The third trimester can seem to drag on for ages.
I really felt like the first trimester was the longest of them all, but the third trimester definitely did not zoom by either.
When you are huge and uncomfortable, it can be hard to focus on anything other than the discomfort. If you find yourself saying “ugh, I cannot wait until I have this baby”, then it may be time to find some ways to distract yourself.
A great way to take your mind off the fact that you are still pregnant is to tackle your third trimester to do list!
I didn’t have a third trimester to do list, and as a result, I didn’t have a whole lot done by the time by daughter was born.
You will want to tackle your to do list towards the beginning and middle of the third trimester.
This will prevent you running around like a mad woman at 40 weeks trying to get everything done.
It can be really exciting getting the finishing touches done before baby arrives, and this third trimester to do list will help you do just that.
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THE COMPLETE THIRD TRIMESTER TO DO LIST
WASH BABY CLOTHES
The third trimester is a great time to wash and sort through all of those tiny little baby clothes you have bought so far.
If you have a lot of new baby clothes in bigger sizes, I would just focus on washing the newborn and 0-3 months sizes for now.
That is all your baby will need for a little while, and all that folding will probably cause some back pain!
Also, try to avoid taking the tags off of any of the bigger sizes that you have, such as 3-6 months and up.
You may find that some of the items in these sizes are out of season by the time your baby grows into them and you may have to exchange them for something else.
Some people do avoid washing any of the newborn clothes as well because some babies are just too big for them when they are born.
It’s up to you.
My baby did wear newborn sizes for a good while so I do recommend having both newborn and 0-3 months sizes clean and ready to wear.
Maybe you could wash just a few newborn outfits and leave the rest with tags if you want.
PREPARE FOR LABOR
Reading up on all things pregnancy and labor was one of my favorite ways to pass the time during my third trimester.
The whole labor experience can be scary and totally shocking for a first time mom.
You should talk to your doctor (or midwife) and ask as many questions as your little heart desires. Try to get the “run down” on what goes on during labor, how they do things, and tour the hospital if possible.
A great online prenatal course can also help answer some of those questions you have about delivery. This one was created by a labor and delivery nurse of over 15 years!
My husband and I cringed at the thought of sitting through the traditional prenatal class that our hospital offered, but a quick and easy online class was right up our alley.
(At the very least, be sure to sign up for this FREE online prenatal class!)
PACK YOUR HOSPITAL BAG
This can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.
Some people find it necessary to pack their entire house in their hospital bag. I am not one of those people. But again, that is totally up to you.
You can pack your hospital bag whenever you get ready, but a good rule of thumb is to have it done by at least 35 weeks, since you never know when you will go into labor.
Of course, there are things that you will need to pack that you can’t live without for 5+ weeks.
This is why I divided my hospital bag checklist into three parts: the things you must have, the things you may want but don’t necessarily need, and the things you should pack right before you leave.
You can find my hospital bag checklist here.
MAKE A TON OF FREEZER MEALS
I saw this suggestion several times while I was pregnant and thought “ew, no thanks.”
This was ignorant of me because I was hungry during postpartum recovery with absolutely no desire to cook.
Thankfully, my daughter was born close to thanksgiving so we did not starve, but I will definitely make some freezer meals next time around!
This is another thing I would try to get done early in the third trimester since spending hours in the kitchen at 38 weeks pregnant sounds not fun.
GIVE YOUR HOUSE A DEEP CLEAN
Hands down, this is my least favorite task on the third trimester to do list.
If you’re reading this early in your pregnancy, do your future self a favor and try to keep the clutter under control during your pregnancy.
This will be a lot less daunting task if there is not much to pick up.
But, if it is too late for that, now is the time to get started on giving your house a good scrub down.
The areas of your home that need cleaning will vary some from person to person.
Try to focus on things that you know will seriously bug you during postpartum if you leave them undone.
I would for sure make sure to have the pantry, fridge, and freezer cleaned out before baby arrives.
These areas can get messy quick and the clutter may drive you mad postpartum.
You may also consider some light dusting, quickly wiping down walls, or cleaning baseboards.
It all depends on the cleanliness standard that you hold your house to.
If slightly dirty windows have never bothered you before, they probably won’t bother you after you have your baby.
As always, make sure not to put to much strain on yourself during cleaning, and take frequent breaks as needed.
(Or pay someone to clean your house for you, I really really hope I can afford this next time around!)
PREPARE FOR POSTPARTUM
If you are a first time mom, you may not have a clue what to expect with postpartum recovery.
You can read about everything that shocked me about postpartum here.
Weather this is your first baby or your eighth baby, the third trimester is prime time to prepare for postpartum recovery!
