The third trimester starts when you are 28 weeks pregnant. For me that is today. It’s the last trimester of your pregnancy, although there is a fourth trimester which is the first 12 weeks of having a newborn baby. The third trimester can pretty much replicate the first, with tiredness and sickness returning, plus you may start to feel huge as your bump and baby continue to grow. This is a really special time, it’s the last 12 weeks of being pregnant, so enjoy it, and enjoy having a baby bump to carry around. It’s also a time for planning, and making sure that you and your partner are ready for the arrival. So here are my top tips on what to do during the third trimester of your pregnancy.
Get the nursery ready
This doesn’t need to be anything fancy to begin with as your newborn baby will be sleeping in your room for the first six months. I would recommend that you have a room ready with a changing table, or cot top changer. A chest of drawers for the clothes. Plus somewhere to keep all the stuff you need that goes with having a newborn.
Once you’ve got settled you can then work on creating a beautiful nursery, or if you’re adventurous you could do it before the baby is born.
Pack your hospital bag
Think carefully about what you need to pack here, you don’t need loads and loads of stuff, just the essentials. I would recommend having one bag for you and another bag for your newborn. Make sure that you have something to give birth in, something comfy to wear afterwards, nursing bra, big black pants, water and something to keep your energy levels up and music. The list is endless. If you’re in for a few days you can always get your partner to bring in more clothes for you and the little one.
For the little one you will need abut 5 baby vests, 5 sleep suits, a hat, scratch mitts, cellular blanket and car seat (some hospitals won’t let you go home until they have seen the baby in a car seat). Also if you are planning to breastfeed, a bottle and ready-made formula will not do any harm, just in case you struggle to breastfeed to begin with.
Rest and sleep as much as possible
This goes without saying. If you need an early night, have one. If you need to rest during the day, have a nap. Your body is now working so hard to create a strong enough baby to enter the world. Once your baby is here, sleep deprivation may hit you like a ton of bricks, so it’s best to get that extra sleeping in whilst you can.
Get everything ready that you need for a newborn
This doesn’t have to be very much at first, and you will probably be bought loads of gifts once the little one arrives. You will need the essential items like newborn baby clothes including vests, sleepsuits, scratch mitts and a hat. Don’t bother with socks they just fall off, plus sleep suits have built in feet. You’ll also need a pram, car seat, moses basket or baby bed. As well as a changing table to save your back, that’s stocked with nappies, wipes, baby cream such as Sudocrem.
In terms of feeding if you’re going to breastfeed you will need nursing bras and lots of long stretchy tops (Primark make the best ones that you can easily pull down under another top), nipple cream and breast pads. Plus a breast pump, this will help to boost your supply, and allows you to stock up on milk for later feeds. If you’re going to bottle feed, you’ll need bottles, formula and a steriliser.
Here’s my list of essential items you need for your second or later baby.
Have a weekend or night away just the two of you
If you can enjoy a weekend or night away with your partner before the baby arrives. You can fly up to 36 weeks pregnant, or you could take a relaxing break in the UK and enjoy being pampered. There are loads of options, and it’s a good excuse to spend time with your partner and have one last trip away for a while.
Go to antenatal or NCT classes (or hypnobirthing classes)
There are many classes that you can do in the lead up to the birth of your baby that will prepare you for and teach you about the birth. Most hospitals offer antenatal classes for free, and there are also NCT classes that you can do. NCT classes cost money however they are a brilliant way to make friends in your local area that are at the same stage of pregnancy as you. Hopefully you’ll end up with a good group and end up being friends for years afterwards.
Hypnobirthing is another class to attend where you will be taught simple self-hypnosis relaxation techniques to help you manage your birth and pain. Even if you plan to have a hospital birth with all the drugs or a C-Section, hypnobirthing can help you with that.
Be clear on your birth preferences
What I mean by this is be clear on the type of birth you want. Do you want a home, hospital or birth centre birth? What is your opinion on drugs during the birth? Do you want it to be as natural as possible? There are so many options and it’s easy during labour for your birth plan or birth preferences to go out the window whilst you cope with the pain and tiredness. Make sure your birth partner is clued up on your birth preferences so that they can talk to the doctors and midwives in case you can’t.
Prepare yourself mentally
This might sound silly but you do need to prepare mentally for your new arrival. I’ll be honest, once the little one is here your life will change forever. It won’t be the same, and it’ll be hard. You may be in pain, and you may not have slept for days. Sleep deprivation is the absolute worst and can make every situation seem a thousand times worse. You may offer suffer from the baby blues or post-natal depression. If you feel that this is happening, then make sure you get help early on before it spirals.
Beat those stretch marks
Your body is going through huge changes and your skin around your belly button will be stretching to accommodate your growing baby. It’s best to use a stretch cream or oil early on to prevent stretch marks which may appear as red lines during pregnancy or after the birth. Don’t worry they will gradually fade to silver lines over time, but a good stretch mark cream will help to reduce these.
Try not to panic
Lastly try not to panic. This is easier said than done. Although if you are organised and feeling relaxed you will be fine. Remember that hundreds of babies are born every day. Just take each part of the birth as it happens and try to breathe. Then once the baby is here, take each day, each hour at a time. You may be having a really bad hour with the newborn, but the next hour could be completely fine. Oh and remember to rest when they sleep. That’s really important for your sanity, the washing and hoovering can definitely wait.
So that’s my list of what to do during the third trimester of pregnancy. Most of all enjoy it, as the little one will be here before you know it.
Good luck with the birth and the early newborn days, and congratulations!