The third trimester is the final homestretch before baby. Many things need to be done to ensure a healthy, natural and happy transition to parenthood. Use this third trimester checklist to get things done, without going insane!
Visit First Trimester Checklist
If you haven’t already, click over to my first trimester checklist to make sure those to-do’s have already been crossed off. Likely, you’ve already done all of them. Good job!
Visit Second Trimester Checklist
Also, make sure to check out my ultimate fun second trimester checklist. You likely haven’t done everything on that list! Maternity photos and prenatal massages are just two of the fun things on that list!
The Best Third Trimester Checklist
Without further ado, the following is an amazing third trimester checklist that will keep you from going insane! Or at least, less insane. Sanity is a valuable commodity before having a baby. 😉
The third trimester is the most physically demanding trimester. You will have gained 25-35 pounds (give or take), be pumping way more blood than usual, organs are compressed and the pelvis begins to soften to prepare for birth. It’s intense!
An important part of the third trimester is to care for the mind, body and spirit. Remember, it is important to put your own oxygen mask on before you can help others with theirs.
An easy way to care for the body is to prioritize sleep. This may look like scheduling naps and going to bed on time each evening. When the body is rested, it’s easier to face the challenges of each day.
TIP: If you’re not sleeping well at night, read my tips to get better sleep while pregnant.
Get a Pedicure
If you do nothing, get a pedicure during the last couple weeks of pregnancy. While on bed rest after baby is born, pretty toes spark so much joy!
On the left are my swollen, yet painted toes right before I had my baby. The toes on the right are my newly, de-swollen toes in the first week postpartum. Case in point!
Hire a Housecleaner
For many pregnant women the desire for a clean home is extremely intense, and intensifies as the pregnancy progresses. Nesting is a real thing!
Towards the end of the third trimester, or more often if you can afford it, hire a housecleaner to come in for a deep cleaning.
Also, if you’re having a hospital birth, get someone to come while you’re giving birth. How amazing would it be to come home to a sparkling home?
This is not to say that a pregnant woman can’t clean themselves, it’s actually a fabulous way to promote an optimal fetal position. But one way to care for yourself is to bring someone in and clean for you. What a treat!
Continue Gentle Pregnancy Exercise
Exercise is a fun way to care for the body and pregnancy is no exception! Spinning Babies’ Daily Essentials exercise dvd is a great choice! Not only will you feel great, you’ll learn ways to rest and move the body to promote a less painful and faster birth.
Who wouldn’t want that??
Besides the Daily Essentials film, other great options are swimming, walking and yoga. Have fun!
Schedule Alone Time
The third trimester can get SO busy and SO packed full of time sensitive activities, it is easy to forget to make time to be alone. Reading, journaling, painting, etc. are great ideas for an alone time activity. Introverts, can I get an amen?
Depending on your personality, you’ll need more or less alone time. But no matter who you are, being alone is especially important when pregnant.
TIP: A delicious way to slow down and stay present is to enjoy a cup of tea. Check out Mother Rising’s pregnancy tea recipe!
Schedule Social Time
On the flip side, it’s also important to schedule time to have fun with friends and family. To me, going to the movies is an excellent activity to do with friends during the third trimester. You may never get to go to a movie again! 😉
My favorite way to connect with others, however, is to share a meal. Invite someone over or go out for a bite to eat. You’ll have a great time.
Labor, Delivery and Postpartum
This section of the third trimester checklist is all about labor, delivery and postpartum. Let’s get started!
Write Birth Plan
Have you written a birth plan? There are many resources on the internet and Pinterest about writing birth plans. Here’s a post about how to write a natural birth plan.
A birth plan is a great way to think about, plan for and organize one’s thoughts about labor, delivery and postpartum. One of my favorite uses of a birth plan is actually not for labor, but prenatally as a conversation starter with care providers.
TIP: Observe how your care provider responds to the ideas on your birth plan. Pay very close attention to how you feel during this conversation. A care provider’s response can be very telling about the kind of care that will be given during labor, delivery and postpartum.
Request Delayed Cord Clamping
When possible, one of the best things for a newborn is to receive all the blood it is intended. The way to ensure that is to allow for delayed cord clamping instead of cord blood banking.
Delayed cord clamping is something to be written on a birth plan, but also talked about with a care provider before birth. At minimum, a 1-2 minute delay is so helpful, but the longer the better!
Create a Packing List for a Hospital Bag (no matter where you birth)
Another thing to create is a packing list for a hospital bag, no matter where you birth. This means that even if you’re planning for a homebirth, create a list of what you would take to the hospital in case a hospital birth became your next best thing.
During my third birth I transferred from home to the hospital and for the life of me I could not figure out what to pack! Thankfully, my doula helped me. A hospital bag packing list would have been much more efficient!
