30 Things to Do in Your Third Trimester

You have reached that time in pregnancy when many expecting moms start counting down the days until D-day (delivery day). On the one hand, it can feel like your due date will never arrive, and time is moving at a pregnant snail’s pace. But in the next moment, you may feel like someone pushed the fast forward button as you rush at warp speed through your third trimester. The Pulse assembled a helpful to-do list to help you stay on track, whether crawling or sprinting. We are here to help you feel calm, prepared, and ready to go when that big day arrives.

The Pulse’s 30 Item Third Trimester Checklist

  1. Keep all of your doctor’s appointments. Your schedule might feel as full as your pregnant belly now that you have weekly OB appointments. Frequent visits help your provider keep you and your baby healthy at the end of pregnancy. Also, be sure to report any changes or new pregnancy symptoms you experience.
  2. Keep track of your baby’s movement. Fetal kick counts help you know what is normal for your baby and how they are doing. For example, babies who are struggling may be sluggish and move less, especially in the third trimester.
  3. Organize a meal train for yourself, or ask a friend for help. Meal trains are among the best ways to engage your social network, eat well for your and your baby’s health, and coordinate if and who you will see in the early days. Also, consider a sign-up list or meal delivery gifts as a part of your baby shower registry.
  4. Pack your hospital go-bag. It is never too early to pack up the essentials for you, your birth partner, and your baby to bring with you to the hospital. The Pulse assembled this packing list to make the packing process stress-free.
  5. Baby-proof your home. Baby gates, outlet guards, furniture anchors, and door locks are just some of the gadgets you might want to investigate and add to your baby shower registry.
  6. Draft a birth plan and make sure to discuss it with your birth partner and your doctor. Make extra copies to pack in your hospital bag.
  7. Take a childbirth and breastfeeding class if you want to.
  8. Get your Group B Streptococcus test to protect you and your baby from rare but dangerous postpartum infections.
  9. Install your infant car seats and have them inspected to make sure you installed them correctly.
  10. If you plan to breastfeed, prepare your breastfeeding kit. A breast pump (buy or rent), 1-2 nursing bras or tanks, nipple cream, and nursing pads are some breastfeeding essentials you will want to have on hand.
  11. Wash your newborn’s clothes with baby-friendly laundry detergent.
  12. Napping during your third trimester is the way that many moms catch up on zzz’s lost due to insomnia or frequent nighttime bathroom trips. Even a quick 10-minute catnap can help your wake up more refreshed and ready to go.
  13. Interview and select your baby’s pediatrician. Find out what screening tests or vaccinations your hospital routinely gives newborns.
  14. Treat yourself to a few new third-trimester wardrobe updates. Try to choose versatile pieces that will work postpartum such as work-appropriate flowy tops, tanks with built-in nursing bras, or stretchy pants with fabric waistbands that will not irritate a healing incision if you need a C-section. There are now also many companies that also rent maternity clothes if you don’t feel like making a big investment.
  15. Research cord blood banking, and if you opt to save some of your baby’s blood from the umbilical cord, make necessary arrangements with a cord blood banking company or service. Make sure to inform your doctor of your plan, put it on your birth plan, and pack the collection kit in your hospital bag.
  16. If needed, have a non-stress test.
  17. If needed, have a biophysical profile.
  18. Finish painting and decorating the baby nursery.
  19. Make freezer meals for yourself. Have a backup plan for those nights where someone forgets to bring their meal-train meal. Remember casseroles can be frozen for up to 2-3 months, much longer than most meal-trains last.
  20. Tackle any cleaning projects that will bother you if they don’t get done for the six months after your delivery. Wait for a day when you feel particularly energetic. Possible cleaning projects include sorting through your pantry, cleaning your refrigerator, washing windows, or refolding the linen closet. If addressing clutter or cleaning pet peeves now will help you stay calm postpartum, then get busy!
  21. Make up a postpartum comfort basket for your bathroom. Stock it with Epsom salts (for sitz baths), super-absorbent pads, soft, stretchy, mesh underwear, a squirt bottle (called a peri bottle), hemorrhoid cream, and any other healing creams, numbing sprays, or other perineal products your OB or postpartum doula recommends. Save your partner the anguish of a late-night crisis in the feminine hygiene aisle of the drug store.
  22. Look for a breastfeeding and postpartum support group to join, either virtually or in person.
  23. Check out new mom or parenting apps and online groups. Poll your friends and coworkers to find out which ones they recommend. Many new moms get sucked down into rabbit holes of unhelpful chat groups or social media feeds. Avoid scrolling endlessly by having some reputable information sources like The Pulse already bookmarked before you deliver.
  24. Research your health insurance’s mental health services and look for providers within your network who are accepting new patients. Postpartum depression is not inevitable, but it can be overwhelming to try to find a new therapist when you are feeling down. If you have a history of depression or other mood disorders, you may want to establish a relationship with a counselor or therapist before you deliver. Of course, you can always cancel the appointments if you are doing great!
  25. Spend more quality time with your partner, pets, and other children if you have them. Also, on our second trimester list, prioritizing family time now will help adjustment after the family’s newest member arrives.
  26. Continue taking your prenatal vitamin and making time to eat healthy and nutritious meals. As your baby grows, heartburn and feeling full all of the time can decrease your appetite. Try eating smaller, protein and vegetable-rich snacks. What you eat now can help you recover and heal more quickly after delivery.
  27. Purchase a baby journal. These memory books are a great place to jot down snippets of your life as a new parent. Recording your baby’s milestones and memories in a baby journal protects them from being lost to the hazy, sleep-deprived whirlwind that is postpartum.
  28. Keep moving. It is tempting to skip exercise as your body becomes more tired, achy, and awkward. Remember, continuing with regular walks, prenatal yoga, or your regular pregnancy fitness routine will keep you feeling good through the end of your pregnancy.
  29. If you plan to give birth in a hospital or at a birth center, go on a tour. Start visualizing yourself giving birth in this setting to reduce your anxiety of the unknown.
  30. Narrow down your choice of baby names.

While this list may seem overwhelming, the goal was to help you prepare and feel less stressed about Baby’s arrival. Most importantly, don’t forget to do something for yourself. Acknowledge and celebrate the fantastic job you are doing right now. You are growing another human being and preparing to bring it into this world. Find time to be alone and make space to process your feelings about becoming a mother. Mentally preparing for childbirth and motherhood happens best from a place of peace and comfort. So, whether you choose a restful nap, a warm soak in the tub, or a mindful walk through the woods, put your self-care at the top of your third-trimester to-do list.

Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a certified nurse-midwife with a Master's Degree in Maternal and Child Health from Harvard Chan School of Public Health. Her passions are health literacy and women's reproductive health. A recent two-year sabbatical with her family in Spain was the impetus for becoming a freelance women's health writer. An exercise nut, she is happiest outdoors and on adventures abroad.

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