The third trimester – congratulations, you’ve made it to the end! This can be the best and worst of the trimesters. On the plus side, you get to do a lot of the “big” stuff. You can feel all of the baby movements, and you can start the countdown until you meet your little one. On the downside, you might be getting pretty huge and uncomfortable. Hang in there Mama, it is almost over!
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Here is what you can expect from week 29 until delivery!
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Do another run-through of your baby registry and make sure you have all the items on your list and you have a good price range. It’s good to have items ranging from a few dollars to the big ticket items. Some people like to pool together and purchase expensive items. These are items they know will get a lot of use, like a crib or stroller travel system. Even if nobody purchases those items, you will still be able to use your completion discounts. Your baby this week has finished with all major developments and is now focusing on gaining weight and fine tuning things like their brain, lungs, and bones to prepare for life on the outside.
This week is a very popular time to have a baby shower. Hopefully you are not so pregnant that the thought of entertaining guests repulses you, and the chances of you having your baby before now is very slim.
By week 30, you should be large enough that you will look noticeably pregnant, and probably have a very cute baby bump. It was great having a baby shower early, because it opened up the opportunity to make a list of the rest of the items still needed. I could start looking for sales, second hand items, or keeping an eye out for coupons. In addition, I registered for a lot of nursery items. I was so excited to start decorating with all the fun new gifts.
This week, your baby has started to form red blood cells in his/her bone marrow and should be kicking up a storm. Now is when I purchased a pack of maternity underwear. My bump was getting so big, that all my normal underwear kept rolling down and it was super uncomfortable. I ordered the ones by GIFTPOCKET on Amazon and they are not only super cute, but also extremely comfortable.
After having your shower, go through your list and determine what else is needed before the baby’s arrival. Don’t be afraid to check out your local buy and sell groups, craigslist, yard sales, or even talking to other parents for used baby items! Babies grow out of clothes and toys so quickly, most of them are hardly used. I have a great how-to guide on buying used and tips for staying safe while using craigslist HERE if you want to check it out!
If you are having any issues with swelling, it is totally normal. You body is working hard to pump blood everywhere, and Baby might be pressing on your veins. If you have some cankles going on, try to keep your feet up at heart level, lay on your left side (better circulation), and lay off the salt. You can also try going for walks to get the blood pumping.
This is a great time to start decorating the nursery, if nesting hasn’t already gotten the best of you. Feel free to whip out the paint brush, as the fumes shouldn’t harm you or Baby. Are your boobs leaking? Some women start leaking colostrum (Baby’s first milk) at around 20 weeks, but others don’t start until later in the third trimester. Don’t be alarmed if there are no signs of leaking, just enjoy this time of dryness. This week, that fur-like hair covering their body (lanugo) is starting to disappear as they build up fat to keep them warm.
If you are taking a birthing class, hopefully it has started now. Otherwise, start to research early labor signs and warnings, just in case. It’s good to know what to look out for and what you can chalk up to braxton hicks. If you contractions meet the 4-1-1 rule (4 minutes apart from start to start, lasting at least one minute each, and going on for one hour) you should head to the hospital to get checked out. With braxton hicks, the contractions will be sporadic and should not get stronger and/or closer together. Try drinking a big glass of water, taking a shower, and lying on your left side. Your baby has the ability to detect light and this week, their pupils will change size in response! Even though his/her bones are getting harder, their skull will stay soft to help with delivery.
Tour the hospital! You don’t want to be searching for L&D while you are in labor, and it’s great to see the rooms and get a feel for the process before hand. Our hospital has a labor and delivery room, and then we move floors for postpartum. This was great to know, so we could bring only the items I needed for labor into the first room, without having to bring a suitcase full of clothes until later.
Your doctor or midwife should be able to determine Baby’s position and see if they are head down yet. You can also try Belly Mapping to determine the position on your own, but I never had much luck with it. Check out the tutorial on the Spinning Babies website HERE if you would like to give it a try. If baby isn’t head down yet, don’t worry! He or She has plenty of time to make the move before delivery.
Your baby is developing a sleep pattern, and you should start seeing a difference in when they are more active. My son was always super active in the mornings, and even now he is such a happy, smiley baby in the morning (it may or may not be correlated).
This week is also the perfect time to figure out how to install your car seat. Did you know that 80% of car seats are installed incorrectly?? That is due partially to the seat itself being installed incorrectly and the other part to the restraints and settings not positioned or latched correctly. You can look up a CPST or Child Passenger Safety Technician and they will show you how to install the car seat correctly for your specific vehicle.
Check out the link on Safe Kids and hit “Find a Tech”. The less information you fill out, the better. I just put my county and state and hit submit. This turned up 16 results including the local hospital, ambulance company, fire department, school district, and other individuals. It provides you with a phone number and email to get in contact with them. Note, that not all police stations and fire departments are properly trained in car seat installation, so it’s always a good idea to check the list first.
