Your third trimester has arrived!!! The final homestretch has begun and before you lies a whole brushed-under-the-rug pile of dusty to-do checklist items. The GREAT and terrible thing about your third trimester pregnancy is that suddenly…time seems to have come to a standstill. The due date circled on your calendar creeps closer at a shockingly sloth-like pace.
Even though you may feel like the third trimester lasts longer than the other two combined (I certainly felt this way), this leaves you time to get everything done before baby arrives! And trust me, once everything IS finally done you will be amazed when that stress simply melts away. Here is your final “things to do” list and everything you NEED to get done before the big day. Once you’re complete, the to dos are over, momma! You’re ready. So, let’s go and get that nesting over with!
RELATED: I’m super passionate about helping other mommies stay home with their babies. Check out how I did this (and other REAL work from home jobs from other mommies) in order to make a great income and raise baby: How To Work From Home And Make Money On The Side As A Stay At Home Mom.
Preparing For Baby In Your Third Trimester, The ULTIMATE To Do List + FREE Printable
1. Have a birth plan
Most of the time your doctor will ask you fill out a birth plan. This may (and should) include things like pain management, positional preference, and more. If your doctor or birthing place does not provide one, make sure to print one out. They will be glad you did. If you are unsure of all the options you have during birth, I would strongly advise taking Hilary Erickson’s FREE prenatal class. She’s an RN with over 16 years experience in labor and delivery, teaching prenatal classes just like this one. Take it at your own pace, on your own schedule.
Read more about birth plans and what you NEED to know about the whole labor and delivery process here: 10 Vital Labor Tips For First Time Moms
2. Wash baby clothes, sheets, and linens
Your baby will come home with brand new, fresh and very sensitive skin. The last thing you want to deal with during those sleepless survival nights is a giant rash. Avoid a rush to the doctor’s office and simply pre-wash those baby clothes after you remove the tag. This includes sheets, blankets, socks, mittens, hats and other things the baby will be wearing or spending time in.
Be sure to use a baby safe, gentle laundry detergent that’s non-toxic and eco-friendly. Again, the green product SA8 from Legacy of Clean has a five-star rating on Amazon and is usually sold out. You can snatch it up here for $13.15. If you don’t LOVE it, return it as-is (there doesn’t even have to be anything left in it) for a six month, 100% money back guarantee. Legacy of Clean takes their products seriously.
3. Create freezer meals to prepare for baby
This to-do was scheduled a week before baby was due and she came early! Thank goodness my amazing mother-in-law came to the rescue and put some together for us. This time, I’ll be snagging a friend and putting together these meals at least three weeks ahead of time. I love Diary of A Fit Mommy’s freezer meal plan to help prepare for baby. Check out her post here.
4. Prepare for postpartum NOW
During pregnancy, it’s SO important to understand postpartum recovery. Labor and delivery may last for 24 hours but then you have nurses and doctors there to take care of you. Postpartum recovery is HARD, there are no nurses to take care of you or your newborn in your home and it takes at least six weeks to heal! I had been SO nervous about delivering a baby but I should have been MUCH more anxious about the whole postpartum recovery thing.
Check out my top postpartum posts below. I even made an Amazon “idea list” that shows everything recommended from the hospital for your postpartum recovery kit. Trust me, you don’t want to be running to the store during your recovery to pick up pads, trying to find Dermoplast (because it’s a literal postpartum vagina life savor), and wishing to God you had ordered those mesh underwear. Check out: 10 Unbelievable Postpartum Recovery Tips For Healing After A Vaginal Birth
Other top postpartum recovery posts:
20 Must Have Supplies To Speed Up Healing Postpartum After A Vaginal Birth
5 Shocking Truths: What Postpartum Recovery Is Really Like
5. Make sure you take classes
Take a prenatal, breastfeeding (if you choose to opt-out of formula) as well as a labor and delivery class. Taking these classes made me feel SO prepared to have a baby. I knew all of my options, how to care for our newborn when she arrived and how to successfully breastfeed.
Unfortunately, our hospital was a half hour away, the classes filled up SO QUICK and we were forced to go by the hospital’s schedule by taking off work. Seriously inconvenient. I highly recommend taking Hilary Erickson’s classes, she even has a free prenatal class. Just like I mentioned above, she’s an RN with over 16 years experience in labor and delivery, teaching prenatal classes just like these.
