The Best Third Trimester Checklist For The Super Prepared Mom

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the best third trimester checklist for the super prepared mom

It’s almost time to meet your little human, finally! 

By now you’re either at or past 28 weeks and you’re probably ready for this whole pregnancy thing to be over with.

Hopefully, you’ve already completed the first trimester checklist and second trimester checklist so this trimester will be much more relaxing. 

This was when I expected all of my nesting to kick in, but that never happened. All I wanted to do was chill on the couch and binge watch Netflix with a large assortment of snacks. 

For these last few weeks, you’ll be focusing on doing the final touches. Kinda like when you get your hair done and you’re moving those last few curls to their proper place. 

It only requires a little bit of effort but makes a big difference overall. 

Let’s get started!

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1. Track baby’s movements

This trimester is when you’ll want to start counting your baby’s kicks daily so you’ll quickly notice any changes in your baby’s activity level. 

Start paying attention to when your baby is naturally the most active so you don’t panic because you’re trying to count kicks while your baby is taking a nap. 

According to Babycenter, to do a kick count:

My daughter was most active at 2 am (of course) so I would do my kick counts then since it was impossible to sleep with her doing backflips in my belly.

2. Watch out for complications

Sometimes your baby may decide he/she wants to meet you sooner than later. Or you may start noticing changes and you’re not sure what’s considered normal. 

A few signs to watch out for would be:

Talk with your healthcare provider so you know what signs to look for and when you should go straight to the ER versus calling and speaking to a nurse.

3. Know when to head to the hospital

When you start having contractions you may be unsure if you should go to the hospital or labor at home for a while longer. 

If your contractions are more than 5 minutes apart, you’re likely still in early labor and may want to consider staying home until your contractions get closer together. 

Early labor can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days! 

What To Expect says to call your doctor if:

These symptoms may require closer monitoring which means you may be admitted to the hospital.

“Once contractions start coming more frequently, are more consistent, are longer in duration and are more painful, it’s time to call your practitioner. Even if the intervals aren't consistent, or if you're not sure you're in real labor — but the contractions are coming pretty regularly — call anyway, just to be safe.”

4. Download contraction tracker app

Now is the time to start browsing and reading reviews for a few different contraction tracker apps. 

I used this simple and free contraction timer app

Timing your contractions is important so you’ll know what stage of labor you’re in and when you should head to the hospital. 

To time your contractions:

Typically, you go to the hospital when your contractions are consistently 5 minutes apart, but verify with your healthcare provider what they recommend.

5. Take more classes

You’ll never be over prepared for your baby’s arrival. 

A few classes to think about are:

Motherhood is already hard enough. Set yourself up for an easier transition by learning all you can before your baby arrives.

6. Prepare for breastfeeding

“Of the approximately 4 million babies born in 2015, most (83.2 percent) started out breastfeeding – but many stop earlier than recommended”

That’s because breastfeeding is freakin hard!

So many of us go into it thinking it’s this natural experience and it should work out beautifully. 

Well girlfriend, that ain’t always the case. 

Stock up on these breastfeeding essentials and take this super affordable course taught by a lactation counselor (someone who works specifically with breastfeeding moms). 

Save yourself a lot of exhausting, frustrating nights by doing everything you can to prepare in advance.

7. Choose a pediatrician

If you haven’t been interviewing pediatricians yet, start now. 

Your baby will have their first appointment soon after birth and you don’t want to settle for the pediatrician who’s on call when your baby is born. 

Read reviews, ask family and friends who they recommend, and then set up an interview with the pediatrician so you can ask them questions and gauge if they fit your parenting style.

8. Make time for self-care

Once your baby is born he/she will get all of your attention 24/7. Taking a shower becomes something you have to prepare for like Beyoncé’s Coachella performance.

Seriously, you go through your checklist of things like here’s a bottle even though I just fed her she may get hungry again, her diaper has already been changed but sh*t happens (literally & frequently), and here’s a burp rag in case of projectile vomiting. 

Then you stand there for a few seconds thinking of all the other possible scenarios you haven’t prepared your significant other for that could happen during your 7 minute shower. 

So, before your mom anxiety gets even higher than it is now, take some time to relax. You could:

Whatever you do to relax and pamper yourself, maximize your efforts because you may not pamper yourself again for a few months.

