I remember the third trimester, it’s when three months felt like ten, even more for those who go over their due date.
There’s one way to speed up this often uncomfortable wait, and to ensure you continue to have a stress free pregnancy and that’s to make preparations before baby arrives. You’ll thank yourself later.
The most important things to do before baby comes
Get your birth plan sorted
If you prefer to have some sort of control over labour when you’re not in a position to make proper decisions, having a birth plan communicated to your birthing team is a good idea. To give you a head start, some components you might like to include are:
• How you’d like to labour, for example, sitting in a comfortable recliner chair, standing up and walking around, in a warm bath.
• How you’d like your environment, e.g. music, lighting, essential oils diffusing etc.
• Pain control you’re open to
• Preferred positions for delivery
• Delayed cord clamping
• Dads involvement with the birth
Read up on breastfeeding
Breastfeeding looks so easy, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth, and it’s essential to set realistic expectations of yourself. Reading up on breastfeeding will help you understand the realities of breastfeeding and the challenges that are typically faced so that your transition is a lot smoother.
Put together a post-birth pack
The post-birth experience can be a real smack in the face and is definitely not a gloriously beautiful time of lying around with baby.
How prepared you are really makes a difference to your comfort levels. Consider putting together a post-partum pack that includes the following:
• Period proof undies
• Full briefs that will go over a c-section scar. Nothing fancy. (If you’d prefer to wear regular undies and a pad).
• Maternity pads (these can also be wet with water, frozen, wrapped with a cloth and placed in underwear. Great for pain relief.)
• Pain killers
• Stool softeners
• Peri bottle
• Epsom Salts (great to soak your lady bits in and reduce swelling, prevent infection and encourage healing. Also great for haemorrhoids.)
• Comfortable pyjamas with lots of breathing room.
• Comfortable nursing bras
• Breast pads
• Nipple shields and nipple cream.
Check out further details on a post partum care kit
Prepare your breastfeeding supplies
When you bring your baby home, you’ll need everything for breastfeeding. Items that are useful include:
• Nursing bras
• Nursing pads
• Nipple shields and cream
• Breast pump
• Breastfeeding pillow
• Bottles for expressed breast milk
• Bottle steriliser
You will absolutely thank yourself for doing some bulk cooking beforehand because sleepless nights and endless hours on the couch feeding will mean cooking is the last thing anyone wants to do. Set aside a day or two and prepare meals that can be frozen.
Pack your hospital bag
Now is the perfect time to pack your hospital bag. For guidance on what to pack, you can find a list suggested by the health department, here
Get all your baby essentials
There’s nothing like buying baby clothes, it’s happiness plus! But don’t go crazy on essential baby items before your baby shower, you may very well receive a beautiful baby box or two full of newborn clothes, muslin wraps and blankets leaving you to get only a few last minute baby items.
With all the baby clothes and baby linen comes lots of washing. With the amount of pooing and spewing a baby does, you’ll be washing a lot. Save yourself time and wash all the new stuff in your third trimester.
Finish the baby’s nursery
If the crib, change table and cupboards are yet to be assembled, now is the time to put your project manager hat on and direct your partner. No heavy lifting now!
Install the baby seat
This isn’t something that can be done in five minutes because safety is paramount. For peace of mind, take your vehicle and baby seat to an authorised fitting station where, for a small fee, a professional will:
• Inspect and adjust the seat for correct installation
• Fit car seats where vehicle modifications are needed
• Install more anchor points
• Retrofit lap and lap-sash seatbelt
• Show you how to use the baby car seat safely.
Schedule in self-care
Whether it’s a pregnancy massage, a pedicure, a wax or a haircut, do it now or forever hold your peace!
It always sounds like a bit of a cliché the advice to, ’sleep as much as you can before baby arrives’. But, every mother will agree, the advice is completely accurate.
Relax as much as you can, even if you can’t sleep during the day, rest with a book and give yourself a break; you’re growing a human and you’ll be delivering it soon!
The third trimester is full of mixed emotions – excitement, nervousness, doubt, fear, but knowing the essential things to do and the essential baby items to buy before baby arrives is the best way to be prepared for such a wonderfully life-changing experience!