Pregnancy can be such an overwhelming process. Simply growing a baby for nine months is exhausting in itself, not to mention all the tasks and to-do lists that accompany a pregnancy. As exciting as the first trimester is, it also brings with it an onslaught of pregnancy hormones. This can make a newly pregnant mom experience many side effects including morning sickness and mood swings. The first sign that I was pregnant was my increased sensitivity to smells. I was in the office with a coworker when a visitor came in smelling like fast food. When the visitor left, I asked my coworker if he smelled that and he said he didn’t smell anything and joked with me that I was probably just pregnant. Well surprise, I was pregnant!
By the second trimester, moms have done a lot of research and probably have their to-do lists ready to tackle. However, the second trimester also brings with it extreme fatigue, so it might be hard to accomplish everything on the list. Alas, there is no need to worry as the fatigue will eventually subside and moms will feel like they are able to do anything. This is a great time to start tackling the to-do list. Although even when this energy kicks in, I still suggest getting help with many of the tasks. But what part of the list should moms tackle first? What things need to be done before the third trimester hits? Here is a list of 15 things that need to be done before hitting the third trimester.
15 Pick A Pediatrician
Picking a pediatrician is often times one of the tasks that are overlooked or downplayed. On the contrary, picking a pediatrician is one of the most important decisions you can make. You want to make sure you pick a doctor that you can see yourself at long term. That last thing you want is to need to switch pediatricians when your child is already comfortable with their office and doctors. My son knows exactly where everything is at when we go to the doctor. He has a favorite book and a favorite chair. And he knows the nurses and the doctors. If we had to change because of an issue, that would definitely be difficult on him. The most important part is to make sure their views line up with yours. How quick are they to write prescriptions? Do their views of vaccinations line up with your views? Or perhaps you want a doctor with a specific specialty if your child has different needs.
14 Wash Clothing And Bedding
Depending on what baby showers you have had and what items you have bought, you probably have quite a few clothes and bedding items. Now some people say to keep tags on clothes until your baby wears them for a couple of reasons. First, they say that if you get some newborn items, your baby might not be able to wear them if they are too big. It’s also likely that you will receive a ton of clothes in one particular size. I also had people tell me not to take the tags off so I could return them if my baby didn’t wear all their clothes. Babies pee, poop, and spit up on everything — they need all the clothes they can get. You’re going to have enough to do once the baby gets here and you don’t want to worry about taking tags off and washing clothes if your baby needs more.
13 Photo Sessions
This is a fun time in your life, and you should take the time to document it with pictures. Pick a great photographer, get all dressed up, and go take some maternity pictures. It will be a fun outlet from all the difficult tasks that lay in front of you. Plus, it will be fun to look at the pictures years from now and remember this time. Even if you were really sick or sore during your pregnancy, you will forget all about that when you look back at these pictures and just think about bringing your little one into this life. A lot of photographers do a maternity session and newborn session package, so you should book your newborn photos now before the photographer fills up. Baby pictures are something you are going to cherish forever. You will bring them back out at birthdays and graduation, so don’t be afraid to splurge on these photos.
12 Stock Your Shelves And Freezer
As if I haven’t said it enough times already, you will be very tired after giving birth. Babies are a lot of work. The last think you want is to be worrying about getting dinner on the table. One of the things you can do is meal prep and stock your freezer. Make a list of all the meals you would like to prep, and go buy all the ingredients. Spend one day prepping and making all your meals, and put them in the freezer for after you bring the baby home. You will spend one day getting meals ready, and you won’t have to deal with making dinner for weeks after. There might be people that will stop by and bring you dinner after you have the baby so you could save your meals for later. Another great thing to prep is toilet paper, paper towels, etc. Stock pile now and then you don’t have to run out and get any for long after the baby is born.
11 Tour Your Hospital
Touring the hospital that you will be delivering your baby at is a great idea. This will allow you to be familiar with the layout so you know exactly where you will be going. At the hospital I was delivering at, you went to one place when it was during the day but had to go to the emergency room if you arrived at night. Rules vary from hospital to hospital so it’s helpful to know what your hospital rules are. During the tour is a great time to ask about whether your room will have a tub to labor in and what items they will provide for you and the baby. Some hospitals keep mom and baby in one room for birth and recovery while others will have you give birth in one room and then move you to a different section for recovery. You should also ask if they have a nursery for your baby or if baby will be in the room with you.
10 Install Baby’s Carseat
If you are a first time parent, it’s especially important to learn how to install the carseat properly in you vehicle before the baby makes his or her arrival. Infant car seats are installed wrong all the time. It might not seem like a big deal but if you get into a car accident, it will make all the difference. There are many different places that offer free car seat installation including certain fire stations or health departments. It’s best to call around in your town and see where the closest one is for you. They can also show you how to properly put your baby in the carseat. There are certain ways to install the straps, a specific place to have the harness clip and a proper way to tighten your baby. These are all very important for a first time parent to learn. If you are a second time parent, it might be good to get a refresher for you as well.
9 End Of Maternity Leave Plan
You don’t want to wait too much longer before you decide what your plan will be after maternity leave. The length of maternity leave can vary, and it depends on a variety of reasons such as country laws, workplace rules, etc. It’s also possible that some women can’t afford to even take a maternity leave. Whatever the decision, now is a good time to get those details narrowed down. With my first baby, I took 12 weeks of maternity leave and then went back to work. I was able to adjust my schedule to be home with my baby but I did have to work some. I thought I would do the same after I gave birth to my second baby, but that didn’t happen. Before the third trimester hit, we decided that I would stay home with my kids. You never know if things are going to change, so it’s important to decide on the details so you can be prepared and so you can let your workplace know.
