Okay, so now you’ve memorized the route to your OBGYN and could drive there in your sleep.
You’ve gone through all the first trimester and second trimester “week by week” checklist things…blah, blah, blah. And there have been SO MANY things to do before baby arrives! To top it off…you have to wear these terrible stretchy maternity jeans and you DREAM of a day when you can fit into those old pre-pregnancy jeans while laughing with immeasurable bliss like a stock photo, your favorite bottle of rosè in hand (yes, I said bottle).
You may have to bear the stretch jeans for now (..and the rosè will be just as good in a few weeks – I promise!) but you CAN rid yourself of some important to-dos NOW. Hopefully, you have most things done, and you’re in that ultimate waiting phase. Even though it feels TWICE as long as the first and second trimester combined!
The most important thing, during this time, is just NOT to stress out. Delegate what you can and make sure to pay attention to the “pampering” section below!
Here’s The ULTIMATE Pregnancy Bucket List Of Things To Do In Your Third Trimester Before Labor And Delivery!
Be Prepared To Go Into labor
1. Jump on the phone and schedule a tour at the hospital where you plan on delivering. This helped me feel SO much better about my fear of labor and delivery.
2. Take a prenatal course. One of the best things to do before baby arrives is to take a prenatal course. Know how to care for your newborn baby when you bring him or her home as well as your options during labor and delivery. I HIGHLY recommend Hilary Erickson’s online course. She’s a labor and delivery nurse of over 16 years, has delivered hundreds if not thousands of babies and has taught this prenatal class for that long too. Check out her AMAZING prenatal class here. This is the #1 thing that calmed my fear of childbirth and put me at ease.
3. Have everything purchased and ready for your baby at least 5 weeks before your due date. That means the nursery set up!
Here is a COMPLETE room-by-room nursery and home checklist guide that will help with all those things to do before baby arrives:
4. Have things cleaned and laundry done before going to the hospital, so you come home to a clean home with everything put away (this is SO HELPFUL because life with a newborn is CRAZY). How do you do this? Start an EASY cleaning routine daily now and get into a groove. For us, that meant doing dishes once in the morning and once at night, doing a load of laundry at least every other day and checking off daily cleaning to-dos off of this list.
5. Meal prep SMART – this may be different than all the other advice you hear out there but 8 weeks before your due date, start DOUBLING your dinners. That means when you cook dinner (if what you are making can be frozen and then reheated in the oven or crockpot), simply double the recipe and freeze it. Do this INSTEAD of spending an entire day cooking meals for baby prep in your 4th trimester. It’s a LIFE SAVOR!
6. Have a snack bag prepped with your hospital bag. You may be in such a hurry (like I was for both kiddos), you forget to grab food or eat food. And let’s be honest, if you go into labor in the middle of the night (like I did for baby number 2), food options are LIMITED and the hospital cafeteria is closed. A snack bag SAVED US! Check out our snack bag here (we used this list for both our babies).
7. Prepare what kind of pictures you’d love at the hospital because those moments will be gone SO fast (and you might barely remember them). Look through must-take newborn and hospital photos on Pinterest and save some to a board, so you know what pictures to take (if you want to do that!) and ASSIGN this task to your spouse or someone else so you can just focus on caring for your baby. I LOVED the pictures right after the nurse placed our new baby on my chest.
8. Book a newborn photographer as soon as possible if you want to get photos professionally done of your new baby. We did this with our babies and it was awesome. Try to book in the first part of your pregnancy (time slots fill up) and know that the best photos of a newborn are around 9 days old or before (at least that’s what our photographer said!)
9. Do an “IN-LABOR-GOING-TO-THE-HOSPITAL-NOW” trail run before the time comes. We did this and it helps SO MUCH! We asked Siri to take us to the hospital (that was saved in our phone with notes on what the best elevator was and what floor), figured out the best place to park (and spoke to the valet about how much that cost just in case), navigated through the lobby to the right elevator, went up to that floor and spoke to the nurse at the front desk. Being ready helped so much!
10. Have your home ready for baby. If you’re in your third trimester, here are some TOP things to do before baby arrives around your home: have the nursery done, a changing area, nursing station and bedside bassinet (you can find a room by room home checklist here to help you get this done fast). I’ve read about women who deeply regret putting it off till last minute and then going into labor early. They never got those special warm fuzzies of putting their nursery together. Less than 5% of women deliver on their due dates and most first babies come early! PLUS, when we had this all done, a HUGE weight was lifted off of my shoulders. It was the last piece of the puzzle that lifted my ‘baby having’ anxiety completely.
