your baby registry which you created during your second trimester. Know what you are receiving as gifts from friends and family and buy the rest of the items. As you gear up, bear in mind that you have to get those items that are needed the most; the big-ticket items like the stroller and crib. Other must-haves are diapers, burp cloths, baby food and wipes.
PLAN YOUR ANTENATAL SESSIONS
During your third trimester, you will have a lot of antenatal sessions or appointments. You will have appointments when you are 31, 34, 36 and 38 weeks. When you cross over to the 40th week, you will have another appointment then. Arrange for these appointments with your midwife and bookmark the dates, so you do not forget.
At these sessions, your midwife will measure your bump, take your blood pressure, test your urine for protein, and listen to the baby’s heart when you meet up. He or she will walk you through your birth plan and answer any questions. Make sure you discuss any issues or complications you may be experiencing with your pregnancy with him or her. Your midwife will then note down details of each appointment in your maternity notes.
Remember to have a copy of your maternity notes with you on each appointment.
MONITOR BABY’S MOVEMENTS
Once you know your baby’s pattern of movements, you must be on the lookout for anything unusual about this pattern. For instance, if your baby is moving less or not moving or kicking when they are usually active. These signals might be red flags you need to report to your midwife immediately.
WRITE A BIRTH PLAN
Now is the perfect time to write up your birth plan. This plan is handwritten and summarises your preferences for when you are in labour and giving birth. You need to indicate things like what position you want to give birth in, what pain relief you prefer if there is a need for it and who has to be with you at birth. The birth plan documents the kind of birth experience you prefer. Discuss this plan with your doctor or midwife and birth partner or spouse to ensure you are on the same page with them.
PACK YOUR HOSPITAL BAG
Depending on the type of birth you are having, you may need a longer hospital stay. You will need some stuff to make you, your baby and your birth partner or spouse comfortable during this stay. This is when a hospital bag comes in handy. Read how to pack a hospital bag.
CHOOSE YOUR BABY’S NAME
August, Maxwell or Tom? Beulah, Angela or Sadie? It’s about time you and your birth partner or spouse chose a name for your baby out of that tall list of baby names you’ve been playing around with since day one of your pregnancy. Get tips on choosing a baby name.
FINISH UP THE NURSERY
It’s time to start setting up the nursery. During your second trimester, you came up with your theme and décor ideas, so now get the ball rolling. Read our guide on how to set up a nursery.
PRE-REGISTER WITH THE HOSPITAL
Pre-registration is a top priority to-do item on your third-trimester checklist. You will need to furnish the hospital of your choice with certain information about you, your pregnancy and insurance or payment information, before your due date. Pre-registration makes your hospital admission process or check-in less inconvenient and faster. When you go into labour, you will want to be moved to triage or the labour area and not sit in the waiting room with contractions because you haven't done your paperwork!
GET A PEDIATRICIAN
During your third trimester, you will have to choose a baby doctor. Ask for recommendations from family, friends, neighbours, coworkers and doctors you know. Check the insurance company’s website to see if these recommended doctors are on your insurance plan. If you have no recommendations to start with or are new in an area, still visit your insurance company’s website to search for pediatricians. Alternatively, you can use the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Find a Pediatrician tool. Look at the reviews and ratings of each pediatrician with the help of this tool but get a second opinion as well, and proceed with caution. Do a thorough background and make sure the source of these reviews are actual patients.
PERPARE FOR POSTPARTUM
Getting prepared for postpartum will help speed up your recovery and make the entire period somewhat tolerable. The first thing to do when preparing for postpartum is to get a postpartum kit. You will also need some support, so call on all the help you can get; a baby nurse, doula, your relatives or some mom girlfriends.
HAVE THE BABY SHOWER
It’s time for some fun! Throw that baby shower you and your planner have been planning for months. You can opt for a virtual shower if you have concerns for yourself and your baby because of COVID-19. Or you can brave it, but that will mean cutting down your guest list to close relatives and friends only. And even that, ensure they have taken their COVID-19 vaccine and show up fully masked and ready to observe all other protocols at the shower.
GET SOME ME-TIME
Like I said, your third trimester will probably be the most uncomfortable stage of your pregnancy. Chances are you will be excited, nervous and struggle with sleeping at night. You will want to have plenty of rest and eat well and have some me-time too. You should have some good reads or meditate or get some pampering session or listen to some music. Unwinding is a good idea since it reduces stress. Besides, you probably won’t get the time to do these things when your baby is born.
TAKE YOUR PRE-BIRTH PHOTOS
When your bump is quite grown and looks round is the best time to take those pre-birth photos. Usually, this is from 28 to 36 weeks of pregnancy which is right around the third trimester. So book that maternity photo session before your baby pops out. So long as the photo-shoot is not too close to your delivery date and you can manage a pose or two, you can carry on.
READ ABOUT LABOUR AND BIRTHING
Use your third trimester to get knowledge on labour, birthing, babies and parenting. You especially need to know about the stages of labour and body experiences at each stage. You will also need to learn about labour pain and how to deal with it. Check out our top eight (8) picks of 2021’s pregnancy books for some good reads on pregnancy.
Meanwhile, click to download this checklist. Use it to remind you of all your third trimester to-dos.
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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