Tour the Hospital
Another task to add to the third trimester checklist is to take a tour of the local hospital where you’ll be giving birth. A tour can be helpful for many reasons including
- to become familiar with directions to and from the hospital
- pre-register to minimize hospital check-in time
- to help visualize the space where you’ll be giving birth
- to understand hospital checkin and triage procedures
- ask questions about hospital procedures after admission/during labor and delivery
Contact your local hospital to inquire about the next tour of the labor and delivery floor!
Take a Breastfeeding Class
Another task on the third trimester checklist is to take a breastfeeding class. Honestly, I never took a breastfeeding class before I had my first child, but I really wish I had. After I had my first, as part of my doula training, I took a breastfeeding class and it was so good and helpful!
If anything, after taking a breastfeeding class you will have met a breastfeeding advocate in the community you live. After birth, this person will an amazing resource if you have any trouble with breastfeeding.
TIP: If you can’t take a breastfeeding class or don’t have one in your area, the next best thing is to read some great breastfeeding books. There’s some really well written ones out there!
Attend a Breastfeeding Support Group Meeting
Another thing to do in the third trimester is to attend a breastfeeding support group meeting. Why attend a meeting during pregnancy?
- to dip your toe in the world you are about to become a part of
- learn a few things about breastfeeding
- see other women breastfeed, which may be completely foreign thing!
My favorite reason for attending a breastfeeding support group during pregnancy is because you will learn earn where and when a free local breastfeeding support group is in your community. When having a new baby, the learning curve is so high and it makes sense to ease the burden of postpartum and learn a few things during pregnancy.
Read Third Trimester Pregnancy Books
During the first and second trimesters, much of the focus is on the upcoming labor and delivery. However, I think the tail end of pregnancy needs to be devoted to books about baby care, postpartum recovery, vaccinations, etc. Compared to parenting, pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum is a blip on the radar screen!
I have a third trimester pregnancy book list that will get you started! Head on over and see if any of those books pique your interest.
Communicate Postpartum Needs
Another task to add to the third trimester checklist is to communicate postpartum needs to friends and family. Often, the postpartum experience surprises us and catches us off guard! To determine postpartum needs…
- Brainstorm a list of you and your partner’s top 3-5 postpartum stressors.
- Pick one, and brainstorm all possible solutions.
- Circle the favorite solution.
- Next, brainstorm ways to implement or establish this particular solution NOW, during pregnancy.
If applicable, communicate this process with the friends and family that will be supporting you during your postpartum transition.
Download Contraction Timer App
The third trimester is a good time to download a contraction timer app. This app will make timing contractions easy peasy! My favorite is Contraction Master, but I’m sure there are lots of great ones out there.
Buy Comfortable Clothes for Postpartum
A fun thing to during the third trimester is to begin gathering the supplies that you’ll need for postpartum. At minimum, you will need…
- A few nursing bras
- Soft, comfortable stretchy pants —-> these or these look like great choices!
- A few nursing tanks
If you’re a fashionable mama, check out my blog post about how to make a postpartum clothes capsule wardrobe. I guarantee you’ll become inspired!
Buy a Postpartum Survival Kit
The next thing to do on this third trimester checklist is to stock up on supplies for a postpartum survival kit. You will need a few different types of pads.
Check out my post about —–> Postpartum Survival Kit (with a list of the types of pads to buy) and
Check out my post about —–> How to Make a Postpartum Herbal Bath
Gather Homebirth Supplies
If you’re planning for a homebirth, the third trimester is the time to gather and organize all homebirth supplies. I’ve planned for two homebirths – one in 2012 and the other in 2015.
For my first, here is the list of homebirth supplies I got together (I was planning on a waterbirth).
Prepare for Placenta Encapsulation
Another thing to think about is if placenta encapsulation is something you are considering either contact your local placenta specialist or gather the placenta encapsulation supplies to do it yourself.
Prepare for Water Breaking
One last thing to add to the third trimester checklist, in regards to preparing for birth, is to prepare for the possibility of your water breaking before labor beings.
The two things you’ll likely want to protect are 1) your car and 2) your bed.
- For the car, at minimum keep a towel and a couple pads in the trunk. When in labor, use it to sit on for the drive to the hospital. I’ve had doula clients that have had their water break while on their way!
- For the bed, buy a plastic shower curtain and put it underneath the mattress protector and sheet. OR buy a waterproof mattress protector.
TIP: If you buy a plastic shower curtain, take it out of the package and let it air out/off-gas before putting in your bed.
Are you hanging with me? The next category on the third trimester checklist is getting all the baby stuff completed! So fun!!
Attend Your Baby Shower!
Firs thing first, in the third trimester attend your baby shower! A baby shower is a sweet way to celebrate new life and impending big changes for a family.
If a baby shower isn’t your thing, consider a mother blessing! Instead of the focus being on baby, a mother blessing is geared toward supporting a woman through the transition to motherhood.
If for whatever reason you won’t be having a baby shower or a mother blessing, throw yourself a baby shower via Amazon! That’s what I did for my third baby and it was so fun! It was really cool to receive only the things I really wanted as gifts! 😉
Complete Baby Registry
After a baby shower is the time to take a look at what’s left on the registry and purchase items so that you will have what you need. Most stores like Target, Babies R Us and Amazon give parents 20% off coupons to purchase the remaining items on the registry.
