You are now in your third trimester: the final stretch of your pregnancy! Whoo!
For me personally, the third trimester is my favorite trimester. The end is in sight, and I get so excited to meet my baby!
During this trimester, your belly will grow bigger than you could have ever imagined, and your feet will get harder to reach. Simple tasks like putting on socks and shoes, or clipping and painting toenails may require creative solutions (or just ask hubby to help). And honestly, you may get quite uncomfortable by the end of your pregnancy.
On the positive side, ultrasounds are extra exciting because your baby’s features are getting more prominent, and you can actually picture what they will look like after birth.
Here are 12 things that I think every pregnant mama should do during the third trimester.
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Take Maternity Photos
Talking about belly bumps, I took FOREVER to show during my first pregnancy. Like even during the last month, I think I could still hide it under a baggy shirt if I wanted to.
Anyways, I think maternity photos are a beautiful way to commemorate your pregnancy! You may not feel the most glamorous, and may even feel like a whale (I sure did), but you won’t be pregnant forever!
Whether you get them professionally taken, or you just get your hubs to take a few snapshots, I think every mama-to-be should take photos during the third trimester.
I enjoyed getting dressed up for a mini photo shoot and still love looking back on those pictures from time to time.
Here’s a pic from my first maternity shoot by Abby Hearne Photography:
And here’s one from my maternity shoot during my second pregnancy.
Have a Baby Shower
For our first son, we had our baby shower a month before the due date. But as you may know if you’ve read Ezra’s birth story, he came early with an emergency c-section. That ended up happening 3 days after the baby shower. Cutting it a little close!
With our second, we had the baby “sprinkle” toward the end of the second trimester. We combined it with a gender reveal party. I think if I were to do it again, I would have a baby shower toward the beginning of the third trimester, so that my pregnant belly would be showing, but it would still leave plenty of time for us to get all the baby gear set up before the baby comes.
Photo from our gender reveal baby sprinkle:
I think the end of second trimester/beginning of third trimester is a good time for a babymoon. By this time, most women are over the nasty all-day sickness phase, and you aren’t so big that you’re super uncomfortable yet.
Enjoy a getaway with your partner and make lots of memories with just the two of you!
We went to Hawaii for our first babymoon, which was AMAZING. And we went to Solvang, CA for our second babymoon. Our older son tagged along, but it was still so nice to go on a little trip before the craziness of newborn life began.
Pick Your Baby’s Name!
We always had a long list of girl names, but never had any boy names in mind. But alas, we had two boys, so we racked our brains and finally landed on names probably in the last month of both my pregnancies.
Since our last name is British, we gave both our boys 2 middles names: one Japanese (my husband is ethnically Japanese) and one Korean (since I am ethnically Korean). This way they get to keep their ethnic/cultural background in their names.
Prepare a Place for Baby to Sleep
Everyone makes it seem like you need to have a immaculately decorated nursery before the baby arrives. Although that is a nice idea, I don’t think it’s actually worth stressing over if you can’t get that done before the baby arrives.
However, you should definitely have a place prepared for the baby to sleep.
For our first son, we got our crib from our baby shower and had set it up the day before our first son decided to show up early.
I thought we were cutting it close, but actually our son ended up sleeping in a pack n play in our room for the first 6 months and then moved over to his own room and crib.
With our second son, a friend gave us their co-sleeper bassinet. So we used that for about 3 months or so before he outgrew it and we moved him into the pack n play (and sometimes co-slept).
If you choose to co-sleep, the DockATot is quite popular.
We also used this Boppy lounger quite a lot for naps and for lounging. This isn’t made for sleeping technically, so make sure to keep an eye on baby when they use this.
Take Classes: Baby Basics, Breastfeeding, Birth/Lamaze
I had no experience with babies before I had my own. Like ZERO. I had never changed a diaper before. Okay, I had held a baby before, but never babysat, never helped out in a nursery. I just wasn’t really a baby person.
Baby Basics Class
So for me, taking the baby basics class was really helpful in making me feel more prepared. I found one at the hospital that I gave birth at. At my hospital, they only offered the classes about once a month, and class sizes are limited, so I would make sure to sign up for classes a couple months in advance.
But there is a ton of information online, and there are online courses available too. The point here is: get the education you need to help you feel prepared to have your baby (in whatever way you choose to do so).