11. Pack your hospital bag at least 5 weeks before your due date or if you’re an experienced momma, pack your bag a week or two before you delivered last time. Here’s your go-to (no fluff) guide to packing EXACTLY what you need for the hospital!
12. If you’re an experienced momma, have a babysitter list lined up and a list of up to 3 people you can call in the middle of the night (who have given you permission to do so). We had to do this also and DID end up calling a friend at 1:00 am to babysit our first while we dashed off to the hospital!
Simple Things To Do Before Baby Arrives That You Can Check Off Your List Quickly
13. Schedule a quick appointment to get your car seat checked. I’ve been told some hospitals will not let you drive away (with a newborn) if your car seat is not properly installed. (Ours basically said ‘Okay, take your new human home!’ and sent us wide-eyed and zombie-like out the door.) The bad thing: nurses can’t legally help you with the car seat wither. You can set up an appointment to do so at a local fire station and some mechanic shops. Check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website, enter your zip code and find the nearest location to do a car seat safety check for you.
14. Have your delivery location saved to your phone, your spouse’s phone and anyone else that needs to know it. Know the phone number to the unit you need to call when you begin contractions.
15. Call your insurance about a breast pump as well as estimated labor and delivery costs and how long your hospital stay is covered for (so you know when you need to leave or how long you can stay).
16. Consider making a call (or calls) to get other people to clean things for you: get your car detailed, carpets cleaned and or hiring a professional to deep-clean your home (because you don’t want to do any of that crap in your 4th trimester). Did you know Amazon has some of these services available? I swear they are taking over the world.
17. Get your car ready for the hospital trip! Make sure the car has an oil changed, is maintenance and is gassed up before baby arrives. The last thing you want is to be worrying about the car on the way to the hospital or going home OR after sleepless nights caring for a newborn.
18. Add an AMAZING, super cute (and won’t break your bank) breastfeeding gown to your Amazon cart. They are the BEST for caring for a newborn through all those sleepless nights. I LIVED in these and they made me feel chic and cute – after having a baby, I felt like I needed that feeling more than ever!
19. Fill out a birth plan (your preferences for labor). I should create a birth plan printable for you, but for now – your doctor SHOULD have one of these for you to fill out. If he or she hasn’t given you one yet, make sure to ask at your next appointment. If you don’t know what your preferences should be, or don’t know the pros and cons (say if your doctor suddenly recommends an epidural, pitocin, forceps, vacuum or C-section), be sure to take a prenatal class so you can be properly prepared.
Prepare For Bringing Baby Home From The Hospital & That First Week With Your Newborn
20. Stockpile your home with basic essentials. Does it drive you nuts too when you’re on the last roll of TP and you desperately DO NOT want to go to the store? After you have a baby, let’s just say this is one of the last things you want to happen! I made this awesome Stockpile List after our first and used again for baby number 2.
21. Do a baby budget and be financially 100% ready for your baby. THIS is one of the very BEST things that we did. After we called our insurance and knew estimated delivery costs, we sat down with THIS budget sheet (the free download on this page) and HAD A PLAN. With this plan, I was able to quit my job and stay at home to raise our baby (with only $500 of income after fixed expenses, living in one of the most expensive places in the U.S.). Almost a year later, during naptimes, I started blogging and I ended up making a full-time income blogging while raising our babies.
22. Know what “Second-Night Syndrome” is and how to prepare for it because this is typically the night when you bring your baby home from the hospital. And girl, let me tell you, it can be hard as hell if you and your significant other aren’t prepared. Head here: Preparing For Baby: How To Survive The Infamous First Night Home.
23. Understand basic newborn care tips to survive that first week with your newborn. If you haven’t taken an awesome prenatal class and understand basic newborn care tips, I would HIGHLY recommend one. Of all the things to do before baby arrives, this one is super important! Knowing your newborn’s sleep schedule is also very helpful.