8 Big Decisions
A lot of the decisions you make are going to be big but there are certain questions you need to decide on before you give birth. If you are having a boy you will need to figure out whether or not he will be receiving a circumcision. Another decision is cord blood banking. This is when the doctors collect blood left in your newborn's umbilical cord and placenta to bank it for future medical use. Vaccinations are another issue you will need to discuss with your spouse and with your pediatrician. Even if just to get educated on the process. These are all important questions the doctor will ask you right after you deliver your baby. You will be exhausted and emotional and will not be in the right place to make big decisions now. It’s best to have discussed all these before hand and already know what you want to do.
7 Pack Your Bag
With my first baby, I packed my bags a month before and slowly added in other things as I remembered them. I didn’t forget anything and I wasn’t stressed about packing the bag which was nice. With my second baby, my husband packed my bag when I was having contractions, throwing up, and telling him we needed to go to the hospital. In my defense, all my babies came early. We forgot things, and it was stressful, so I definitely recommend giving yourself ample time. Don’t forget that you are packing a bag for you and a bag for you baby. If you are a first time mom, you don’t know what the hospital stay will be like. You don’t know what items the hospital will be providing or what items you will need to bring. You are also packing for a baby who you have no idea what size they will be. Do yourself a favor and pack your bags early to save a little stress.
6 Take Education Classes
Education classes are so important while you’re pregnant. You can take classes on a number of different subjects and you should definitely pick at least one class to attend. A lamaze class is where you learn different breathing strategies and coping techniques as well as birthing positions. If you plan on having an unmedicated birth, there are classes you can take that will be very helpful. They teach you pain coping strategies and can even teach your partner the best way to be helpful and how they can be an active participant in the labor process. There are even hypno-birthing classes. You can also take classes to help you prepare for breastfeeding and to teach you how to be successful. Basically, there are classes for every person regardless of their birthing preferences. Whether it’s the first time or the third time you’re doing this, every birthing experience will be different and it can be helpful to educate yourself.
5 Finish The Nursery
While this one can be stressful, it’s also an exciting task. It’s easy to get caught up with accomplishing everything on your to do list, but finishing the nursery can be a relaxing time if you allow it to be. This is a time to be creative and to put your personal touch on the room that will be for your baby. Your baby will be spending a lot of time in the nursery, and it’s okay to want it to be perfect. What color do you envision in your baby’s room? You need to get a crib, dresser, and other nursery furniture. Most of that stuff will need to be assembled, so make sure you leave yourself enough time to get all the furniture assembled and put where it goes. If you will be painting, make sure you get a paint with low chemicals, or even leave the painting to someone else.
4 Get Entertainment Ready
Sorry to break it to you, but you will be spending a lot of time holding your baby or feeding your baby or rocking your baby. That time will be a lot more fun if you get entertainment ready now. If you have a favorite show, start recording it on DVR so they will be ready for you to watch when you bring the baby home. You could also get a membership with Netflix or Hulu. My daughter hated being put down and she loved to nurse, so she spend the majority of the day in my arms. I was able to wear her in a wrap to get a couple chores done here and there, but a lot of my day was spent sitting on the couch holding her. Don’t feel bad if you don’t get anything done. Your only job is to love your baby. Chores can always be done later.
3 Create A Birth Plan
Whether your labor is short or long, it will definitely be exhausting. You don’t want to be stuck making important decisions while you’re in labor, so it’s important to think about what you want your birth plan to be. Before you decide on where you will be delivering, you need to decide if you want to be at a hospital, birthing center, or do a home birth. Are you going to try for a medicated birth or would you like pain medication? There are also certain types of pain management. Some hospitals have a tub in your room in case you want to labor in the tub, so make sure you research your hospitals. Do you want your partner to cut the umbilical cord? It’s very important to have a birth plan, but you must remember that it might not go as planned. The best thing is to pick a doctor you trust so that you can relax and know you are in the best hands.
2 Go On A Babymoon
It’s not necessary to go on a babymoon before your baby arrives, but it will be a nice break from all the planning and preparing. Trust me, you want to try to do your babymoon as soon as you can. Once you are into your third trimester, you will be very uncomfortable and won’t really be able to relax anywhere you go. Plus, depending on where you go, it’s not safe to travel when you’re in your third trimester. Plan your babymoon soon. Go somewhere close so you don’t have a ton of exhausting travel ahead of you. And relax. The whole point of a babymoon is to take a break from everything you’ve been doing to just relax. But another good reason for having a babymoon is to spend time alone. After your baby arrives, you will rarely find yourself alone, so don’t underestimate the importance of a babymoon.
1 Pick A Baby Name
Somewhere on your to-do list needs to be to finally decide on a name for your little one. If you haven’t even thought about names yet, you need to get started. If you aren’t finding out the gender of your baby, make sure to be prepared with one girl and one boy name. If you know what gender your baby is, get started on picking the perfect name. If you’re like my husband and I, we both had names that we liked, and we didn’t really like the other person’s name choices. We eventually had to scratch all those names and come up with names together, that we both liked. Picking a name is a very important decision. This will be the name your child will have for the rest of their life. Think of nicknames that will be associated with that name and decide whether you like those nicknames, too.