Congratulations! You are in the FINAL trimester momma! This can be one of the hardest trimesters because we are so eager to have that baby arrive! All this work is coming to an end and you just want the reward of baby snuggles. But believe it or not, there are still to-do items to add to your pregnancy checklist!
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If you are a little late to the game, I highly suggest checking out my Ultimate First trimester Checklist and Ultimate Second Trimester Checklist to see if there is anything you haven’t been doing already.
- Decide on if you want to create a 529 College saving fund, or just a separate savings fund for your baby. Both have their benefits and you’ll want to decide what you are most comfortable with. What if your child goes to a school that doesn’t accept 529 or starts their own business? Pulling those funds out for a different use can have huge tax implications.
Savings accounts will build over time guaranteed, but you will have to pay taxes on interest gained over the years. However, there aren’t really penalties for withdrawing later and the funds can be used for anything (down payment gift for their first house for example). Think about all the options, and maybe speak with your tax consultant or financial planner.
- Pre-register at your hospital if you are able. Print a copy (if completed electronically) and keep in your pregnancy binder for convenient access, as well as verification of your plan.
- Begin thinking about a living will. I know it’s super depressing to think about. However, you want to make sure your baby is taken care of how you want in the event something should happen. This can mean who becomes the primary caregiver if one of the parents or both parents pass, how any assets are distributed, etc.
- Create and or finalize your birth plan. A good birth plan can help keep everyone on track through the chaos of delivering a baby. It also helps prepare you for most situations that may typically catch you off guard.
- Begin putting the final touches on your nursery! Make sure you have items that will be readily available when the baby is born. For example, you may not have to stress out about that crib if you are planning to use a sidecar/bassinet next to your bed.
- Pack your hospital bag. You never know when you will go into labor. While we hope it is closer to 40 weeks, preparing for an earlier delivery can give you peace of mind and comfort in a stressful situation.
- If you haven’t already, sign up and take your child birth class. Taking your class now can be more beneficial because the information is more likely to stay fresh in your time. You can also get beneficial practice for different techniques to be ready for delivery.
- Monitor your swelling. Mild to moderate hand and foot swelling is normal (especially if you are eating salty foods, not exercising, and sitting on your bottom all day). But severe swelling can be a sign of Preeclampsia. Other symptoms you may notice at home include high blood pressure, severe headaches, sudden weight gain, and shortness of breath. If you notice any of these, call your doctor IMMEDIATELY.
- Start planning your hospital trip for the big moment! Do you know where to park? What’s the fastest route to the hospital? Does that route change depending on high traffic times of day? Once you know, you will make the process of heading to the hospital that much smoother.
- Continue taking preventative measures against varicose veins and swelling. Stretching, drinking water, wearing compression socks, and elevating your legs throughout the day are all ways that you can lower your chances of varicose veins.
- Pre-register at the hospital. This changes depending on location, but typically you can do all the nitty-gritty paperwork in advance. Make sure you have your insurance card and driver’s license for them to take copies.
- Finalize your pediatrician. Many hospitals will call your pediatrician to come to the hospital once the baby is born. Some hospitals are required to use their pediatrician and will forward information once you are discharged so they have the information for baby’s first doctor’s appointment.
- If you are expecting twins, be prepared! Most women who deliver multiples end up delivering early.
- Get your car seat installed and properly checked out. Many police stations and fire stations have members who are car seat certified. Your hospital may also offer a car seat inspection service. Make sure once everything is secure to take the actual carseat out and leave only the base in the car until delivery day. In the unfortunate event of a moderate/severe accident, the carseat will need to be replaced to ensure high safety measures are continued for the baby.
- Breastfeeding is not as natural as it sounds. If you are really worried, having some upfront knowledge can make you better prepared (just like your childbirth class). See if your hospital offers a course, or take a variety of different courses offered online.
- Keep track of babies movements. Frequent activity is a bonus, but it should be easier to detect movements and kicks because of the lack of space in the uterus. 10 kicks every 1-2 hours is considered normal. If you haven’t felt anything, try drinking a glass of cold ice water or gently pressing on one side of your belly. If you ever have worries, your doctor will have you come in to detect babies heart rate for abnormalities and possibly an emergency ultrasound.
- Double check with your insurance company or employer about adding your baby to your plan once the baby is born.
- Send out thank you notes from your baby shower.
- If you haven’t already, determine who will be taking care of your pets or older siblings while you are at the hospital. Make sure if you have siblings to let their schools know about who will be picking up your child. Photos and full names are beneficial in keeping your child safe.
Also giving your child a picture of the people who will be picking them up and a picture of their vehicle can be extremely helpful at pick up time (if they are involved in the driveline).
- Finalize your workplace. Make sure last minute tasks are taken care of at work. You want to make sure you can leave at a moment’s notice! Also verify the procedure for letting them know you are taking FMLA leave if applicable. If you plan on pumping when you return to work, finalize the location and rules about your scheduled breaks. Don’t forget, it’s a federal law to provide reasonable breaks in a private location that is not a bathroom. If you need support or more information, check out the Department of Labor website.
- Get your postpartum station ready. Items like padsicles, with hazel wipes, pads, disposable underwear/diapers, dermaplast, and other items are completely necessary to a successful recovery. If you’re recovering from a C-section, lochia (postpartum bleeding) will still happen and you will want some disposable underwear or heavy flow menstrual pads. Heat packs, bandages, and a break station (complete with drinks and snacks and anything else that can be easily in reach) will help your recovery. Taking it easy on your incision is most important.
- Wash a few loads of baby cloths, blankets, sheet, burp cloths, and other baby items so that some are readily available once the baby is born. The last thing you want to do for a while is laundry.
- Buy any last minute items you didn’t receive from your baby shower. Multiple brands of pacifiers and bottles are more important than you think! We have tried 8 brands of pacifiers and our youngest won’t take any of them. Our oldest son loved MAMS when he was a baby.
- Prep some freezer meals that can be easily heated up. Standing and cooking is another think you won’t quite have time or energy for once baby is born. Better yet, if anyone has offered to help after the baby arrives, coordinate people to bring meals or assist in cleaning your home.
- Take lots of naps. It’s the last good sleep you might get!
- Make an “eagle landing” list so you can announce when “the eagle has landed” (aka baby has arrived). Assign this list to someone so you only have to inform one person and your informant lets everyone on your list know.
- Loosen up those hips and stretch! Some prenatal yoga and walking are great exercises even in your last days of labor. Walking in a shallow pool is great pressure relief, but make sure your water has broken or you could bring unwanted contaminants to your uterus.
- There is no better time than now to just relax. If baby hasn’t come yet, there is no reason to stress. Many first time moms end up delivering later than other moms. Your doctor may begin a conversation about induction. Babies who are more than two weeks late begin to increase chances of problems, including still birth.
- Gather multiple resources for yourself for after your baby is born. Breastfeeding, spit up, nursing, formula, aftercare, are all essential