You’re in the homestretch, Mama! You’ve made it through two trimesters of pregnancy. By this point you’ve conquered morning sickness, got comfortable with your growing bump (not to mention your impressive new bra size!) and may have started truly planning for what life will be like with a new baby. Take that planning to the next level with this must-read third trimester check list. From purchasing a car seat to filling the freezer with ready-to-go meals, we’ve got everything you need to ensure you’re prepped and ready to transition from third trimester to new mom with ease and style.

Photo: Adela Baby 

1. Finish Nursery Decorations
The truth is your baby isn’t going to care much about the aesthetics of their new room, newborns are solely interested in food and comfort at this point. But, if your own Nate Burkus’ design tendencies have you wanting to make sure the nursery is Instagram-worthy before the baby’s arrival, now is the time to button up the final touches. Assemble the crib, secure the mobile and try out the rocker. You’ll be spending a lot of time in the nursery the first few months and you want to make sure it’s a soothing place for you and your baby.

2. Buy Non-Toxic Cleaners
Isn’t it crazy that as soon as that stick shows positive, your mama bear instinct immediately kicks in and you want to protect your growing newborn from anything that is even the slightest bit dangerous? That gut instinct gets even stronger once your baby arrives, so make sure your home is as safe as possible by removing toxic cleaners and purchasing the all natural, eco-friendly stuff.

3. Purchase and Install the Carseat
The one absolutely essential piece of baby gear is your car seat. If you want to take the baby home with you from the hospital, you need a car seat. You’ll also need to have it installed properly. We know what you’re thinking — how hard can it be? We suggest installing the car seat ASAP and familiarizing yourself with it now to ensure a stress free trip home from the hospital. You might even want to stop by a car seat inspection station to have your installation checked by a certified technician.

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Photo: Phil & Teds Website

4. Nail Down a Pediatrician
Getting a doctor for someone that hasn’t arrived yet may seem premature, but having a pediatrician ready to go prior to delivery is one of the best decisions you can make. You’ll be so busy and tired (sorry, it’s true!) once your bundle of joy arrives that the last thing you’ll want to do is start researching the best local pediatrician. So, now’s the time to ask trusted friends or the doctor or midwife delivering your baby for a referral. Read our tips on how to find a pediatrician if you’re still looking.

5. Make Freezer Meals for the First Few Weeks Postpartum
You will literally be patting yourself on the back for checking this one off your list. Having ready-to-go meals in the freezer for the first few weeks after you have your baby will be a saving grace. You won’t have the time or energy to cook, but having a convenient home-cooked meal will taste delicious and feel so nourishing. If your breastfeeding, leave out garlic and raw onions, since those ingredients can apparently make newborn babies fussy.

6. Take Care of Yourself
Growing a new life is hard work! Take the last three months of pregnancy to really take care of yourself. Get a massage, go for a long walk, indulge in a nap in the middle of the day. In other words – treat yourself! You may not have the time for these simple luxurious once your baby arrives.

The Gift of Beauty

Photo: 2BU Beauty 

7. Research a Lactation Nurse in Your Area In Case you Need It
If you plan to breastfeed you should research a lactation nurse in your area. Often times a nurse will visit you in the hospital, but unfortunately you can take her home with you. Realize that for some woman nursing comes easily and for others it is a struggle. Having a lactation consultant identified before the baby arrives helps you manage either situation.

8. Get Last Minute Baby Essentials
More than likely you’ll have your baby shower during the third trimester and you’ll get a TON of things for your newborn. However, there will inevitably be a few items that you don’t receive. Now’s the time to stock up on diapers!

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Photo: Inhabitots.com

9. Stock up on Postpartum Comfort Items
Veteran moms everywhere will recommend a trip to the drug store during the last trimester so that you can purchase a few items that will make the healing process easier the first few weeks after your baby is born. Yes, you need to heal — you just birthed a baby! Here’s what you should buy, a gentle laxative or stool softener (ask your ob-gyn for a recommendation), rubber gloves for filling with crushed ice (ideal for applying to sore spots), extra long panty liners, gauze pads and witch hazel. Sneaking a chocolate bar into your basket is optional and encouraged.

10. Pack Your Hospital Bag
You’ve heard this one before, but that’s only because it’s super important. Take time to think about what you’ll want to have at the hospital with you during your labor and delivery. Once the contractions start, the last thing you’ll want to do is decide what yoga pants you’ll want to wear home from the hospital! You can also tape a reminder note on the bag so you remember the last minute things you need to throw in like your toothbrush, make-up bag (there will be pictures!) and deodorant. Follow our hospital bag packing checklist to make sure you have everything you need.

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Photo: Coffee Cake and Cardio

11. Call in Help
Think of all the things that need to happen everyday besides caring for your newborn like cleaning the house, caring for older siblings, feeding and walking pets. See if you can arrange for someone else to do these things. Whether it’s a family member, friend or hired help, you’ll want to conserve your energy in the first few hectic weeks and having extra hands on deck is a must.

12. Book a Date Night
If this is your first child you may not realize that for the next 10-12 years leaving the house to go on a date with your husband becomes much more difficult. Enjoy the freedom of not having to make arrangements for childcare and head off on a romantic date with your favorite guy. Bonding with your spouse before your baby’s arrival will feel extra special.

13. Rehearse Your Hospital Trip
Is there construction near the hospital? Heavy traffic during certain times of the day? Take at least one practice run with your partner to the hospital or birthing center, and map out a backup route in case of unforeseen traffic jams or road closings.

14. Pre-register at the Hospital or Birthing Center
Many hospitals or birthing centers allow new moms to pre-register. This means you can take care of some of the paperwork and insurance matters prior to arriving in labor. Also be sure to contact your insurance company and let them know your baby will need to be added to the plan.

Bun Maternity

Photo: Bun Maternity via Facebook 

15. Get Fourth Trimester Wear
There’s no doubt you’ll want to dress as comfortable as possible the first few weeks after delivery. But, you will need to get dressed. Check out brands like Bun Maternity for everything you need to be comfortable and functional once your newborn arrives.

Did we miss anything? What do you suggest other moms do to prep in the third trimester?

–Aimee Della Bitta