Pack your hospital bag! You could go into labor at any time, so it’s best to be prepared for when that happens. I have a full guide to my insane hospital bag packing list that contains every item that was suggested to me by every mom I talked to. I also included a list of items that we actually used in the hospital, along with a packing list for Baby and my husband. You can check it out HERE.
Now is also a great time to prep some freezer meals for after delivery. You will not want to cook and clean, so prepping some easy microwave or premade frozen dinners will make your life so much easier. Your baby is so big now and they are taking up most of the room inside your belly. This means the soccer kicks should ease, but you will be able to feel so many other movements like rolls, stretches, and even hiccups!
This is the first week that doctors will induce for medical reasons. Technically, the baby is still considered late “preterm”, but their lungs are developed enough to breathe on their own. I was diagnosed with gestational hypertension (pre preeclampsia) at 36.5 weeks pregnant and my induction date was scheduled for the first day of week 37. You can read more about my birth story HERE if you like.
Baby’s brain does a lot of developing in these last few weeks, so coming early can cause some minor issues like uncoordinated sucking and might be a little extra sleepy. Other than that, these last few weeks are mostly devoted to packing on the pounds, half a pound per week to be exact. If Baby still isn’t head down by now, your doctor or midwife will talk to you about how to proceed. For those of you that don’t have any signs of labor in sight, just try to hang in there! I’m sure you are uncomfortable, but it will all be worth it in the end!
Baby is dropping lower into your pelvis and your movements are probably starting to resemble a waddle more than a walk. Be sure to stay hydrated and now is a great time to make sure everything is ready for Baby’s arrival, it could be any day now! When the baby is born, the first poop is called meconium and is black and tar-like. Be sure to change their diaper soon, because trying to get this off of their skin can be tricky if it sits too long. You and your significant other can download a contraction app to help time. This will not only help you differentiate between braxton hicks and actual labor, but it is great info to give to the nurses when you get to L&D.
You know how in movies, a woman finds out she is in labor because her water breaks all over the floor? Well, only 15% of women have their membranes rupture before they go into labor. If your water does break, most providers will want to see that delivery is close after about 24 hours. Any longer, and you increase the chance for infection – which puts both you and Baby at risk. If your water breaks, make sure to make your way over to the hospital or call your midwife right away.
Did you know that only about 5% of women actually give birth on their due date? Don’t worry if there are no signs of labor, a due date is just an estimate of when the baby is supposed to arrive. There are many suggestions as to how to induce labor naturally; ie: eating pineapple, walking, having sex, nipple stimulation, spicy foods, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, most of these will not work if Baby isn’t ready yet. Feel free to try these though, but be cautious with using castor oil, as it has very mixed reviews on whether it is safe or not. Just make sure to check with your doctor or midwife before trying anything, just to make sure you and Baby stay safe.
Don’t be alarmed if you are a bit weepy a few days after delivery. This is totally normal and is referred to as the “Baby Blues”. You can read more about what this is, and how it differs from postpartum depression on my blog HERE.
Although it may seem like deliver is far away, it will come and go quickly. I hope you are as comfortable as possible, and your labor and delivery go as planned! You have sacrificed so much during this pregnancy, but it will all be worth it once you are holding that bundle of joy in your arms.
Here is a list of items to take care of during the third trimester:
- Research lactation consultants and breastfeeding groups.
- Even if breastfeeding is going great, it’s nice to get out of the house and chat with other moms. It’s a good idea to have a lactation consultant picked out, so that if complications do arise, you know who to call.
- Decorate the nursery!
- Purchase maternity/nursing attire. Some of my must-haves include:
- Install the car seat and get it checked.
- Pack your hospital bag: Checklist HERE.
- Write a birth plan
- Some women plan out every aspect of their birth and give it to their doctor. Others just go through the options and write it down so their birth partner or doula has an idea of their preferences. Either way works, and it is totally dependent on what makes you feel most comfortable. Just remember, sometimes birth doesn’t go the way you plan, emergencies come up, and you just have to roll with the punches.
- Pre-register at the hospital
- You can put in your insurance information, fill out contact information, and any other necessary paperwork so you can skip that step when you go into labor.
- Wash baby clothes and blankets
- I have worked retail, and the clothes come from the manufacturer with chemicals sprayed on them to make them look their best. If that isn’t enough reason to wash them first, I have opened up boxes full of dead bugs, dust, and other disgusting things. Many people don’t wash their own clothes before wearing, but babies have much more sensitive skin and it’s best to wash away all that grime before it touches their skin.
This trimester will probably go by slower than the others, but you will make it through! Try to take some time to pamper yourself, take naps, and go on a few dates while it is still just the two of you. You can also check out my posts on the First and Second Trimester.
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