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Getting Ready For The Birth : The 3rd Trimester

Weeks 29 to 42 : This is the time when many pregnant women start to feel more uncomfortable…

You may feel big and swollen and your back may be sore.  Your body is sending you a lot of messages: slow down, take it easy, relax – Listen!  Be kind to yourself and your baby.

 

Tasks:

  • Many women don’t think a lot about labour and birthing until this trimester.  That’s just fine – there’s lots of other stuff to think about.  As you start to think about getting the baby out, you might want to watch some videos or read some good books, such as Birthing from Within by Pam England or Birth Matters by Ina May Gaskin.

  • Your care-provider will offer you the option of being screened for Group B Strep and will want to see you every week after week 36.  During this time, the position of your baby will be checked to screen for breech or other variations in presentation – head-down is best!

  • Attend your Prenatal Childbirth Preparation Classes with your partner or birth-helper.

  • Consider your preferences and values with regards to your baby’s birth.  How would you like things to go?  How would you like to cope with labour pain?  What interventions would you like to avoid, if possible?  What is really important to you about the experience of giving birth?

  • Discuss your birth preferences and values with your partner or birth-helper.

  • Meet with you doula, if you have chosen to have one.  She will want to know about your plans and preferences for your baby’s birth so that she can help you carry out those plans.

  • If you’re planning a home birth, you’ll need to gather supplies as requested by your midwife.  Click here for more information.

  • Take a Parenting the Newborn or Infant First Aid class.

  • Organize equipment, supplies and a space for the baby.  Babies don’t need a whole lot, but gathering stuff for your baby is part of the process of getting ready, physically and emotionally, as well as logistically!

  • Think about daycare.  It sounds ridiculous, but if you are planning to go back to work outside the home after your maternity leave is over, you need to think ahead.

  • Start planning for "Trimester Four"…  Who will be available for physical support right after the baby is born?  Partner?  Birth-helper?  Family?  Friends?  Post-partum Doula?  All of the above?

  • How much time can your partner take off work after the baby comes?  Can your partner work flexible hours for a few months?

    Plan meals for after the baby comes.  Cook and bake and freeze.  Ask friends to throw you a shower where they all bring casseroles for the freezer or tell a friend about MealTrain (I think this is really cool!) and get them to set up a meal rotation for you after the baby comes.

    Learn about Postpartum Mood Disorders.  What might it feel like?  Where can you find help if you need it?  20-40% of women are diagnosed with some mood disorder (anxiety or depression) after giving birth.  We’re pretty sure other women have the same feelings but never seek help.  Support makes it all easier to deal with.

  • Take a little time off to rest and enjoy the calm of a child-free house before everything changes.  Try not to work flat out until the last minute.  Becoming a mother is a rite of passage and requires a little pause, an interruption in your usual life, for you to prepare mentally.

  • On the other hand, having a baby is not the end of your life.  You will still be able to do many things.  I see some moms-to-be shopping as though they were preparing for a siege.  Shopping is actually a great activity to do with a baby (after the first few weeks).

  • Enjoy your partner.  Talk and talk and strengthen your relationship.  There are difficult days ahead and you need a strong team to get through them well.  Do cozy pleasant things together.  Run out to a movie on a whim.  Go for long leisurely walks.  Have a fancy dinner out.  You will be able to do these things together again someday, but not right away.

Click here to visit our Resources page for a list of local pregnancy, birth and early childhood resources.

Continue on to…

The extra Trimester : Those First Three Months With The Baby

Or refer back to…

An Introduction to The 5 Trimesters

The 0th Trimester : Planning To Get Pregnant

The 1st Trimester : The First Three Months of Pregnancy

The 2nd Trimester : The Happy Middle Months