6. Consider buying a postpartum girdle
Belly Bandit + Waist Trainer was the best combo I tried. A postpartum girdle helps the tummy area and uterus to shrink back to their original size, and sometimes, even smaller. The waist trainer also helps to shrink your hips too.
7. Create a baby safe home
Snag some outlet plugs, a solid low-cost baby gate if you have stairs (we have an opening to the kitchen where ours was added), buy blind cord hangers, secure furniture, cover sharp corners and make sure to swap out your cleaners for green, safe ones. Throw away the bleach and tide laundry pods (which are fatal if bit into). We didn’t do this right away but had to RUSH when our little one started crawling at nine months. I wish I would have done this during the nesting stage!
8. Swap out your household cleaners for safe non-toxic and eco-friendly ones
Legacy of Clean is a renown SUPER low-cost green, eco-friendly, baby safe and extremely effective brand. You can find their multipurpose cleaner as an “Amazon Choice” item with five solid gold stars but you can get it for HALF the price through this link here. Also, when it comes to laundry detergent, the famous green product SA8 from Legacy of Clean has a five-star rating on Amazon and is usually sold out. You can snatch it up here for $13.15.
9. Understand third trimester testing options
Learn what your doctor might want you to be seen for. Check out Hilary Erickson’s FREE prenatal class (she goes over what you need to know regarding third trimester tests). Also, be prepared to start seeing your doctor more frequently. At the end of the third trimester, your prenatal appointments will usually be every other week.
10. Pack your bag, daddy’s bag and baby’s stuff the right way
It’s time to pack your bag! That’s right – do it, early. I read SO many articles on what to pack in my hospital bag, preparing for the big day. I loaded our bags up with everything everyone said to pack! We used almost none of it.
I felt so silly lugging around those huge bags. We had to leave the hospital several times, waiting for further dilation. Each time we carried the heavy bags in and out. Finally, a couple of the nurses kindly offered to stow our bags in a closet so we wouldn’t have to keep bringing them in! Embarrassing. So, I removed all the extra stuff that I didn’t use and created the perfect list for you (and me for future use!): Hospital Bag Checklist, For Mom To Be
11. Have your baby shower!
Usually, a very kind friend or relative will host this for you but you will need to create the registry. Yay! The good news is, I’ve created the BEST registry list known to mankind for you. I seriously spent close to six months putting together an exhaustive registry list for a couple of girlfriends of mine who were pregnant. After a ton of work, I published The Ultimate Must Have Essentials For Your Baby Registry.
Also, seriously consider registering under Amazon Baby Registry because it’s a ridiculously good deal. I looked at tons of options and ended up going with Amazon because of the awesome perks PLUS you can add items from other stores on your registry! Some of the perks include: a free welcome box for prime users ($35 value), 10% completion discount 60 days before baby’s arrival date or a 15% off completion discount if you are an Amazon Family member, free 90-day returns on Amazon Baby Store purchases, and 20% off all diaper subscriptions.
12. After the baby shower, make a list of what you still need for baby
Write out what you have left to purchase for your nursery and other baby essentials you will need. If you’re not sure what you have left, check out The Ultimate Must Have Essentials For Your Baby Registry. I listd out all the things you need for your baby, including cloth diaper lists if you want to try this out. I recommend giving it a go. You’ll save thousands and it’s super easy. If you’re even a bit curious, check out Cloth Diapers 101, The Complete Guide For Beginners.
13. Make sure the car seat is installed correctly
Most hospitals will not let you drive away (with a newborn) if your car seat is not properly installed. The bad thing: nurses can’t legally help you either. You can set up an appointment to do so at a local fire station and some mechanic shops. Check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website, enter your zip code and find the nearest location to do a car seat safety check for you.
14. Take some pregnancy pamper time
Not only will this be beneficial for your state of mind, but having a fresh cut (and color) as well as a manicure is just fantastic during that postpartum timeframe. This way, you don’t have to worry about your hair, nails or eyebrows and eyelashes (if you choose to do those things too). With hair and nails already done, Newborn pictures were a breeze. I was SO exhausted, there was just no way I could have had any of this done afterwards anyway! Best to do it now.
