The final countdown! The third trimester of pregnancy can feel like the longest, but you are getting so close to meeting that sweet babe that you have been growing for the last few months. At most you have 13-14 weeks to go, and for some mamas you could have far less! This third trimester survival guide contains everything you want and need to survive, and hopefully enjoy the final part of your pregnancy. Now that I am officially in the third trimester, I plan to tackle all the things.
While third trimester survival is important, I believe you can do more than just survive. The major goals of this time for me include:
- Soak in all the family time I can with my current children and husband. Our family will only be this small for a few weeks longer! I want to shower my existing family unit with magic as much as possible!
- Soak in all the baby kicks and wiggles while trying to appreciate the not so fun parts of the third trimester. I am beyond excited to meet this little one, but I am trying to slow down and appreciate all the beauty of this time.
- Be as prepared and in the zone as possible. This involves preparing things like my house and my baby stuff, and it also involves preparing my whole self. I want my mind and
- body to be ready for the next steps and embrace the journey as it unfolds.
- Listen to my body. I am having a high risk pregnancy (again) with some new challenges this go around. I also tend to deliver early and have contractions continuously for the entire third trimester. So, listening to my body and what is needs during this time will be super important.
Part of taking care of my body during this final stretch involves continuing to nourish it the way I have up to this point. It also means finding some additional things to ease some of the third trimester ailments that pop up! My body is very reactive to hormones in general, and especially during pregnancy. Everyday, I continue with my favorite skin care products to keep my skin hydrated which has always been key for preventing/easing stretch marks and itchy skin. I absolutely love the Baby Bar from Primally Pure and this stretch mark oil from Babo Botanicals. I have not had any stretch marks in three pregnancies, and I swear this oil makes all the difference.
In terms of third trimester aches and pains, I am one of the lucky women that sees a resurgence of the nausea I had early in pregnancy. I am constantly reaching for antacids and I drink tons of Pink Stork ginger peach tea. I drank it during the first 16 weeks, and bring it back out for the finish line because it is great for hydration and nausea. Pink Stork also has a labor prep red raspberry leaf tea which tastes amazing. I have to be very mindful of what I eat later in the day with terrible nighttime nausea and heartburn.
I did not use a pregnancy pillow for sleep although many nights I wished I had one! For me, it was helpful to do some mindfulness exercises before bed to try to stall the pregnancy insomnia. Some nights it was helpful and others it was not. But I still recommend implementing a simple mindfulness routine to help with overall mental health during this time of constant change! There are a few helpful apps if you are new to mindfulness and meditation like Expectful Meditation and Happify, which is great for after pregnancy as well. You can even start with just 5 minutes of quiet meditation and work up from there.
All About Comfort
That would be a hard no on anything that resembles pants in the third trimester! As a working mom, I typically invest mostly in maternity clothing that is workplace appropriate. I did not have as many comfy pieces work from home life, especially towards the end when I am the biggest! This time around, I ordered tons of super comfortable maternity wear from Kindred Bravely and it is literally all I wear. Between their maternity/nursing bras, lounge shorts and pants, and pajamas, I am always comfortable and have not been struggling to find things to wear as in past pregnancies. I snagged a 20% discount code for your first order! Get 20% off your first Kindred Bravely purchase when you order through my link: kindredbravely.com/KatelynS. Their activewear line and nursing clothes are incredibly made and I wear them everyday. My husband’s boxers are nice to mix into the routine, but I love having maternity wear that feels amazing and gets me through the end feeling confident.
I literally start nesting at week 7, and I would consider myself a permanent nester. However the nesting is REAL throughout the third trimester since baby could arrive anytime! During normal times, i usually have a daily/weekly/monthly cleaning calendar for the house and yard. During the third trimester, I clean on a schedule to align with my expectations for how I want my house to be in the event I go into labor. This allows me to feel as prepared as I can, along with getting any help I might need with certain tasks as my belly grows! Coming home with baby to a house that is only in a semi-state of chaos instead of a full blown hurricane makes the first few weeks easier for me, stress-wise.