9. Pack your hospital bag (and dad’s)

It’s never too early to start packing your hospital bag. I started packing my husband’s and my hospital bag around 30 weeks. At this point I was only packing things I specifically got for the hospital like my robe and slippers.

Unfortunately, I got so lazy during my third trimester that I never finished packing our bags until I was in active labor (which I don’t recommend). 

So a lot of important items were forgotten and my husband had to keep making trips back home to get things I didn’t pack. 

I suggest you have your hospital bags packed and ready to go at least 2 weeks before your due date. That way if your labor starts earlier than expected you’ll still be prepared. 

Even if you plan on having a vaginal delivery, pack enough for at least a 3 day hospital stay.

Quick tip: You can find a list of everything you need to pack for you, dad, and baby in this hospital bag checklist.

10. Pack the diaper bag

Soon after discharge, it’ll be time for your baby’s first doctor’s appointment. Having the diaper bag prepared in advance will be one less thing you have to worry about when trying to make it somewhere on time with a newborn. 

I packed my daughter’s diaper bag around 30 weeks when I started packing our hospital bags. I used her diaper bag as her hospital bag since they pretty much require the same things. 

No need to make extra work for yourself!

Quick tip: Use this diaper checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything you might need while out.

11. Have your baby shower

Anytime between 6-8 months is ideal for having a baby shower. If you wait too late you’ll be scrambling trying to get all of your gifts set up in time for the baby’s arrival. 

The baby shower is usually put together by friends or family so you pretty much just get to show up and be celebrated.

12. Get last minute must-haves

Unfortunately, you don’t always get everything off of your baby registry at your baby shower. 

If there’s something you really want, go ahead and get it so you can have everything you need before your baby gets here. 

A few must-have items to get would be:

These are a few of my favorite baby items that made life with a newborn much easier.

13. Assemble baby gear

If your crib is still in the box it’s not gonna do you much good when you need it. 

The earlier you can get everything assembled and ready for use the better. 

Even if you don’t plan on using something (like a crib) for a while, it may still be a good idea to get it ready so you don’t have to struggle with it later (or ask your husband 58 times to put it together).

14. Finish the nursery 

Try to have your nursery mostly finished by 35 weeks. 

I didn’t do all the things I had planned for my daughter’s nursery like putting cute pictures on the wall or spelling out her name above the crib she didn’t use. 

But, the necessary items were done like setting up the glider and ottoman, organizing her clothes, and preparing our nursing station.

There’s no point in having a cute nursery if it’s not functional.

Get the necessities done first and then worry about the cute decorations.

15. Decide where baby will sleep

This is probably one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Luckily, you can always create a new sleeping arrangement that works best for your family. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you should:

I had our Pack N Play set up beside the bed since her crib wouldn’t fit in our room and I felt like a bassinet was a waste of money (only 1 use for a short period of time). 

When we got home from the hospital, crawling in and out of bed to breastfeed at night every 30 minutes to an hour was excruciating after a c-section. My husband would get up and hand her to me, but even that was becoming too much. 

I researched the Safe Sleep 7 and we started bedsharing from that day forward. And you know what? My daughter slept for over 3 hours which was a huge difference from her waking up every 30 minutes.

“Even though most new breastfeeding mothers today don’t plan to bedshare, studies show that eventually 60 to 75 percent of them will, at least some of the time.”

Don’t feel guilty about doing what you feel is best for your family! 

So many cultures bedshare as the norm. Just make sure you do your due diligence and research the heck out of the topic so you will bedshare safely.

16. Install the car seat

This is also a very important task that many parents have no idea they’re doing wrong. 

Having your child in a rear-facing car seat is crucial. In one of my Facebook groups for new moms, a harmless car selfie was posted and the mom had her small baby’s car seat forward-facing and buckled in with the seatbelt. 

She had no idea how dangerous this was! As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know. 

Luckily, a few moms nicely explained to her the safety risks and pointed her in the right direction to learn more about car seat safety. 

This short, but very informative video explains how to properly get your child in the car seat.

17. Do a practice run

The worst time to get lost on your way to the hospital is when you’re in labor. To avoid this, do a practice run with whoever will be driving you to the hospital when it’s time.

Quick tip: Make sure you know which entrance to use both during the day and after hours because they may be different.

18. Get your finances in order

Once you have your baby, you’ll be surprised by how forgetful you may become. 

