The third trimester is the final one of the pregnancy. During this trimester, you will feel the most uncomfortable and you will have a lot to do to prepare for the upcoming labor and delivery of your baby.
Tour the hospital or birthing facility.
Unless you have a home birth, you will want to familiarize yourself with where you plan to give birth. Doing this will help you to feel at ease when the time comes. Some hospitals require an appointment for touring the maternity wing. If you are taking a childbirth class through the hospital, you will probably have a tour during one of the classes.
If you haven’t already, you need to take a childbirth class, especially if this is your first baby. A good childbirth class will help to prepare you for what you will be going through in a few months or weeks. Even if you are planning a cesarean section, you can still benefit from taking a childbirth class.
Infant car seat.
It’s the law just about everywhere that you must have a certified infant car seat to carry your baby home. Most hospitals won’t even release your child unless you have one. Many will want proof by having you place the baby in the seat before leaving your room or they will walk you to your vehicle. Make sure to acquire one that is certified as safe. Now is the time to make this purchase because you never know when your baby will come and you don’t want to be caught off-guard.
Get plenty of rest.
The third trimester brings with it the added weight gain and getting a full night’s sleep without tossing and turning and running to the bathroom is impossible. You need to take it easy and relax as much as you can. Watch your feet and if your ankles swell, put your feet up. Lie on your left side to ensure the blood flow is good. Place a pillow between your knees to help relieve pressure and keep your hips in line. Avoid sleeping on your back.
You must drink as much water as possible even though you may not want to due to the constant bathroom runs. If you don’t drink enough water, you will become dehydrated and this causes preterm labor. You don’t want to go into labor until you are at least 37 weeks and considered full-term. The baby needs the water as well as you and you are drinking for two at this point.
Braxton Hicks contractions.
Braxton Hicks are practice contractions that may have begun during the second trimester. These contractions pick up the pace in the third trimester and it helps to know them from real contractions. Generally, a Braxton Hicks contraction will go away if you change positions whereas an actual contraction will just intensify. The closer to your due date you are, the more frequent these contractions hit.
Frequent office visits.
During the third trimester, you will start to see your OB at least once a week. They may check your cervix to see if you have effaced (thinned) or dilated. Try not to miss these important check-ups. Your urine will be tested for sugar and protein. Your health care provider will check the swelling you have and determine if you need extra rest or if it is a serious condition.
Now is the time to prepare for baby’s arrival. You will want to have a couple of newborn outfits, newborn diapers, wipes, and a place for baby to sleep. If you are breastfeeding, have nursing pads and bras on hand. If you plan to bottle feed, have bottles and formula.
This is a basic hospital or birthing center checklist for when you give birth. You will need to check with your hospital and health care provider to find out if they require other items for your stay.
– Going home outfit for you and baby.
– Change for vending machines.
– Infant car seat.
– Newborn diapers and wipes.
– Burp cloth.
– Baby blanket.
– Sanitary pads.
– Toiletries. (For you)
– Snacks. (For you and your visitors)
– Pillow. (Hospital pillows may not be enough)
– Camera or cell phone. (You will want photos)