24. Find a mom group. Having a group of moms with babies the same age as yours, all going through the same thing is HELPFUL. New mommyhood can be incredibly lonely and before you know it, you could be crying over the sink because everything is so overwhelming and you haven’t been out of the house in weeks. Having a mom group (for introverts) can be a serious push outside of your comfort zone but I feel like it’s vital to your mental health.
Looking around the room at other mombies, comparing spit stains, swapping sleepless middle-of-the-night stories and hearing out what other brand new mommies are going through (because everybody has their sh*&%) is comforting.
Hell, a walk through Target with another new mommy who gets it, a week after delivery is helpful.
25. Have all the tech set up. Ready the baby monitor, breast pump or whatever else that needs to be ready for your baby to come home.
26. Ready your most COMFY clothes! You’re not walking out of the hospital minus every ounce of baby weight, sister. I stepped on the scale at home right after we got home from the hospital and I hadn’t even lost what the baby weighed (5 pounds 11 ounces)! Going down the elevator (after labor and delivery) to the cafeteria, a polite young new daddy asked me when I was due. You will still have that baby bump. Prepare to wear your maternity clothes for a little while longer. It’s okay!
27. Prepare For Postpartum Recovery And Healing After Birth COMFORTABLY. (Or at least as quick and painless as possible). I can’t tell you ENOUGH how much this kit helped me. One of the TOP things to do before baby arrives is prepping a kit. The first time around (baby number 1), I didn’t do this right but for baby number 2, I MADE SURE to have this kit ready in our bathroom (live and learn!):
RELATED (top postpartum posts to seriously help you prepared for postpartum recovery):
10 Unbelievable Postpartum Recovery Tips For Healing After A Vaginal Birth
5 Shocking Truths: What Postpartum Recovery Is Really Like
Take Time For The Simple Things That May Not Be So Simple After Baby Arrives
28. Get a manicure and pedicure close to your due date. Not only was this SUPER relaxing and great, but it’s also just SO wonderful for hospital photos. The first time around, I was fortunate enough to have timed a manicure just days before I went into labor and actually had decent nails for the newborn photography later that week (which I barely remember because I was in such a sleep-depraved-new-mom haze.)
29. Get the finest mocktail out there with your best friends. *Sigh* Having kids can be rough on your girlfriend relationships, heck…pregnancy can be too. But after kiddos, only the best of them stick around because your priorities and life just change SO much. And sadly, no one can really prepare you or your friends for that. Girl, go out and get that mocktail.
30. Go to the movies. I know this may sound CRAZY right now but once you have kids, the movies seem like a GIANT luxury and even a waste of time. Spare moments without kids to go DO STUFF is just precious and rare. Don’t get me wrong, having kids was the best thing we ever did but it IS a new love and way of life. Enjoy and take part in your moment of life now because there is beauty in it…like the small things.
31. Go on a date with your significant other, better yet go on a baby moon. You have NO IDEA (if you are a new mom) how much life will change. Even if you are exhausted now (of being pregnant) and tired, you will be FIVE TIMES more tired when that baby comes (I know that’s hard to imagine) and never again will there be just two of you. That’s special. Take time to kindle your fire and spend quality one-on-one time with each other.
32. Take a “you” night. Relax in a quiet space and spend time just on you doing exactly what you want to do. You have had SO MANY things to do before baby arrives, so kick your feet up. If you have a lot of interruptions, tell all those interruptions what night you are going to do this (phone off!) and enjoy this time to yourself. Because when baby is here, these moments will be precious and rare.
33. Visit the dentist. Okay, so you’re supposed to go visit the dentist while you are pregnant because it’s super healthy. And getting rid of that plaque is also good for baby. While you may look forward to going to the dentist (there’s a long list of things I’d rather do like: clean the toilet…go to the DMV…) BUT once you have kids, it like…never happens.
34. Get your hair did. YUS. DO IT. I made sure to get an appointment in before baby number one. Looking back at those newborn pics, I’m like DAYYUUMMM GURL.
Treat yo’ self.
Overall, at the end of your third trimester, you’re likely DONE being pregnant so take this time to de-stress. Focus on things that matter and check the final boxes off of your baby to-do lists for peace of mind.
Once you’ve crossed off a huge majority of all those things to do before baby arrives, a HUGE weight will be lifted off of your shoulders. Celebrate with a mani-pedi, go on a movie date with the hubby and grab a mocktail with your girlfriends OR do all three.
You deserve it, momma!