Pregnant and trying to figure out what needs to be done in your 3rd trimester? Here is my third trimester checklist (for our 3rd baby!!) full of things I’m actually doing!
The third trimester feels like it stretches on and on, but it’s also gone in a flash. Make sure you have everything you need and prepare as much as you’re hoping to so you aren’t running around trying to get things done while you’re in labor!
I love making lists. Rishi always rolls his eyes when I tell him I have a list of things we need to get done over the weekend or before a trip.
It’s especially helpful to make a third trimester checklist so other people (like your spouse, etc.) are involved and can know what needs to be done so they can help out too!
There’s so much to do before a baby arrives, so I’ve broken it out to things to do for the family, things to do for the mom and things to do for the baby. I hope it helps!
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Third Trimester Checklist For the Family
1. A Plan for Other Kids/Pets When Labor Starts
If you have kids or pets you need to figure out what to do with them while you’re in the hospital! You’ll need your main point of contact who will watch your kid(s)/pet but you’ll also need at least one backup!
Another thing to think about is who you want at the hospital or in the delivery room with you (if anyone).
I always have my mom in the delivery room with me so she’s on call along with my sister who will take our kids and watch them while we’re having the baby.
I also keep my cousin, one of our sitters and a neighbor aware of what’s happening in case I need someone who lives close to drive me to the hospital or watch the kids!
I’m an over-preparer with this one because I’m always nervous I’ll go into labor with just the kids at home and nobody to help!
Make sure you have an extra key available for any back-up babysitters who may not already have one. Prepare instructions for whoever will be watching the kids/pets just so you know that no matter who is taking care of them, they have all the information they need.
2. Prep Food
Prepping food is something that definitely takes planning, but it’s totally worth it. You’ll want to start prepping food a month or two before your due date so it’s not in the freezer too long!
You can check out this post on some freezer meals I’ve made in the past if you need some ideas. I recommend making not just dinner but snacks and breakfast options too.
This time I know for sure that I’m going to prep peanut butter balls, banana spinach pancakes (find links to both of these here) and lots of dinner meals!
*These peanut butter balls from Fit Foodie Finds are not only great for the kids but also great for milk supply!
3. Get School Stuff Ready
If you have other kids in school be sure to be prepared for the first day or stay on top of permission slips, lunch money, etc., so you’re not scrambling while in the hospital.
My son started preschool right around my due date with my 3rd so I want to make sure he had everything he needed for his first day in case I was in labor or in the hospital and his aunt or grandma had to take him!
Third Trimester To-Do List For Mom
4. Pack Your Hospital Bag
This is probably the most important thing for mom on this third trimester to-do list! I start packing at about 37 weeks with things I know I won’t need before we go to the hospital.
I just don’t trust my husband to know exactly what I’ll want especially if my contractions are bad or we have to rush out the door! It also gives me some peace of mind knowing I have some things packed.
You can head to this hospital bag checklist post to see everything I’m packing! Some lists say to pack dad’s as well. I say you have enough on your plate; you don’t need to think about what he needs in his bag! If he forgets his underwear then he can just deal with it. 😉
But you know whether his bag being unpacked will stress you out or not! Do whatever brings you peace of mind.
We live 5 minutes from the hospital so Rishi actually went home the day after both kids were born to shower, bring some stuff home (gifts from friends, etc.) and bring me back anything I was wanting (food, clothes, etc.).
If you live very far from the hospital, you’ll want to be more prepared with the things you really want or need.
5. Pre-Register at the Hospital
Not having to fill out paperwork when you arrive at the hospital will be a huge help for everyone! You can just get into your room and get comfortable (and snap some pics like this one haha!).
This is especially helpful if you have a very fast labor! No time for hospital forms! You can just focus on the very urgent task of delivering your baby.
The third trimester is also a good time to take a hospital tour if you haven’t delivered there before. That way you know exactly where to go and park and can mentally prepare for what delivery and recovery will look like.
