Are you in the last trimester of pregnancy? It can drag on – I know. Here is a third-trimester checklist and ideas of things to do to make those last few weeks of pregnancy go by a little faster.
To Do List Before Baby
I swear time slows down when you hit your third trimester – no matter how many times you look at the date circled on the calendar, it never seems to come.
Until it does, and then you just cross your fingers that the turtle paced of time continues as you soak in all the newborn baby love (spoiler alert – time seems to go at 2x pace after baby is born!)
FREE Online Prenatal Course!
Join our "Surviving Pregnancy" eCourse
- Free eight day course taking you from conception to postpartum recovery
- Tips and Tricks from a Mom of 2
- Access to our FREE pregnancy and postpartum support group
I remember whenever anyone would say to me, “Only x amount of weeks left. I can’t believe how fast your pregnancy has gone!”
I would just be like, “Are you INSANE?!”
Regardless of how time can’t actually slow down, it often feels like it. The best antidote for that is to just KEEP busy!
So below you will find a comprehensive list of things to do before your baby comes that will hopefully make those long last few weeks go by a *little* bit faster!
What to do Before Baby Comes
Try and sleep when you can! If you have to work full-time, go to school, or you have other children, this can be more difficult – but not impossible! While I don’t know if you can store up energy from extra sleep for the sleepless nights that are quickly coming,
I highly, highly recommend getting a pregnancy pillow. Total game changer for me (I still use one after I give birth). If you don’t have one, you can get $50 of this one using the code C113D4 (which looks insanely comfortable), or you can check out this one that I had.
Register at the hospital
The last thing you want to do when you are in labor is fill out paperwork. Trust me on this one! So, make sure you pre-register at the location you will be giving birth. Some hospitals will call you as soon as your doctor’s office notifies them you will be a patient there (this is what happened when I was pregnant with Jack), but I wouldn’t rely on this.
You can call the hospital and ask them about pre-registration, and I’m sure they will give you details on the best way to do this. I’d imagine most hospitals have the option to register online nowadays, so it may just be as simple as going to the website. Some hospitals may require you to go in person, so I’d assume nothing! I would register earlier rather than later, but the third trimester is the perfect time for this.
Taking a tour of the labor and delivery unit isn’t a necessity, but it can help calm your nerves and feel more at ease with your impending birth. Most hospitals offer this, free of charge. The hospital I delivered Jack at did not because it was flu and RSV season, but we are going to one tonight for our new hospital.
Even if you can’t go to an in-person tour, check your hospital’s website for a virtual tour! It can calm some nerves if you know exactly where to go and what to do when you arrive at the hospital to have your baby!
I highly recommend taking some kind hospital or birthing class, especially if you are having your first baby. Most hospitals offer a variety of classes, and when I took a class with my first pregnancy, they recommended that you take it at the beginning of your third trimester. Sometimes insurance will even cover the cost of the class, so that is something to look into as well.
The hospital I took my class at offered classes for people who were hoping to have a more “natural” birth – so traditional Lamaze classes like the ones that are portrayed on TV. However, they also had classes that were just about the basics of birth, medicated birth, breastfeeding, etc. which is what I took. I found it to be really helpful.
If you are looking for the most convenient option, check out this Online Prenatal Course. It helps prepare you for your impending birth from the comfort of your home – no need to change out of your pajamas. Here are a few reasons to consider it over your traditional course:
- It’s fast and all about you. You don’t have to go anywhere but your living room couch to finish this course.
- It’s engaging – Hilary is to the point but still makes the course entertaining and helps to put you at ease before the big day
- Accurate – Hilary has over 16 years of experience as a L&D nurse and keeps her knowledge up to date and relevant. No question is too dumb!
I’ve been told that Hypnobabies is an awesome course if you are hoping to go natural, so make sure to check out their website for some labor prep resources.Maternity PicturesIf you are going to get maternity pictures done, the third trimester is the best time to take them in my opinion. It’s the time where you’ll obviously be looking the most pregnant.
