Top 10 MUST Have Items on the Third Trimester To Do List (are they on yours?)

Congratulations! You have officially made it to the last leg of your pregnancy, and are now getting through the third trimester. By now, your baby bump is in full swing, you may (or may not if you choose) know what your new child’s gender is, and you are anxiously ticking away the days until their arrival!

When you first find out you are pregnant, nine months seems like it’s FOREVER away.

However, now that you are in the last part of your pregnancy you may be feeling the pressure to prepare for baby. As a seasoned mom, I’ve put together a list to help.

Here is my list of the top 10 things that should be on your third trimester to do list!

Getting through the Third Trimester: Top 10 Things on the Third Trimester To Do List

#1 Purchase the baby’s remaining “essentials” and finish the registry

If you are planning on having a baby shower, a registry can be really helpful for guests, especially if this isn’t your first child.

Often, you can get free items or discounts by signing up and registering as well, which will come in handy as the purchases start to stack up. Target and Amazon are my favorite places for baby registry.

The welcome bag from Target is full of practical items like bottles, pacifiers and coupons. Amazon not only has a similar welcome box, they also offer parents a 10-15% “completion discount” to help you purchase the remaining items on your list.

What should be on your baby registry though? There are A LOT of baby products out there and they aren’t all necessary. Amazon will walk you through registering for all your essentials but here’s a short list to help get you started:

Baby Registry Suggestions

  • Crib
  • Crib mattress and at least 2-3 sheets
  • Car seat
  • Diapers
  • Nursing or bottle-feeding essentials (think nursing pads, lanolin, and bottles/bottle brush)
  • Blankets
  • Swaddles (like these come in handy)
  • Sleep sacks
  • Boppy/nursing pillow (I LOVE mine!)
  • Baby bathing essentials (tub, washcloths, sensitive soap)
  • Clothing (I recommend at least a couple of newborn items for those first couple of weeks)
  • Grooming Kit
  • Stroller
  • Highchair
  • Baby carrier (I loved my Boba wrap)

Now don’t stress if you are working with a budget. Not all of these are essential BEFORE the baby is born.

Really, all a newborn needs is a place to sleep, clothing, a few blankets, and a way to eat. The rest can be figured out a bit later! For instance, the highchair won’t be used for several months. However, if this is your first child, it is something worth registering for since it is a larger item and your guests may prefer to buy something practical like this.

Also note: If you plan on breastfeeding, many insurance carriers will pay for a breast pump, so you may save some money by exploring your insurance coverage and having your OB provider write you a prescription for one. (Check if you’re eligible.)

Looking for more information on starting a baby registry? Check out our detailed post on how to start a baby registry online.

#2 Get your photography ready: Maternity, Birth, and Newborn?

Number 2 on the third trimester to do list is a lot of fun! You may want to decide what pictures are important to you before the baby is born, and book your photographer.

Or, if you have a friend or family member who’s good with photography, talk to them about helping you with these photos.

Now that you your baby bump is in full swing, it’s a perfect time to start planning your maternity photo shoot. Some women feel really uncomfortable in their new bodies, but coming from a seasoned momma, make SURE you get at least a few bump pictures.

Side note: I generally don’t care for pictures of myself (especially planned “photo shoot” type pictures), but trust me when I say, you’re going to look back and be happy that you have these.

You also want to decide what types of baby pictures are important to you and get that arranged.

Live birth photos are becoming more popular, and I have to be honest, they can be GORGEOUS! You’ll just want to make sure your hospital/doctor are cool with this sort of thing before booking!

Newborn photos are usually recommended within the first week or so (while they are still nice and squishy!) so you’ll want to have this arranged in advance. The good news is: many photographers will do package deals, like a “pregnancy package” so ask around about discounts if you book multiple sessions at once.

#3 Prepare the nursery

Next on the third trimester to do list is the nursery.

The third trimester is the perfect time to wrap up your baby’s sleeping quarters. Like many parents, you may choose to have baby sleep in your room for at least a short time after coming home.

However, having the nursery done before the baby is born may help pass the time while you wait for their arrival, and will also save you A LOT of time and energy (which will be in short supply for a little while!) after baby’s birth.

Here’s what you should be thinking about to finish the nursery:

  1. Finish assembling the nursery furniture (better yet, you are pregnantm so watch someone else assemble the nursery furniture)
  2. Paint the walls (water-based paints are OK during pregnancy – just make sure it’s well ventilated in there!)
  3. Wash/organize the baby’s clothes – you only really need the newborn and 0-3-month sizes ready at first, everything else can wait.

Here are 5 other critical things to consider when designing a baby’s nursery.

#4 Rest up and take care of yourself

We’ve given you a few third trimester to do list items for your “nesting” hormones to obsess over. Now, it’s important we remind you…. you are in your third trimester, so remember to rest!

You are going to feel winded more easily, tired, and uncomfortable, so it’s important that you take the time to rest.