15. Have your maternity leave planned out and decide if you are going back to work
This may also be a good time to choose whether you want to go back to work or not. Your work might give you the stink-eye and ask! Mine did. Stay strong with your decision! I did the math (including what childcare would cost us) and decided to take steps in order to bring me home and raise our baby. We were able to do this even by cutting our income in half (in the beginning). I wrote a post about how you can do this too and not put your newborn in daycare. Check it out here: Real Work From Home Jobs For Stay At Home Moms.
16. Start looking for baby care
For some that may be a daycare, nanny, friend or family member but start the conversation and search now, then make your final decision before this trimester is over. If you are a single mom or a couple that recently moved away from family and friends, start making a babysitting list now. I use the Sitter app. It’s got pros and cons like most all apps but Sitter is by far the best resource I’ve used (and that isn’t an affiliate link).
17. Finalize all the nursery details
It’s harder to finish the nursery post-baby (at least for a long while). If you have some painting to do, avoid the fumes and tell someone else to do it. Once the nursery is done and everything is ready for your little one to be here, you may be strangely ready. I remember saying to my husband, “I’m SO nervous and anxious about having a baby. And I thought maybe if everything was ready, I’d feel better but I don’t think that’s the case!” Boy, was I wrong. Surprisingly, after the nursery was done and everything was complete, I felt ready. The nerves were gone.
18. Choose a name
For some people, this is SO hard! For others, they’ve planned the names of offspring since date number two (this is seriously true for us). Older names seem to be trending right now as well as passed on family names. Choose names that you and your significant other both like. Heck, if you can’t decide, choose when the baby gets here!
19. Have your house cleaned and don’t be afraid to ask for help pre-baby
Ask mom to come over (or fly her down for a week) before baby, tell your significant other you need help with the dishes more often, set a budget for a maid to come in once a week or every other. Usually, a maid service doesn’t cost nearly as much as you’d think. Amazon now has cost-effective cleaning services! You don’t have to do it all even though we FEEL LIKE IT! Even superwoman had help.
20. Stock up on household supplies
With baby #2 on the way, this time, I am going to make SURE this is done. You don’t know how crazy-frustrating it is to run out of toilet paper (since MIA TP isn’t already a cause for disaster) when you’re in newborn baby survival mode.
- Freezer meals
- Toilet paper
- Napkins, paper plates, and plastic utensils
- Basic cleaning supplies (non-toxic, baby safe)
- Laundry detergent (non-toxic, baby safe)
- Dishwashing detergent (non-toxic, baby safe)
- Shower supplies like a sulfate-free shampoo (because it’s gentle and helps with frizz), a sulfate-free conditioner, and an amazing body soap for your skin
- Beauty supplies that run out frequently like a great hairspray and the best dry shampoo ever
21. Do some fun things before baby arrives
If this is your first little one, life is about to change (understatement of your year right there). Before the sleepless nights commence and your world turns upside down, take some time for you. Get a pedicure, go do some things you LOVE like a night out with the girlfriends or movie night with your significant other. After baby comes, there will be another human to love and therefore your spousal relationship is guaranteed to significantly change. Take some time together and bond. Go on some fun dates!
22. Buy a nursing bra or two
Hello boobies! You can opt for a soft nursing bra with no underwire or other soft maternity bras like Bravado! (this is the one I purchased). During my pregnancy, I couldn’t do underwire, because the baby sat so high, the wire popped out uncomfortably. You may want to skip the underwire too.
23. Tour the hospital (or birthing center) if you haven’t already
Touring the hospital (or wherever you’ve chosen to give birth) is very helpful. Doing so allows you to know the space, the rhythm of the delivery (for example if they take you to a small triage room first, then the delivery room and finally move you to your care room like I experienced), and answer any other questions you have. More than likely, after the tour, you will feel a strong sense of comfort, paving the way for a stress-free delivery.
24. Download the contraction timer app now before you need it!
One of the best ways to be prepared for your labor day is to download a super simple contraction app. This way, you don’t have to frantically search Google (like I did) as the contractions came. I used Full Term. It’s supperrrr easy to do. Just push the GIANT green start button when you feel you may be having a contraction and the GIANT red stop button when it’s done. Above the button, it will give you the duration time in bold and start showing you how frequent your contractions are. No math needed or paper and pencil.