Paying your mortgage or rent on the first of the month may completely slip your mind even though the money is sitting in your bank account.

Automate as much of your life as possible

Set your bills to autopay so you won’t have to worry about getting a final notice before your water is turned off and now you’re paying extra in late fees.

19. Stock up on non-baby items

In your haste to get everything prepared for baby, you may be forgetting a few commonly overlooked household necessities. 

Stock up on items like:

It’s easy to overlook these items so buy them in bulk so you won’t have to worry about buying more anytime soon.

20. Stock the medicine cabinet 

If your baby needs any medication it’ll probably happen around 2am. 

A few medications to keep on hand are:

Make sure you also have these items on hand:

I’m really into essential oils right now (I know I’m late to the party), so I use this guide to help me make soothing concoctions.

21. Last minute cleaning

You may want to consider having your house deep cleaned before your baby arrives because it may be a while before it gets a good deep clean again. 

During the fourth trimester (birth – 12 weeks postpartum), your baby will want to be held A LOT. This doesn’t leave much time for anything else. 

Make sure you do cleaning tasks like:

If you get this done before your baby comes the mess won’t be as bad after 12 weeks of speed cleaning.

22. Wash baby items

I’m not sure what goes on in the factories that make baby clothing so I feel more comfortable washing all clothing and bedding before my baby uses it. 

The best way to do this is by washing things as you get them and not waiting until the end of your pregnancy to wash everything.

basket of baby clothes
this is what it looks like when you wait until the end of your pregnancy

There’s no need to wash everything in hot water, just follow the instructions on the clothing tag and use a baby safe detergent.

23. Create convenience stations 

So, what the heck are convenience stations? These are designated places that are fully stocked for you to do something like change a diaper or nurse your baby.  

They’re convenient areas because they have everything you need for that particular task. 

I have our nursing station set up in my daughter’s nursery and we have the diaper changing station set up in our bedroom. 

You could also use a diaper caddy instead of having one designated diaper changing area.

24. Maternity photos

Taking maternity photos is a great way to cherish this precious memory of pregnancy. 

But when is the best time to take them?

“By aiming for that window between weeks 32 and 37, we celebrate the contours of your body - during a time period when you’re still feeling really great and not worried about going into labor and you can move comfortably and safely around the photography location.”

Preferably, you’ve scheduled your appointment during your second trimester. These photographers slots fill up quickly so you want to secure your slot as soon as possible.

25. Prepare meals

Once your life is consumed by all things baby, something as simple as eating becomes a hassle. And don’t even bother trying to cook! 

Around 35 weeks, start preparing some of your family’s favorite meals and freeze them for later. Even 2 meals will help, but the more you make the better. 

Pinterest is a gold mine for easy freezer meals. I would start there if you’re not sure what to make.

26. Enlist some help 

Have you ever heard the saying, “it takes a village”? 

During your first few weeks home, having help around the house will be a Godsend. 

A few things to consider are:

It would even be nice if someone could watch the baby while you take a shower and feel slightly human again. 

Any help you can scrounge up will be greatly appreciated.

27. Prepare for postpartum

A lot happens to your body after you have your baby. Start preparing yourself for the postpartum period and knowing what to expect. 

A few things to learn more about are:

Have these postpartum recovery essentials on hand to cut back on frequent store runs with a newborn.

28. Set rules for after delivery 

Before you have your baby you’ll want to make sure people know your ground rules for your delivery and shortly after. 

Some of these rules may include:

These rules can be whatever you want them to be. Don’t worry about being an overprotective mom. 

This is your child and you make whatever decisions you feel are best.

29. Narrow down your baby name list

If you still haven’t decided on a name you might wanna start figuring that out. 

Try to narrow it down to your top 3 and decide from there. 

You may even wait until after your baby is born to decide which name looks more fitting. That’s fine as well.

Famous last words…

After being pregnant for 28 weeks and you still have 10+ weeks left, you may be so over this whole pregnancy thing. 

Take this time to relax and do the final touches to prepare for your baby. 

Learn as much as you can so you’ll be prepared for whatever situations that may come your way.

Grab your free cheat sheet to find out 5 easy ways to overcome your labor fears even if you’re terrified of contractions and the thought of an epidural makes you want to cry.

the best third trimester checklist for the super prepared mom
the third trimester checklist that made me a prepared mom

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