Some people like to take courses on infant care, infant CPR, breastfeeding and other topics. So if you think that will make you feel more confident, consider adding some classes to your third-trimester list!
6. Download a Contraction Counter App
I download a contraction counter app to my phone so I’m able to start using it even if my husband’s not there (or still sleeping). Then as things get more intense I pass my phone to him to keep track!
Things definitely start to feel more real once this app is downloaded!
You may also want to do some research and pick an app for tracking feedings and diapers, etc. You probably know whether you’d prefer to track EVERYTHING or just the essentials, and you can pick an app accordingly. At the very least, it’s helpful to keep track of when babies eat when they’re very young and whether they’ve had wet or dirty diapers.
7. Have an Idea of Your “Birth Plan”
I say “birth plan” because I think this is something you need to hold loosely. I’ve known numerous moms who couldn’t enjoy the first few days of their baby’s life because their birth plan didn’t go as expected.
You’ll be asked at the hospital what your plan is (epidural, unmedicated, etc.). I always say my intention, and if it goes that way, great!
With Roy, I had planned on doing a bath followed by laughing gas and, if needed, an epidural. I did about 5 minutes of a bath before I decided, screw it all and give me the epidural!
You just want to have some idea of what your plan is so you’re not trying to figure it out while dealing with contractions.
Talk it over with your partner too so he can help relay it to the doctors and nurses. Just as long as he knows, if you say it’s time for an epidural, you mean it, no matter what you said before!
8. Buy Postpartum Survival Products
I have a whole post here on a new mom’s survival kit but this will get you started!
- Epsom Salt (for sitz baths)
- Lavender Oil (also for sitz baths)
- Gigantic pads or Depends (you’ll get some pads from the hospital but you’ll definitely want a few more as well as different sizes for when you get home)
- Witch hazel pads
- Underwear you don’t mind throwing away (or just get Depends!)
- Peri bottle
- Hemorrhoid Cream
If you’re breastfeeding:
- Washable pads
- Nipple shields for sore nipples (I swear by these)
- This amazing milk saver (especially for those first few weeks while your milk is regulating!)
- Nursing bras and nursing tanks
- Pumping bra
9. Get Your Hair Done
This may not be as important if this isn’t your first baby, but I had a heck of a time finding time to get my hair done after Roy was born! If there’s some kind of appointment that you could fit in now instead of the first 3 months postpartum, it’ll make your life easier.
If nothing else, you should take some time for you! Get your nails done, get a facial or something nice! Pregnancy is no joke and a little pampering is very much deserved.
Third Trimester To-Do List For the Baby:
10. Install the Carseat
If you don’t do anything else on this list, you HAVE to do this one. Literally. You can’t leave the hospital (if you drive home) without one!
Read the instructions, and if you’re feeling unsure about your installation job, have it checked at a fire station or carseat safety event.
11. A Plan for After the Baby Arrives
You’ll want to think through things after the baby arrives.
- If you’re having a boy, will you circumcise him? And if so, will you do it in the hospital or wait a little bit?
- Will you attempt to breastfeed?
- Do you want visitors?
- When (and who) will tell family and friends?
- When will you announce on social media (and if you want to do that)?
- Will you hire a photographer to take photos after the birth?
Make these decisions before the baby arrives so you’re not making them on a whim (and on very little sleep and lots of hormones!).
12. Clean and Put Away Clothes
One thing you’ll want to do is to clean and put away your baby’s clothes. If you or any of your other kids have sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to use baby laundry detergent so you don’t deal with irritated newborn skin!
I was gifted this laundry detergent with Roy, and the smell is so incredible I wanted to use it for everything!
Thankfully we don’t need to buy anything since we have all of Roy’s clothes! I’ve been just going through everything and sorting it out by size and season.
Closer to my due date I’ll wash everything and put it away so it’s all ready for when we come home!
Check out my tips for an organized baby closet post and watch below for my video all about it!