1. Have a birth plan – Write out a birth plan and make sure you know your options. I would strongly advise taking Hilary Erickson’s FREE prenatal class.
2. Wash baby clothes, sheets, and linens – Pre-wash things that will touch baby’s super-duper sensitive skin and avoid a rashy doctor visit. SA8 from Legacy of Clean is a fantastic green, eco-friendly, non-toxic and baby safe laundry detergent.
3. Create freezer meals to prepare for baby – Check out Diary of A Fit Mommy’s freezer meal plan here.
4. Prepare for postpartum NOW – Create your kit right now for a quick recovery. Check out: 10 Unbelievable Postpartum Recovery Tips For Healing After A Vaginal Birth and the Amazon idea list: “The Ultimate Postpartum Recovery List
5. Make sure you take classes – I highly recommend taking Hilary Erickson’s classes. She’s an RN with over 16 years experience in labor and delivery, teaching prenatal classes just like these.
6. Consider buying a postpartum girdle – Try out Belly Bandit + Waist Trainer. I lost the pregnancy look within a week!
7. Create a baby safe home – Add basic baby safety items to your list: outlet plugs, a solid low-cost baby gate, buy blind cord hangers, secure furniture, and cover sharp corners.
8. Swap out your household cleaners for baby safe, non-toxic and eco-friendly ones – Seriously check out: Legacy of Clean’s Multi-Purpose Solution, Legacy of Clean SA8 Laundry Detergent and Legacy of Clean’s Dishwashing Detergent.
9. Understand third trimester testing options – Brush up on the testing options as well as the pros and cons before you are asked to decide. Hilary Erickson’s free prenatal class goes over these tests.
10. Pack your bag, daddy’s bag and baby’s stuff the right way – Pack only what you need but make sure you have that list. Check it out here: Hospital Bag Checklist, For Mom To Be.
11. Have your baby shower! – Make sure everything you need is on that list: The Ultimate Must Have Essentials For Your Baby Registry. And Seriously consider registering under Amazon Baby Registry.
12. After the baby shower, make a list of what you still need for baby – Check off what you still need: The Ultimate Must Have Essentials For Your Baby Registry. Consider cloth diapers: Cloth Diapers 101, The Complete Guide For Beginners.
13. Make sure the car seat is installed correctly – Hop on over to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website, enter your zip code and find the nearest location to do a car seat safety check for you.
14. Take some pregnancy pamper time – Think about getting one or a few things done to save you time post-baby, and look fresh in photos: hair, nails, eyebrows, eyelashes. Don’t skip out on a prenatal massage either if you can!
15. Have your maternity leave planned out and decide if you are going back to work – Know all the things when it comes to maternity leave and check out Real Work From Home Jobs For Stay At Home Moms if you want to stay at home because you definitely can!
16. Start looking for baby care – Choose your childcare and/or make a sitter list. I recommend the free Sitter app.
17. Finalize all the nursery details – Snag someone else to paint and then make sure everything is ready sooner than later.
18. Choose a name – If you can, decide on a name before you go to the hospital.
19. Have your house cleaned and don’t be afraid to ask for help pre-baby – Ask mom to help with dishes when she’s over (because the third trimester is no-joke!) or have a friend come over to help meal prep. Also, try some of Amazon’s cost-effective cleaning services.
20. Stock up on household supplies – Purchase those supplies now to save store trips when everyone is exhausted.
21. Do some fun things before baby arrives – Revel in baby-free time while you have it. Do things you love, go out with the girlfriends, and have a wonderful date night.
22. Buy a nursing bra or two – Level up your bra for a soft nursing bra with no underwire or other soft maternity bras like Bravado!.
23. Tour the hospital (or your birthing center) if you haven’t already – Understand the space you will be in, ask questions and de-stress about your upcoming labor day.
24. Download the contraction timer app now before you need it! – Download Full Term now before you need it. Skip out on the pen and paper. You will be SO thankful!
In the end, climbing the mountain of third trimester pregnancy to-dos may seem overwhelming, but fear not. This trimester may seem neverending but your checklist is not! When you evaluate what needs to be done, print off the list and begin to take action, you will notice a surprisingly calm shift. As the last line item is tackled, many anxieties will subside. Most importantly, you will have done everything needed to prepare for a stress-free, healthy and healing place for you postpartum and your beautiful new baby. Congratulations!