Nesting for me also means getting baby’s nursery ready! Our second babe is still in the room we plan to use for baby, so we spruced the room up with some fresh paint and a few new items to make the room special. I ended up deciding on a new nursery glider as well as new sets of crib sheets for the newest babe. I am loving the incredible designs and softness of the Rookie Humans sheets I am trying this time around! This amateur photog mama cannot wait for the endless photo opportunities and comfort for baby!
Pack, Pack, Pack
In case it isn’t obvious, I like to be as prepared as possible. First things first, make sure your hospital bag is packed if you are planning to deliver in a hospital setting. With the current pandemic situation, you or your partner may not be able to leave during your birth. Hospital policies change constantly, but having everything you might want for the duration is a good idea. In any hospital delivery setting, I am a firm believer that you should still personalize the experience as much as you want.
As a first time mom, I definitely under packed! I depended heavily on my labor and delivery team for guidance throughout the process. As a third time mom, I know the things I want to advocate for during delivery/postpartum, and the things that will make me the most comfortable. Being relaxed and having things that way you want makes for a more enjoyable birthing experience. With little ones at home, I also make sure to “pack” their essentials for when we are in the hospital so that their time with a caregiver is as smooth as possible. Leaving a few small pieces of your heart behind at home while you wait to meet your newest love can be difficult (it was for me!). Knowing they have everything they need and want to feel comfortable while we are away eases my mind.
I also like to have my diaper bag packed so that it is one less thing I need to worry about upon arriving home. I keep my diaper bag stocked with diapers of each size, a change of clothes for each kid, extra sippy cups/bottles, wipes, a few “out of the house” toys, a ring sling for baby, our Suds2go bottle for handwashing, and non-perishable snacks if needed.
Postpartum At Home Kit
The hospital should provide you with everything you need for your body after delivery, but it is helpful to have some things on hand just in case! Essential items for a smooth (er) postpartum recovery include: Peri bottle, large pads, pain/itch spray, and underwear/comfy clothes for postpartum specifically.
I also plan this time to make my own padsicles this time around. I have heard these are wonderful and super easy to prepare with witch hazel, pads, and aloe vera. After this go around, I will share how they come out and whether they are worth the effort!
If you plan on nursing, I highly recommend setting up your ideal breastfeeding station. I was totally unprepared for the amount of time I would spend nursing as a first time mom. It can be all consuming, and takes some time to get in a groove. Now that I am chasing around toddlers on top of preparing to nurse full time, I plan to create a few breastfeeding stations where I need them most!
My breastfeeding station consists of these essentials:
- Comfy chair/couch. For me this meant investing in a new couch for our playroom so that I could nurse while supervising two toddlers! I also snagged a new nursery gliderfor any late night feedings once the babe is sleeping there. Think of a few comfy places that might work for you so that you have some flexibility!
- A nursing pillow. I could not live without my Boppy pillow for nursing! I take this thing everywhere and use it constantly. I know several friends that also love the My Breast Friend version for additional back support, but I have not personally owned one. This is one newborn essential that got the most use for me from my registry. It was also perfect for supporting all the post nursing snoozing!
- Haakkaa breast pump. I did not discover this until baby number two and it was amazing! All you do is suction this little guy to your non-nursing side during breastfeeding and catch any excess milk. I ended up freezing tons of bag of milk in the early days just from using my Haakkaa without having to pump. As a working mom, having an initial freezer stash without much effort was so relieving.
- Feeding tracker. Whether you are feeding on demand or following a schedule, it can be helpful (and sometimes neccessary) to track how much or how often your babe is eating. There are a few helpful apps that do this like Breastfeeding Baby Tracker or Baby Connect. Some prefer a journal for their own log. Whichever you prefer, have something handy before you sit down.
- Water and snacks. Water, water, and more water! I never realized how thirsty and hungry I would be from nursing. Far worse than in pregnancy for this mama! I always keep a water bottle handy along with some easy munchies in case a nursing session goes long.
- Phone charger and remote. Both my first kiddos started out with their nights and days mixed up which meant tons of night feedings. I always kept a charger handy and the remote for the TV to keep myself awake and engaged as possible while nursing.
- Burp cloth.
- Nipple cream. I SWEAR by the Bamboobies Organic Nursing Balm. I received it as a shower gift with my first and it was so helpful in those early days of nursing. You may not need it after you get into a groove, but the relief is very needed in the early days!