In addition to baby basics, my husband and I took a breastfeeding class. Obviously, I had never breastfed before my first son, but I also didn’t really have any close friends or family that had recently had a baby that could share all the details of breastfeeding. So for my taking a breastfeeding class was a no-brainer. But this class is really just the tip of the iceberg.
Breastfeeding can be really difficult for a lot of women, as it was for me. I would definitely recommend taking a class at the hospital or a course online. And if I were to do it again, I think I would have joined breastfeeding support groups.
And if budget allows, I would recommend hiring a lactation consultant, or making sure that there is one at the hospital. I will share more of my breastfeeding journey in another post.
Lastly, my husband and I also took a birth class. Although, looking back, I didn’t need to take it because I ended up having c-sections for both my babies. In this class, they talk about all the stages of labor, and the options of pain-killers, when to come to the hospital, and also showed objects that represented the dilation measurements.
I believe a roll of toilet paper was shown for the 10 cm dilation. And yes, all of us pregnant mamas were freaking out at that image.
Yes, taking the classes did freak me out to a certain extent. But I felt empowered by the things I learned in the classes, and felt better prepared for the birth of my baby.
Take a Tour of the Hospital
Along the lines of feeling prepared, I would also recommend taking a tour of the hospital at which you are planning to give birth. I think this was also only provided once a month, so you need to sign up in advance to go on the tour.
During the tour, they show you where the triage is: the place you will first go when you are in labor. They also showed the rooms at which the delivery of the baby will take place. And they also show you a maternity room where you will be spending the rest of your stay.
Depending on the hospital, they may or may not have a nursery where the nurses can take care of the babies at night allowing the parents to get some rest.
Taking a tour of the hospital gave me a sense of ease too, knowing what the place looks like and I can expect during my stay at the hospital.
Create a Birth Plan
And by this I mean, have a general idea of how you want your birthing experience to go. Some people don’t want any pain-killers. Some people want a water birth. Whatever it is, talk to your OB/midwife, and also your partner or doula or whoever it is that is going to be with you. Let them know exactly what you want.
However, I think it’s best to remember to have an open mind, and that it is okay if things don’t go exactly as planned. Sometimes births do go exactly as planned. But many times, births don’t go the way that we want it to.
For example, I had always envisioned that I would carry my babies to full-term and deliver vaginally with an epidural. But my story didn’t go that way. You can read my first son’s birth story here.
Pack a Hospital Bag
Again, for my first son, I had an emergency c-section 3 weeks early, so I didn’t have a chance to pack a hospital bag. My husband had to go back home and pack some of the things the baby and I needed. So, I would definitely recommend packing a hospital bag a few weeks before your due date just in case your baby decides to come early.
Check out my Hospital Bag Essentials Checklist here.
Sleep As Much As Possible
Toward the end of the pregnancy, it does get quite uncomfortable, so it is difficult to get quality sleep. However, when baby comes, it gets even more difficult to get quality sleep. TRUST ME.
Sleep as much as you can. Or at least lie down and rest as much as you can. During the third trimester of my first pregnancy, I had quit work, so I had the luxury of taking naps during the day. And even during my second pregnancy, I would take naps when my son would take naps.
Go On Dates and Hang Out with Friends
Whether you like it or not, oftentimes having a newborn can change relationships, in a positive or negative way. I think going on lots of dates and hanging out with friends a lot before having your baby will help combat negative changes.
Also, unless you have loads of family nearby, it’s not gonna be easy to go on dates after baby comes. So make sure you make the most of the alone time you have with your hubs!
Pamper Yourself: Get Your Hair and Nails Done
The last thing I wanted to mention is to pamper yourself a little before your baby comes! It’s nearly impossible to paint your own toenails with a third trimester belly anyways, so why not go get a pedicure? And throw in a mani while you’re at it!
I knew I was going to take lot of pictures with the baby and wanted to make sure my nails looked presentable. I got gel nails so that they would last for a few weeks.
I also got my hair done because I knew it would be months before I could leave my baby long enough to get my hair colored.
I know some people also get lash extensions, since it’s not easy to get around to putting on makeup when you have a newborn.
Whatever it is, take a little time to pamper yourself, because girlllllll–life is gonna get real busy real soon.
There you have it! These are the 12 things I think that every mama should do to celebrate their pregnancy, and also feel prepared for the birth of their baby.
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