Remember, it is okay to divide a task over several days and take frequent breaks if you are tired. You are growing a human, and this last leg is one of the most tiring times in your life. Don’t overdo it because you may find it takes longer for your body to recover if you do too much at once (for example: very sore back, Braxton hicks, and swollen ankles).

Pamper yourself: This to do list item is essential for your mental well-being! You are going to have a harder time reaching your toes, you will be more uncomfortable, and you are likely to feel very tired (especially as you near the end).

So, remember to pamper yourself a little! Take a warm bath, get a pedicure, take a nap. If you are feeling really inclined, a prenatal massage can be a great way to relieve some of your discomfort and help you feel more rested and relaxed!

#5 Get registered at your hospital

Many hospitals like to see women in their third trimester “pre-register,” either by phone or by appointment, depending on your hospital. So, make sure you add this to the list and register yourself. Ask them any questions you have BEFORE you go into labor!

Suggested questions to ask:

  • What is the hospital’s policies on visitors?
  • What items does the hospital provide for mom and baby? (will come in handy when packing your hospital bag)
  • What are the hospital’s policies on photography/video?
  • Do they require car seat inspection before you leave?

#6 Establish your birth plan

This third trimester to do list item comes with a fair warning: Not all birth plans go according to plan.

In fact, it may not go according to plan at all. Babies come in their own way, with minds of their own! My recommendation is to decide what things are essential for you during delivery.

For instance:

  • Who do you want with you when you deliver?
  • What pain meds are you willing to use?
  • Do you want to do things like skin to skin after birth?

For me, skin to skin was essential and I prefer to use pain medications that have minimal affects on baby once he/she is born.

These are things to discuss with your OB provider/hospital ahead of time as part of a birth plan. However, don’t put too much pressure on this one. Like I said, babies have minds of their own and will begin surprising you from the moment they are born!

#7 Install the baby’s car seat

Installing the car seat is essential before your baby is born. If this is your first baby, you may have questions about proper installation, so it’s important you at least attempt the install before “D-day.”

Many hospitals will require your car seat be inspected before you take your baby home (smart, right?). They can do this the day you are discharged, but if you are really concerned, most local police stations will also inspect free of charge. Remember, rear-facing till 2 years of age (or longer) is the current recommendation!

And if you’re still looking for the right car seat, these are currently some of the most popular and highest rated:

#8 Pick a pediatrician (and pre-register if you can)

When your baby is born you will need a follow up visit within a few days, so you will want to add this to your third trimester to do list. Use this time during the third trimester to carefully select your baby’s doctor.

Ask other parents in your circle who they use, do internet research, and make some phone calls. You won’t be able to schedule your baby before he/she is born, but you can often pre-register him/her that way all you have to do (or the hospital has to do for you) is call when you are discharged after delivery.

#9 Figure out your checklist for hospital bag and (if applicable) make arrangements for siblings

The last few weeks of your third trimester is a perfect time to create your checklist for hospital bag and get it all packed. You may also need to make arrangements and pack bags for other members of your family if this is not your first child.

This to do list item is essential considering labor can start at any time and you may not feel up to packing a bag last minute (you may also forget a lot of things in all the commotion).

When packing your hospital bag, you really only need a few essentials. During your hospital pre-registering you can ask what things are provided, to prevent over packing for you and baby. The hospital will usually provide diapers/wipes and baby essentials as well as essentials for mom like post-partum pads and nipple shields (if breastfeeding).

A few things you will want to bring with you:

  • Cellphone charger (in some cases, you will be waiting a long time before the baby actually comes)
  • Comfortable sweatpants
  • Coming home outfit for mom
  • Slippers or slip resistant socks
  • Hair brush
  • Toothbrush
  • Other basic toiletries
  • Baby’s coming home/first picture outfit
  • Car seat

Also in the third trimester, you want to make sure you make arrangements for care of your animals while you are gone and child care for any other children you may have.

#10 Enjoy this time

This last third trimester to do list item is a reminder that this time is short: enjoy it!

I know that you are uncomfortable and anxious to meet your little one and it can be easy to wish the time away, but remember that this special time with your significant other and other children (if you have others) is short.

Take the time to rest, relax, and enjoy. If this is your first child, yes, it’s true “your life will never be the same again.” But for the most part, it’s a good thing. 🙂

Before you know it he/she will be here!

That’s all!

I hope you enjoyed our top 10 list of third trimester to do list items! Getting through the third trimester is an exciting and uncomfortable time but those baby snuggles will all be worth it.

Don’t forget to rest up while you can, and don’t overdo it when those “nesting” hormones kick in!

What are some other items on your third trimester to do list? Share in the comments below!

About Eric and Tiffany Matthews

We're Eric and Tiffany, the parents behind Cynical Parent. We're just normal parents who are navigating parenthood with both eyes wide open (probably because there's a kid yelling nearby). And of course, we're pretty cynical. Don't believe everything you read or hear, whether it's on the internet, or from a close family or friend (or even from us!). Every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Sometimes you just need to try and see for yourself. :)

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