Grocery and Meal Prep
With toddlers at home, I am preparing approximately 7 meals a day and more than 25 snacks. Healthy-ish family meals with picky toddlers means grocery shopping and meal prep can be ESSENTIAL. My husband and I take a weekly inventory of our household staples and plan out our grocery list together for all our meals. While this is super helpful, it is time consuming and involves a lot of teamwork. Since I know my teamwork generally goes out the window for the first few weeks because (newborn life), I want to be prepared ahead of time with healthy meals and bulk groceries where possible.
We are planning to use each Sunday afternoon of the third trimester to cook big batches of some of our favorite crowd-pleasing meals to stock in our freezer. We will also be planning out all grocery related items we might need to make a bulk grocery plan. Things like wipes, paper towels, and toddler snacks can really come in handy! Not to mention my dishwasher goes into overdrive, so I like to have soap for that stocked too.
Also, this is a judgement free time of life and I am a craft beer drinking mama. Which means I plan ahead and stock up on some of my seasonal favs from local breweries for all the new baby cheers ahead!
OH THE BUDGET. We all know that a baby costs money. A lot of it. Since this is our third babe, we have learned a few things along the way in terms of what we need and what we don’t. We also have spent time learning how to budget well to accommodate a new little human in the house. Plan to sit down and have at least one financial meeting with your partner or support system so that everyone is on the same page. As you prepare you want to know where your money is going so that you can effectively prioritize. I have been sucked down into new baby swaddle land before, but it is truly helpful to have an honest look into your financial situation to be as prepared as possible for baby.
Regardless of your financial situation, I highly recommend building a habit of regularly level-setting with your partner when it comes to money. Financial stressors can be a massive strain on relationships and it has been one of our biggest challenges. Having agreed upon goals and regular check-ins can alleviate some of the tension! While we regularly discuss our financial goals and spending, the budget when adding a new family member is always tough no matter how you do it!
First things first, you should spend time making sure you are informed of all applicable laws and benefits regarding childbirth. Ensuring you are aware of what you are entitled to when it comes to maternity leave, benefits, and any other applicable human resources related items helps to maximize on the options you have. Have a conversation with your supervisor, or your HR partner with any questions you have so that you know how things will look and you can decide how you want to handle your job situation. Think about whether you will be adding your baby to benefits, how long you plan to stay out, and if you need to make any changes to your elections or savings during your leave.
For any working moms, going on maternity leave and returning from it can be STRESSFUL. Regardless of your specific job, taking a large chunk of time away can add a lot to your plate. Getting back into a work routine with a new tiny human can also seem impossible at times! Without knowing when I will be out from work (I always work up until labor) I work to establish a firm plan with my boss and colleagues for when I am out.
Ensure that your day to day tasks are covered, and provide any necessary training or documentation anyone might need. Ensure you communicate with all necessary parties what needs to happen in your absence or where they can go for support. Look ahead for the next few months at long term projects or anything that will need additional hands. The last thing you want is to be thinking about missing a deadline at work during labor. As moms know, maternity leave involves a whole new kind of work! Your focus and priorities will shift to the work going on at home, so take the time to ease any stresses from your job while you can!
Get In The Mindset
In the second trimester, I start thinking about my birth plan. As your due date approaches, it is important to establish a positive mindset to feel your best going into the next phase of your journey. Stress, worry, and past birth trauma can affect your labor experience as well as how you begin the postpartum time. Letting go of some emotional baggage or fears, and visualizing a successful birthing experience can go a long way.
I am an avid reader, and I like to read some of my favorite motherhood books during those last few weeks when I can steal a few moments away! Recently, I reread Molly Millwood’s book To Have And To Hold: Motherhood, Marriage, And The Modern Dilemma. SERIOUSLY, with this book moms! I am in love with this book and all the insights into how women are navigating motherhood in today world. There are a TON of actionable takeaways for mothers and fathers. I wish I had read this when I was about to be a first time mom. Highly recommended, and something I will be giving as baby shower gifts to other mamas in the future!
The third trimester can feel long and bring with it some extra stressors, but you are so close to meeting the newest member of this world! Soak up every minute, find the joy whenever you can, and get excited for all the wonderful things to come. I hope your third trimester makes you feel on top of the world mama. You got this!
All the best,