Congratulations for reaching the third trimester. This is the last stretch and this phase generally includes everything from the joy of attending your baby shower and admiring all the super cute tiny clothes, toys, and baby accessories that is going to make your life a lot easier, to experiencing anxiety about the upcoming birth.
There are so many things that one must do before your little one’s arrival, and that is why we want to share this third trimester checklist for pregnancy with you to help you prepare.
Third Trimester Checklist For Pregnancy
Sticking to a healthy lifestyle
Now it is more essential than ever to stick to a healthy eating plan and prenatal exercise regime with a few changes here and there to accommodate your growing belly. If you do not feel up to eating standard-sized meals, try eating healthy snacks and small meals every few hours. Find out more about the healthy superfoods for pregnancy and breastfeeding and try to gain at least one pound per week. This will help your baby to accumulate body weight during these last three months.
With your growing bump and diminishing energy levels, you might find couch time more appealing right now. But light exercising can help with making you feel more energized and assist with maintaining healthy body weight to prevent health issues like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia which can have devastating results. Exercise assists with two primary things that is useful when giving birth – endurance and strength.
Swimming, gentle stretching, and swimming are good examples of safe third trimester workouts. Just remember to liaise with your doctor first to ensure you are following a safe exercise program.
Managing your third trimester symptoms
The second trimester is usually a walk in the park compared to the first and third trimesters. During your third trimester some old symptoms may arise, or you might encounter new ones.
Commonplace symptoms during the third trimester include:
- Sciatica and backache
- Varicose veins
- Decline in energy
- Heart palpitations
Edema of your feet and legs and faintness might be linked to circulation issues. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your physician immediately. To promote better sleep, try lying on your left side with a pillow between your legs. Also, take in more fluids throughout the day, and cut-back on them during night to cut back on bathroom visits during the night.
Avoid skipping on doctor’s visits and start making your birth plan
During the last weeks of pregnancy, you will begin attending weekly doctor’s visits. Your physician will monitor the cervix and keep track of fetal growth to get an idea if you are nearing labor or not. If the doctor prescribes bed rest, make sure you follow his advice and give your body the rest it needs and prevent any complications from arising. Liaise with your gynaecologist or doctor about your birth plan and write it down.
Just bear in mind that things might not go as planned and you will have to be flexible with your options if that is the case. Instead of a vaginal birth, you might end up having an emergency C-section. Or you might have second thoughts about opting for natural pain relief and would rather have an epidural. It is normal to have some anxiety before going into labor and giving birth. Do not be apprehensive to speak to your doctor about any concerns or questions you might have.
Taking prenatal classes and choosing a childbirth partner
It is time to consider who you want by your side in the delivery room. If you are already signed up for prenatal classes you can start attending these but if not, consider signing up for one. These classes are incredibly useful and cover everything from checking-in, to breathing exercises during labor and techniques for relaxation. They even discuss aftercare. It is useful to have the person you chose as your birth partner, attend these classes with you so they will know what to expect.
Start considering nursing versus bottle feeding
This is usually a decision that most moms think about and its usually a much talked-about topic among moms-to-be and healthcare professionals. There are various opinions regarding this. Try to not worry too much about other people’s views and think about what you want and consider to be best for your baby. You can read about both choices and make an informed decision. It might not even pan out as planned. Because in many instances moms who choose to breastfeed might encounter issues along the way and are forced to bottle feed due to medical reasons.
If you plan on formula feeding start researching the different brands and make comparisons of each such as S26 vs Nan South Africa.
However if you are planning on nursing your newborn, its worth signing up for a breastfeeding class and start purchasing nursing-friendly underwear and accessories like breast pads to prevent leaks, and a manual or electric breast pump with storage containers for freezing. But be prepared for the unexpected and buy a few baby bottles in case you need them. Dad can pitch in with feedings so that you can rest or catch up on some sleep. Irrespective of how things turn out, do not lose hope, babies can survive on both breast milk and formula.
Finishing the baby nursery and organizing your baby equipment
Time is running out and if you may have started planning and decorating your baby nursery during the second trimester. Now is the time to finalize it and to start shopping for baby furniture. Many parents think that they must spend a fortune on baby gear, however, keep in mind that newborns only need a few basic items for the nursery: dresser, crib, and changing table.
Once your baby is born, there will not be much extra time for you during nappy changes, feeds, and trying to get enough sleep in between. Its best to get organized as quickly as possible. Set up your crib (no blankets or pillows needed) and start stocking up on diapers, wipes (you are going to be needing a lot of those) and baby toiletries. Wash most of your baby clothing so that they are ready to use.
Remember newborns mainly wear footie pyjamas and bodysuits. It is no use investing in too much baby clothes because they outgrow it pretty quickly. Try to buy clothes for the different ages (for instance: 12-18 months) and organize them according to size. You will thank yourself later.