If you already have some sexy postpartum underwear on hand, go ahead and wash them.
You want those jokers all clean and ready to hold your huge pads.
For more information on how to reduce pain and heal faster during postpartum recovery, check out this post.
INSTALL CAR SEAT
Installing your baby’s car seat is so exciting because it means you are so close to meeting your baby!
I read a lot about car seat safety during my pregnancy. I was like a mad women trying to pick which seat was best for us.
We used this car seat, which worked great and was super light, but it did not have a level indicator on the side, which made installing it really hard.
For that reason, I recommend getting one with a level on the side, like this one.
You can probably find a YouTube video specific to your car seat. Or you can check out this post.
FIGURE OUT ALL THE BABY GEAR
Speaking of the car seat, you need to know how to work that thing before you bring baby home.
Before you install the car seat, take the time to really become familiar with it.
Learn how to tighten and loosen the straps. Figure out how the seat detaches from the base.
Go ahead and insert any newborn padding that came with the car seat.
I know that this seems like common sense, but I spent my whole pregnancy researching car seat safety and forgot to learn how to work our own car seat.
We had to get the nurses at the hospital to help us tighten the straps before we could go home, which made me feel like a big idiot.
Also, go ahead and play around with any swings, bouncers, or anything like that and make sure you understand the settings on these things.
Holding a screaming baby in one hand and the instruction manual for your swing in the other can be avoided.
(We loved this swing, and it was super easy to use.)
These days, you are probably feeling the urge to nest. Nesting is such a big part of the third trimester that I just couldn’t make myself not mention it.
There is a ton that goes into nesting, so I will try to just hit the high points.
Here are a few things you may wanna get out of the way:
- Decide where the baby will sleep (we co-slept for a while)
- Put together the crib (even if you don’t plan on using it, because ya never know)
- Wash crib sheets and mattress pad and put them on the crib
- Put together swing, bouncer, rock n play, etc.
- Sterelize bottles, breast pump parts, pacifiers, etc.
- Find a place for all the baby stuff. Put everything in easily accessible spots so you can find it fast when you need it. Baskets help with this.
SET UP AUTO PAYMENTS
If you can, go ahead and set up automatic payments on any bills that will allow you to do so.
If you are the one that has to remember which bills need to be paid on certain days, this simple task can save you a lot of stress in those first few weeks.
Thankfully, my husband handles most of the bills and reminds me about them, but it is definitely something to consider putting on your third trimester to do list.
HAVE A BABY SHOWER (IF YOU WANT)
Some people aren’t big on baby showers, and that’s okay, but if you want one, go for it!
Baby showers can be a fun way to celebrate with loved ones and get a few baby gifts.
But don’t feel obligated to have one just because a pushy family member insists that you need to have one.
If baby showers aren’t your thing, you can always have a laid back diaper party or something similar.
If you do decide to have a baby shower, shoot for anywhere between 30-36 weeks to have it.
I had mine at 32 weeks and that seems to be the perfect time for it.
I was “pregnant enough” that I was showing well, but I wasn’t so pregnant that I was too miserable to have a good time.
Overall, the baby shower should be about you and your baby, don’t try too hard to accommodate and please everyone else.
SPEND SOME TIME ALONE
This might sound silly, but I think that basking in some quality alone time is important for an expectant Mama.
This will be hard if you already have little ones, but I still think it’s important.
You probably won’t have a ton of spare time after baby comes, so spend the third trimester doing things that you may not get to do again for a while.
Take a nice long shower that you don’t have to rush through because you’re worried the baby will wake up.
Go see a movie. Go out to eat a couple times.
Just do whatever you wanna do and focus on yourself after several long months of growing a human.
GET YOUR HAIR CUT/DONE
Getting out of the house with your new baby can be hard in the beginning.
The amount of stuff you need to carry around for a short outing with a newborn is ridiculous sometimes.
So, it may be a while before you carry your baby on a trip to the salon to give your hair some TLC.
Because of this, I recommend getting your hair trimmed/done before you have your baby!
I dye my naturally brown hair a light blonde, and I completely failed to get it done before I gave birth.
This will be a big priority next time around on my third trimester to do list!
GET A PEDICURE
Last but not least, wrap up your pregnancy by getting a pedicure.
You probably haven’t been able to reach your toes for a while now, so I’m guessing they need some TLC.
I remember looking down at my toes during my hospital stay after having my baby and thinking “gross, I definitely should have repainted my toenails.”
These things don’t seem important, and for some they are not.
Something as simple as having my hair done or my toenails painted would have made me feel more like myself and a little less like a hot mess at the hospital.