If you’ve made it to your third trimester of pregnancy, congratulations! Chances are, it’s felt like a long road with multiple symptoms, ups and downs, and you may be thrilled to finally be in the home stretch.
If you’ve been following along the past few months, you may have seen the other blog posts in my pregnancy essentials series! If not, check out my first trimester essentials here and my second trimester recommendations in this post.
In today’s post, I’ll be sharing the products that made my third trimester easier. At this stage in pregnancy, you may be feeling tired, swollen, and ready to get. this. baby. out. These products can help make your last few months more comfortable. And because we’re talking about the end of pregnancy, I’ve included some suggestions to make the first few weeks with baby more manageable.
Let’s jump in!
#1. A Birthing Ball.
I actually first heard about using a birthing ball at one of our prenatal classes. Our instructor, a midwife, explained how they can help relieve pelvic pressure and actually help position the baby for labor. They also have other benefits, like relieving back pain and reducing the pain of contractions when you’re in labor. This article from Baby Centre UK goes into more detail about these and other benefits.
If you’re not familiar with birthing balls, they are also called exercise balls or yoga balls and they are inflatable rubber balls you can sit or bounce on. I like to sit on mine when working on my laptop, watching TV, or when I’m feeling any pelvic pain.
The one I purchased is the CPOKOH Exercise Ball from Amazon which costs under $20. After pregnancy, I can use it as an exercise ball, so it will continue to come in handy.
Make sure you order the right size, as many birthing balls come in multiple sizes. You’ll want to choose based on your height, and most product listings will provide a handy size chart.
#2. A Contraction Timer App.
While labor doesn’t look the same for every woman, it often includes contractions. And in many cases, you’ll experience contractions at home for a duration of time before heading into the hospital.
The general rule of thumb seems to be to head to the hospital when you’ve reached “411” (or “511” if you live far away from the hospital). This means:
4: Contractions that are 4 minutes apart.
1: Contractions that last for 1 minute each.
1: Contractions that continue like this for at least 1 hour.
(That being said, I’m not a medical professional. Always consult with your doctor or health care practitioner to understand when they recommend you go to the hospital!)
411 is pretty easy to remember, right? But when it comes to actually timing contractions, it can be a bit more complicated. Do you write them down? Type it into your phone?
I’d recommend using a contractions timer app! It’s an easy way for you or your partner to keep track and have the times visible all on one screen, specifically designed for this purpose.
My husband and I have both downloaded the Contraction Timer app which is designed for iOS devices. It’s completely free and is supposedly the most downloaded contraction timer app in the world.
That being said, there are multiple contraction timer apps available – find whatever works best for you!
#3. Your Hospital Bag(s).
If you’re just starting your third trimester, you may not have even started to think about packing your hospital bag. But it can be helpful to have everything ready to go early, even if you finish packing closer to your due date. My doctor recommended having my bag packed by the time I was 34 weeks pregnant. (I’m planning on writing a blog post about what to pack in your hospital bag, so once that’s ready to go I’ll be sure to link it here!)
If you can’t fully pack it ahead of time, don’t worry! You can always make a list of the remaining things and then throw them in at the last minute. The key is to do the majority of the work ahead of time, when you have more time and energy and the ability to buy anything you still need.
I have a few different bags (one for the labor, one for recovery, one for baby, a small cooler with Powerade and snacks). But I’m using a small rolling suitcase for most of my items since it’s easier to transport, especially if I end up being in lot of pain or am recovering from a C-section. In case you don’t have one, this option from Amazon gets great reviews and comes in at under $50.
If you’re suffering from heartburn or acid reflux, I feel you. I experienced a lot of acid reflux, right up until the end of my third trimester. At that point, Tums just wasn’t cutting it and I asked my doctor if there was anything else I could take. She recommended Zantac 75 which definitely helped. It didn’t always get rid of my symptoms completely, but most of the time it helped ease them.
Be sure to ask your health care practitioner what they recommend, including product and dosage information.
You can shop Zantac on Amazon here.
#5. Thank You Cards.
Even if you aren’t having a baby shower, you may receive baby gifts and some of them may come earlier than you expect! Buy some thank you cards to have on hand so that you can send them out quickly.
I picked up some adorable bunny thank you cards from Amazon pictured above, and you can find them here on Amazon.com.
#6. Prepared Meals.
Once the baby comes, you probably won’t have much time to cook homemade meals. It can be really helpful to make some food ahead of time and freeze it for easy reheating! And the best time to do this is during the third trimester so that your food doesn’t get freezer burned.