Even if you don’t feel beautiful or up for a photo shoot, everyone I know that’s had a maternity shoot done has been grateful for it later. You can look around at local photographers prices, or you can even check out Groupon.It’s the perfect opportunity to get a cute new maternity outfit.
Le Tote is a great clothing rental service that has some wonderful maternity options. They often have discounts, so be sure to check them out. I also really like Stitch Fix, and their maternity options!
Wash baby clothes and linens
Whether you are having your first baby, and you’re stocked up on new clothes, or you are having your second, third, or more baby, you’ll want to wash their clothes before they arrive. This is something I loved doing with Jack. I was surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed going through all our newborn through three-month clothes during this pregnancy – I can’t believe how small Jack was!
While you could wash clothes at any time during your pregnancy, I think the third trimester is a good time to get ready. Some people recommend purchasing a special baby detergent, but we’ve never had any issues using our homemade laundry detergent – and it’s a lot more cost effective.
Have Postpartum Essentials
Do you have everything for postpartum recovery? Trust me, you’re going to want to check out that post – it will make recovery easier. Spoiler alert – this nipple butter and breast gel heating pads SAVED me those first few weeks. You also are going to want to make sure you have everything you need for your baby. I have a list of a no-nonsense baby essentials in case you want to compare your list against mine!
I know, you’re big, tired, and probably the last thing you want to do is exercise. However, if your doctor okays it, I highly recommend doing whatever exercise you can handle. Exercising can help prepare you for childbirth, and it also can help with your mood, recovery from childbirth, and just feeling healthier. If you don’t feel like going outside or going to the gym, you can check out my list of recommended prenatal exercise videos (all free!)
I think the Aaptiv prenatal program is amazing – they have exercises for every week of pregnancy – including those last ones. I use their regular exercise programs when I’m not pregnant, so I can vouch for their awesomeness. You can get a free 30 day trial.
If you haven’t set up the nursery for your baby yet, third trimester is the time to do it. You may want to enlist the help of someone, since it can be difficult to get down on your hands and knees to put together furniture. I think that putting together a nursery can be a lot of fun though and help keep your mind off of more stressful things!
We used a pack-and-play with a newborn insert for the first six months in our room, but I still loved having Jack’s nursery all set up when he came home from the hospital. You don’t have to spend a lot on a nursery (I’ll have to write more about that later), but it’s just nice to have a dedicated space for all of their things.
And of course, I think one of the best things you can add to your nursery is an Owlet Baby Care Monitor. I’ve written several posts on this, and it has alerted us a few times to our son’s oxygen levels being too low – in fact, we now know of some underlying health issues we wouldn’t have known of otherwise.
If you are planning to breastfeed, I highly recommend taking a breastfeeding class before your baby is born. When taught by a qualified IBCLC, it can make such a HUGE difference in your success. Many hospitals offer these, but I LOVE this online Simply Breastfeeding course. I’ve reviewed it, and it’s far better than the class I took when I was pregnant with Jack!
It is $40 and includes videos, one and one phone calls, a forum and more. It’s a steal considering the fact you get to interact with amazing IBCLCs.
Order a Breast Pump
Most insurance companies in the United States are required to provider mothers with a breast pump – make sure you place your order as soon as you are able to. I recommend going through Aeroflow – they can help you figure out your options and get you everything you need as quickly as they can.
Most insurances have just a couple of pumps that you can choose from – here is a little bit of information on the Best Breast Pumps Covered by Insurance .
Prepare for Labor and Delivery
I’ve said it before, but I think the best thing you can do before childbirth is be prepared! I wrote a post awhile back about everything you need to know about labor and delivery, so I recommend starting there. You can decide what type of birth you want (though be prepared for the unexpected), decide for sure where you want to deliver if you have different options, and just prepare yourself mentally and physically for what is about to happen!
Count Baby Kicks
During the third trimester your physician will likely ask you to pay more attention to baby kicks and movement. My doctor’s office has told me to make sure I have at least 10 in a two-hour period. The last time I went in, they said to do really pay attention at least once or twice a day. If you notice decreased fetal movement, it’s important to let your physician know right away!