Since you don’t know how small or big your baby will be (those estimates at the doctor can be pretty far off!), wash only a few newborn size clothes. That way you have some ready when you get home, but if they’re too small for your baby, you can return any others you bought or received. Also wash some 0-3 month sizes for the same reason.
I recommend packing both newborn and 0-3 month size clothes in your hospital bag for the baby’s coming-home outfit so you have one that fits best.
13. Wash + Sterilize Bottles + Pump Pieces (if you plan on nursing)
If you plan on breastfeeding it’s a good idea to wash and sterilize your bottles and pump pieces so you have them ready. I always go into each birth planning on breastfeeding so I’ll have my pump and everything ready to go.
We like to do this so my husband can do some of the feedings and bond with the kids in that way. It also helps us prepare for our first date night! Typically our first date night away from our baby doesn’t require a bottle (I try to plan my feedings accordingly) but I like to be prepared!
One thing I always recommend is to do everything possible before your baby arrives. This includes getting the bottles cleaned and organized so you’re not doing that once the baby gets here.
Baby items take up a lot of space, so you may need to rearrange your kitchen a bit to get everything in a cupboard or drawer!
14. Put Together Swing
If you plan on using a swing, get this set up before your baby arrives! You’ll want a safe spot to put your newborn when you get home, especially if you have other kids!
15. Get out DockATot and Rock ‘n’ Play
Like above, we try to have something on each level of our home to use for the baby. I’ll wash the covers and everything before the baby arrives so we’re all ready for him!
Check out my full DockATot review here!
16. Decorate the Nursery!
This is not a necessity, but it’s much easier to decorate the nursery when you don’t have a newborn in tow. Don’t let this stress you out though! Do what you can and let it be fun!
Thankfully we already have the bulk of it — crib, dresser, changing pad, chair — so it’s just a matter of decorating it.
17. Find a Pediatrician
Do your research or get recommendations from friends or neighbors. And just know, the one you go to right after birth isn’t the one you need to stay with!
We found one that we loved but his schedule changed — he was only in our clinic one day a week. Scheduling with him got hard and he was never there when we went in for not-planned visits.
We ended up switching after Penelope was born to a clinic where we loved all the pediatricians. And our doctor was there 4 days a week!
What should you NOT do in the third trimester?
I told you what you need to do, but sometimes it’s more important to know what NOT to do. Obviously some of that varies from person to person and pregnancy to pregnancy, but there are some general rules
Don’t sleep on your back. Now that your uterus is bigger and heavier, it can disrupt blood flow when you lie on your back.
Don’t feel silly calling your doctor with concerns! Being pregnant comes with all kinds of aches and pains and worries. Your doctor would rather tell you that something is no big deal than have you keep a concern to yourself.
Don’t travel late in the third trimester. Talk to your doctor if you need to travel in the last eight weeks or so of pregnancy. If your pregnancy is high risk, you may be advised to stop traveling even earlier.
What are some signs that labor is nearing?
It’s so hard to wait for the big day when you hit the third trimester! Especially because every new pain is confusing and can make you wonder if you’re going to go into labor soon.
Signs of impending labor include pressure low in your pelvis or lower back. This could be a sign that the baby has dropped. You may also get period-like cramps that are the beginning of real contractions.
Any change in discharge could also mean you’ll go into labor soon. Sometimes a very sudden urge to nest, diarrhea or sharp pains in your pelvis can also be a sign that labor is approaching.
I hope this third trimester checklist printable helps take away some of the stress and confusion on what you need to do in these final weeks of your pregnancy. Remember to download your checklist!
And just know, if you don’t get them ALL done (besides the carseat!) before you have the baby, it’s not a big deal! Don’t stress, and enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy.
Next, head over to my favorite post — the new mom survival kit! These are the exact things I’m using to make my first few weeks with a newborn so much easier and enjoyable!
Thanks for reading and sharing!