How to Survive the 3rd Trimester of Pregnancy in 12 Steps

The 3rd trimester, the last 12 weeks of the pregnancy, is important because significant issues can arise during this time.

  1. Keep the obstetrician appointments: The majority of the pregnancy is behind you and these last few weeks will be busier than any other part of the pregnancy. The obstetrician appointments are more important now as the doctor will begin watching for signs of labor and preeclampsia.
  2. Rest whenever possible: The baby is doubling in size every week. Mom needs to rest now as after the baby is born the time for rest will be over. Frequent naps are a great choice if mom has the extra time to catch a few Zzzs.
  3. Report any changes in premature contractions: Mom should have been feeling practice contractions for quite a while now, but premature labor and delivery before 37 weeks can be of major concern. Premature contractions come regularly, usually more than 3-4 per hour. This is not normal and if you experience strong and/or regular contractions before 37 weeks this could be a sign of premature labor and you should contact the doctor or hospital immediately.
  4. Prepare baby's room: By the time the third trimester comes to a close, the baby's room should be ready. A bassinet is often a good choice for a newborn as the baby will be more comfortable in close quarters for a while. If the room needs to be painted, it is important for mom to stay away from the paint fumes for several days following the painting.
  5. Install the car seat: The car seat needs to be installed properly before the baby can be brought home from the hospital. The local fire department will often help with the installation. When hooking the car seat into the car, make sure dad places all his weight in the seat as the straps are tightened.
  6. Establish a birth day plan: The best way to prepare for the baby's arrival is to establish a plan of action for the birth. This plan will include important numbers to call, the number of the baby sitter if there are other children at home, and any contingency plans if dad is at work or away on business.
  7. Pack the hospital bag: The hospital bag will need to be packed well before the due date. This assures mom is ready to go to the hospital anytime from the 37th week on. The due date is simply a guess of when the baby will arrive and is often not exact.
  8. Attend lactation support meetings: If mom wants to breastfeed baby, lactation classes will help her to better understand the trials and tribulations that can arise during breastfeeding in the first few weeks of life. The baby may not be the most active at suckling the breast and mom may need to have more patience than ever before.
  9. Discuss baby with other siblings: As the birth day approaches, mom and dad need to discuss the new baby and the role of the older children after the birth. Often the older children will feel angst about the birth as their place in the family is being "threatened." Reassuring the children there is enough love to go around is important for a smooth transition. It is also important to go over the rules regarding helping out with the baby.
  10. Baby proof the home: Baby proofing the home may seem silly at first, but after the baby has arrived there will be less free time to secure the dangerous items in the home. The stove, refrigerator, and television will need to be strapped to the wall and all electrical plugs protected from the baby's little fingers.
  11. Decide on a baby name: It is often not until the third trimester that mom and dad decide on the baby name. If the sex is unknown, there may be two names on the list. The chosen name will need to be flexible, since seeing the baby may spark an entirely new name choice.
  12. Watch for signs of labor: The pregnancy is nearly the end and the body will soon signal it is time to push the baby out into the world. For most women, this process is natural. For others, labor will need to be induced or a C Section will be planned. No matter the choice, the baby will come into the world right around 40 weeks gestation to meet mom and dad.

Read More:
Third Trimester Checklist
What Happens in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy With My Body
What Happens in the Third Trimester of Pregnancy With My Baby?