Installing the car seat
The sooner you install the car seat, the better. When it is time for your little one to make his appearance, you will be ready. Hospitals in general will not allow you to leave without having a car seat installed.
Practicing some self-care
Treat yourself to a prenatal massage at a professional, take a bubble bath (not too hot), get your nails done, and buy some maternity clothes. Once you became a mom, you will notice that time for yourself is limited and most moms would rather spend money on their children than themselves. Use this time to meet friends for lunch, go on dates with hubby, and read a good book, while you still can.
Start finalizing projects at the office
Work alongside your boss and colleagues to finish some last-minute projects. Many moms decide to put off their maternity leave as close as possible to their delivery date so that they have more time with their babies while on maternity leave. It all depends what your doctor advises or how you feel.
Deciding on a name for your baby
After you have narrowed down a list of your favorite baby names, it is time to sit down with your partner and decide on a name. This way you will know what to fill in on the birth certificate and do not have to decide at the last minute.
Start getting your hospital bag packed and work out a game plan for D-day
Make sure your hospital bag is packed and ready to go and the car filled up with gas. When it is time to go to the hospital, everything is ready, and no one have to panic. Decide beforehand who you are going to call once you go into labor since it can happen at every moment.
BONUS: Commonplace symptoms during the third trimester
Losing your appetite
Many women experience a decline in their appetite during the last stretch of pregnancy. This might be the result of your growing fetus putting added pressure on your abdomen. There is not as much room for food as there used to be. The most useful way to conquer this issue is to eat small meals and healthy snacks about every three or four hours. Avoid drinking juice or water with your meal since they tend to fill your belly quickly, with less space for solid foods.
This is a condition that affects many women during the first trimester, however, it can resurface during the last trimester of pregnancy.
Fatigue and shortness of breath
Remember, you are carrying an uncomfortable and heavy load and the pressure of your expanding uterus on the respiratory system can result in mild exertion and shortness of breath. Fatigue can also be a symptom of sleeplessness because you struggle to get comfortable when sleeping.
Edema (slow metabolism) is often a result of eating the wrong foods according to your blood type which result in a build up of extracellular water which then lead to edema. Mild swelling, particularly in the feet and legs, is a normal symptom of pregnancy.
Heartburn and indigestion
The pressure of the growing baby inside of you compresses your digestive tract, compelling stomach contents back through your esophagus. Acid reflux and heartburn symptoms can be avoided by eating smaller and frequent meals and eating slowly, making sure you are chewing your food properly. Avoid lying down for at least an hour after finishing a meal.
You may also want to try baking soda for heartburn if pregnant.
High blood pressure
If your edema is more severe, it might be an indication of preeclampsia which is a serious condition linked to elevated blood pressure during pregnancy. Even those who are not usually at risk of high blood pressure can developed hypertension during pregnancy. This is a dangerous symptom since it can impede blood flow to your placenta and deprive your baby from oxygen and essential nutrients. If you have high blood pressure, you must rest and do not stay on your feet for prolonged periods.
Urinary tract infections
UTIs happen all the time during pregnancy, however it could be dangerous during the third trimester since it could result in kidney infection that lead to pre-term labor.
Things you should not do during your third trimester
Sleeping on your back
Your uterus start moving upwards gradually, preparing for birth, and sleeping on your back could result in discomfort and impede blood flow to your uterus.
Increasing calories, thinking you must eat for two
Eating more could result in gestational diabetes. Instead, follow a healthy eating plan and eat smaller meals and healthy snacks every few hours.
Not eating enough
Many moms are worried about the weight they have gained during pregnancy and lower their calorie intake. This is not advisable because your baby might not get the essential nutrition, he needs which could result in deficiencies.
Not getting enough sleep
Moms often try to get as much done at home and the office in their third trimesters. Getting enough sleep is essential.
Not staying active
Unless your OB/GYN has advised against physical activity, try to stay active and do light exercising like pelvic floor exercises, walking, swimming, etc. to help prepare your body for childbirth.
Researching everything on Google
Avoid using the internet for health-related advice. During the last stretch of your pregnancy always seek assistance and get medical advice from a medical professional.
Not staying safe when driving
Many moms may be apprehensive about wearing their safety belt, but they are safe if worn appropriately.
Traveling during your last trimester can place yourself and your baby at immense unnecessary risk. Only travel when it is necessary.
Not wearing the right shoes
During this trimester, your bump is at its biggest which could result in balance problems. Wearing high heels could result in falls with subsequent injury. This might have serious implications during pregnancy. Choosing the right shoes during pregnancy is very important.
Not listening to doctor’s orders
Not listening to your doctor and following his advice about your diet or exercise may jeopardize the safety of yourself and your unborn baby.
We hope you have enjoyed our article and found our third trimester checklist for pregnancy helpful. Try to stay positive and follow our guidelines to help you through the last three months of your pregnancy. You may feel uncomfortable now, but soon you will be holding your baby in your arms and all will be forgotten.