You’re almost at the finish line. Your due date is in sight and you’re getting ready to welcome the latest addition to your family. Once you enter the third trimester you’re probably full of excitement and a little bit of anxiety. But it’s also a time when most women start to feel extremely tired, sluggish and don’t have much energy. All of these are normal experiences but in between the highs and lows that you are bound to have here are 5 important things to do in your 3rd trimester.
1 – Learn about your third trimester prenatal visits and finalize birthing plans with your doctor
During the third trimester you’ll be having a checkup every two weeks up until you get to week 36 when the visits become weekly. If you have any last minute questions about the birth itself such as who will be present at the delivery, the pain management you’ll be using during labor or other tests that need to be done then now is the time to ask.
It can be helpful to get clarity on any last minute concerns you may be having or just take the opportunity to confirm details that may have changed since you first discussed them with your doctor. For example do you know exactly what signs of labor to look for and when you’re meant to go to the hospital? If not, ask your doctor.
2 – Get your house baby-ready
Once the baby arrives you won’t have much time to sleep never mind carrying out your usual day-to-day activities. For the first few weeks it’s safe to assume that apart from the sleep you’ll miss out on, all the house chores, errands and long dinners will be a thing of the past. Therefore stay one step ahead by taking care of the following things:
- Cook and freeze – In the last 2-4 weeks of your third trimester try to cook and freeze as many easy meals as possible. Casseroles, Lasagnas, pies are great examples. Think about anything that can be frozen and unfrozen in small, quick sections.
- Make sure all your newborn essentials are in the house -You definitely won’t want to leave the house for the first few weeks after giving birth. Stock up on diapers, formula, baby supplies and of course any personal hygiene products you’ll need yourself.
- Get your house prepared – Do as much cleaning as possible. Take care of any chores, groceries and household errands in advance because they very likely it won’t get done for awhile.
3 – Pack your bags
Unless you’re planning on having a home birth you’ll probably be spending at least a few days in the hospital. Start packing your hospital bag today. Packing early prevents you from packing in haste when you’re much more likely to forget things.
When packing think about bringing along small items that can improve your stay in the hospital:
- Pack some healthy non- perishable snacks that you usually enjoy
- Bring personal toiletries eg. nursing bra, a bathroom robe, slippers
- Other small personal items to make the stay a little more comfortable like books, electronic items or puzzles.
4 – Recruit help early on
No one tells you just how much work a baby is. You will almost certainly need help and the best time to ask for it is before the baby comes. Just a few weeks before the birth, it is worth recruiting some family members or trusted friends to see if they can help out with small chores once the baby arrives. Ask them to help with things like dropping off cooked meals, to come over and help with a load of laundry or watching the baby for about an hour to give you small mini-breaks.
5 – Relax
The third trimester is usually the most exhausting. As your body gears up for the delivery you’ll feel like you have very little energy. Use this to your advantage. Towards the last few weeks of the pregnancy relax. You’ll need all your energy for the labor itself. Take a few minutes to unwind both mentally and physically. Read a few chapters of your current novel, watch your favorite TV show or play some games on your iPad. Whatever you decide to do, give yourself daily breaks where you put your feet up and just relax.
The health of you and your baby is the most important thing and the third trimester can be difficult for some women. If you have any concerns or problems reach out to your doctor, midwife or healthcare provider for some help. They’ll be more than happy to help and are a great resource to use.