You can drink a sugary beverage and lay on your left side, just to help encourage the baby to move, but if you ever feel like something isn’t right, don’t hesitate to call.
If you notice decreased fetal movement, it’s important to let your physician know right away!
You can drink a sugary beverage and lay on your left side, just to help encourage the baby to move, but if you ever feel like something isn’t right, don’t hesitate to call. I’m sure there are tons of mobile apps that help you count kicks now a days.
When you are headed to the hospital to have your baby, it’s nice to have your bag already packed. I think I packed my bag last time around 35 weeks, and it was nice just to be able to pick it up and go. You can see the things I recommend for your labor and delivery hospital bag (less is more), and then customize it from there. If you need to bring important documents with you, you should put them in as soon as you can as well. I also recommend packing a bag for your spouse (or asking them to) early one, as well as bags for any children that may need to be dropped off quickly at a relative or family members house!
If you need to bring important documents with you, you should put them in as soon as you can as well. I also recommend packing a bag for your spouse (or asking them to) early one, as well as bags for any children that may need to be dropped off quickly at a relative or family members house!
Waterproof Mattress Cover
Although television and movies would have you believe that most women have their water break in the middle of the night (or the store), in reality, that is not the case. Only about 15% have it break before they go into labor. However, if you are one of those lucky 15%, you’ll want to be prepared. I’ve had a few friends who have had their water break while they were sleeping…and some did not have a
I’ve had a few friends who have had their water break while they were sleeping…and some did not have a waterproof mattress cover on their bed. To avoid having to deal with more of a mess than you have to, I’d put one of these on sometime during your early third trimester.
Install a Car Seat
The hospital won’t let you leave without a car seat for your baby, so make sure you get that well before you go into labor. I would install it sometime around 35 weeks as well, if you are able to, and then get it checked by either a local fire station or your county healthy building. It’s very important to have a car seat that is appropriate for your child’s age and development – you can read my
It’s very important to have a car seat that is appropriate for your child’s age and development – you can read my car seat buying guide for more tips! We loved the Chicco KeyFit 30. It’s lightweight and can accommodate small babies!
Choose a Pediatrician
Before Jack was born, I didn’t even think about researching pediatricians. As you may remember, that is something I regretted, and I wrote this post about finding the perfect pediatrician for your child. Make sure you research pediatricians in your area, find one you like, and contact them before the baby is more to make sure they are taking new clients. A lot of pediatricians only take newborns, so if you decide later on that you want to switch to one, it may be more difficult.
If you are breastfeeding, be sure to read this post to know how to tell if a pediatrician is breastfeeding friendly.
Cord banking is a popular thing right now, and I know many people who do it. It is rather expensive, but if – heaven forbid – you need the cord stem cells at some point, you will probably be grateful that you did it. This is something that you have to arrange before you go into labor, so if you are interested in it, make sure you get it set up.
It may be awhile before you can go on a date night (with just your spouse), so make sure you get a few fun date nights in before the baby comes. We found that we could easily take Jack out to dinner with us when he was an infant (and even now he does just fine), but if you want to go to a nicer restaurant, a movie, or anything like that, milk those for all their worth during the third trimester. Who doesn’t love going out?!
You can never be 100% ready for the arrival of a new baby, but you can do your best. While you will certainly realize that you didn’t have everything you needed, you can do your best to have all the essentials – a crib or pack-and-play, diapers and clothes (in a variety of sizes), etc. You can check out my baby essentials list to make sure you aren’t missing anything! In case you’re too tired to click over, I think everyone needs a BabyBubz nasal aspirator, kimono style onesies (awesome for skin-to-skin), and a Woombie!
Go to your appointments
Order a baby book
You’re going to miss this. You’re going to want this back. You’re going to miss these days, hadn’t gone by so fast. These are some good times, so take a good look around. You may not know it now – but you’re going to miss this.