Wash and Organize Baby Clothes and Diapers
Another fun thing to add to the third trimester checklist is to wash and organize baby clothes and diapers. The only caution I have here is that if you have a lot of newborn sized clothes, maybe only wash a few things. If your baby is around 8 pounds or more, he’ll likely only be in newborn clothes for a week, if that.
If it turns out your baby is 7 pounds or less, you’re likely safe to wash and use all the newborn sized clothes you own. I’d hate for you to pull the tags off and wash a ton of clothes you’ll never use!
Finish Baby Nursery or Mastursery
For me, one of the most exciting things about the third trimester is to create and decorate a baby nursery, or a “baby corner” in the master bedroom. I made a “baby corner” but I called it a mastursery.
TIP: Don’t get hung up on your space limitations! Be creative and make a space that sparks joy! Don’t forget, your baby won’t care, this is really for you!
Pick Baby’s Name
Naming a child, especially before they’re born, can be a daunting task! If baby’s name has not been chosen, create a “short list” of agreeable names to choose from. Carry this list with you and practice speaking the name aloud.
Don’t worry, if you can’t choose a name during pregnancy, it’ll likely get easier once you meet your sweet baby!
For my most recent baby, I bought a Chicco Keyfit 30 off of Amazon and installed it myself by 37 weeks. It is important to install it before baby comes to give plenty of time for a proper installation. Reading the installation manual in the hospital parking lot sounds like a nightmare to me!
Also, it was helpful for my older children to being to see baby things here and there. They couldn’t wait to ride in the van with the new baby!
TIP: If you have any questions, contact a child safety seat inspection station for help. If you’re lucky, you may also have a carseat tech in your area!
Plan for Baby Announcements
Have you thought about how you would like to announce the birth of your baby?
Whatever your preferred method of announcing – Facebook, email, phone, text, mail – make a plan and do what needs to be done to make that happen. Once baby is born, your time will be limited!
Around the House
Finally, the last section of the third trimester checklist is for tasks for in and around the house. Let’s get started!
Stock the Freezer and Pantry
Around 35 weeks pregnant (give or take) spend a little bit of time cooking freezer meals for postpartum. Check out my freezer cooking posts at…
- 30 weeks pregnant (Trim Healthy Mama menu)
- 36 weeks pregnant (Traditional Menu)
- Top 12 Freezer Meals for New Moms
- Energy Bites for Pregnancy and Postpartum (these freeze amazingly well)
- Freezer Smoothie Packs
Stock Up On Consumables
Another thing to stock up on are paper goods and other consumables like…
- paper plates
- plastic cutlery
- hand soap
- dish soap
- dishwasher detergent
- laundry detergent
- toilet paper
- pads (check out my postpartum survival kit)
Check out this hilarious, yet extremely applicable post about how to prepare for the BABY apocalypse.
If you have been blessed by a baby shower, presents, meals, etc., a thank you note is a sweet and simple way to show thanks. Check out these cute thank you cards on Amazon!
Pay Bills and Catchup on Paperwork
As much as possible before giving birth, schedule bills, pre-pay bills and catchup on any paperwork that needs attention. For some, this may end up being overkill, but for many tying up loose ends will help everything stay sane and running smooth in the next 4-6 weeks.
Arrange for Child/Pet Care
If you already have children at home (two and four legged), the third trimester is the time to finalize arrangements for their care when you are gone and/or busy.
TIP: Get creative and consider a trial run for everybody’s sanity. Don’t let the birth of a baby be the first time a sibling spends the night away from mommy and daddy!
The last item on this third trimester checklist is to clean the inside and the out of the vehicle or vehicles that baby will ride in. I don’t know about you, but a clean vehicle is SO nice! If you can, splurge and pay for someone to do it for you.
The Best Third Trimester Checklist
Just to recap, here are the tasks on the third trimester checklist. You can do it!
- Read first trimester checklist
- Read second trimester checklist
- Prioritize sleep
- Get a pedicure
- Hire a housecleaner
- Continue gentle pregnancy exercise
- Schedule alone time
- Schedule social time
- Write birth plan
- Create packing list for hospital
- Tour the hospital
- Take a breastfeeding class
- Attend a breastfeeding support group meeting
- Read third trimester pregnancy books
- Communicate postpartum needs
- Download contraction timer app
- Buy comfortable clothes for postpartum
- Buy a postpartum survival kit
- Gather homebirth supplies
- Prepare for placenta encapsulation
- Prepare for water breaking
- Attend your baby shower or mother blessing
- Complete baby registry
- Wash and organize baby clothes and diapers
- Finish baby nursery or mastursery
- Pick baby’s name
- Install carseat
- Plan for baby announcements
- Stock the freezer and pantry
- Stock up on consumables
- Finish thank-you’s
- Pay bills and catch up on paperwork
- Arrange for child and pet care
- Clean vehicles
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