I prepared a bunch of meals and food: a lasagna, chicken enchiladas, pasta bakes, chili, soup, shepherd’s pie, and banana bread, among others. I chose 2-3 recipes to make each week for a few weeks, and it helped spread things out and make the cooking more manageable. There are tons of freezer meal recipes on Pinterest, and I’ll likely be sharing a blog post soon about my approach.
So if you can spare the time, try to prep a few meals and freeze them. If you can’t wait, you can always eat them at the end of your third trimester when you’re short on energy!
Don’t have the time or energy at all? Order or pick up some prepared meals from the supermarket to have on hand.
#7. Prenatal Education.
If you’re a first time mom like me, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with all there is to learn about pregnancy, labor and delivery, and newborn care. It’s a whole new world, and it can be tough to know what information sources to trust and what education you really need.
Here are some ways to brush up on your prenatal education. I recommend talking to your partner about what works best for the two of you in terms of learning style, budget, and content.
In-Person Prenatal Classes
My husband and I took in-person prenatal classes and found them to be really beneficial. We took a more intensive two-day course that focused primarily on labor and delivery, and it was a great way to learn together, ease our concerns, and get on the same page about what to expect and how to handle things. This was a paid course but these can often be covered through health insurance, so definitely check to see what your benefits plan offers.
We also took a few ad hoc in-person classes offered for free through our region. They were 2 hours in length and led by registered nurses. Once was about car seat safety (and included a car seat installation check), and the other was focused on breastfeeding. Both were somewhat redundant from an online course we also took, but if you like in-person learning, classes like this could be a good fit.
Our region offers access to their online prenatal classes for free. There were different subject areas from pregnancy to breastfeeding, labor and delivery, and infant care. These weren’t as engaging as the in-person classes, but can be a good option if you’re looking for something to take at your own place from the comfort of your own home.
We’ll also soon be starting the Taking Cara Babies Newborn Class online which is focused on infant sleep. This was gifted to us by family, and I’ll be happy to share my review once we’ve gone through it.
There are plenty of other ways to brush up on your prenatal education. Some options include books (I’m currently loving The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp), podcasts (I liked Pregnancy Confidential), and the articles in pregnancy apps (my pick is the Glow Nurture app).
#8. Newborn Essentials
Lastly, I’d suggest having some key newborn essentials on hand in your third trimester. These are the items you’ll want to have in advance of your little one’s arrival.
While you can certainly set up the entire nursery, stock pile diapers, and buy out Baby Gap in advance, it’s not really necessary. Your baby will likely sleep in your room for the first few months, and you may not know how big they will be until they are born, making it hard to know what size clothes and diapers to purchase. Instead, here are some key items you may want to prioritize buying:
An Infant Car Seat
You’ll need an infant car seat to take your baby home from the hospital, and ideally you’ll have this installed in the car in advance to make rushing to the hospital a teeny bit less stressful.
After a lot of research, we settled on the Uppababy Mesa Car Seat, pictured above, but there are a ton of safe and well-rated options available.
A Place for Baby to Sleep
Experts suggest that baby sleep in the same room as you for the first few months of their life, so you may want to purchase a sleep-safe bassinet to keep in your bedroom, or something of that nature.
A Few Onesies
It can be tempting to buy a million baby outfits, but your baby will probably be onesies or sleepers for the first few weeks. Having a few Newborn and 0-3 Month size on hand will be helpful.
Anything the Hospital Requests
Depending on where you’re delivering, you may need to bring your own supplies for your baby. For example, our hospital has asked us to bring our own diapers and wipes. They’ve also suggested we bring a comb for the baby’s hair, and baby wash.
If you like to be super prepared, you may find yourself wanting to buy everything your baby could need for their first few months. But if you’re more of a minimalist, this may not appeal to you.
In any case, I’d recommend looking up baby registry checklists as they can be a great source of ideas for what types of things you may need. You can then decide what to register for, what to buy yourself, and what to wait on.
For us, we bought or were gifted pretty much everything we’ll need. However, we barely have any diapers or wipes because I want to wait and see how big our daughter is and what works for her. For example, if she’s allergic to the wipes we start with, I can buy a different brand versus being saddled with a Costco-sized case I won’t be able to use. I also didn’t buy much newborn-sized clothing, since if she’s a big baby, she may not even wear it.
Whew – that was a long one! I hope you found this to be helpful. Are there any other products you found to be must-haves in your third trimester? I’d love to hear them! Sound off in the Comments section below.