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  • Chicago Birthworks Collective

Third Trimester To-Do List

Get ready for labor and delivery with this pre-baby checklist.

Welcome to the third trimester! Weeks 28 to 42 of your pregnancy are an exciting time of anticipation and preparation. While you’ll want to take time to rest and care for yourself, you’ll also need to channel energy into preparing for your baby’s arrival. To help you plan, we’ve created a short third-trimester checklist. The best part? A doula can guide you through each of these important tasks.

Schedule visits with your doula.

Plan out your final prenatal visits and write them down as checkpoints for these last weeks of pregnancy. Your doula will share key information to prepare you for labor and delivery, as well as provide comfort and support as you undergo third-trimester changes. Be sure to jot down questions or thoughts that come up between visits.

Finalize your birth plan.

During your third trimester, start to think about what you envision—and what you want to avoid—for your labor and delivery. Childbirth can be unpredictable, and babies don’t always arrive according to plan, but discussing your wishes with your care team and your doula will ensure everyone is on the same page from the start. With a clear birth plan, your doula can ensure you have the space to advocate for yourself during the birth process and communicate with your care team throughout your labor and delivery.

Visit your birthing facility.

If you plan to give birth at a hospital or birthing center, this is also an excellent time to schedule a tour of the facility and complete your preregistration forms. It’s helpful to become familiar with the space and its amenities, including the equipment that’s available for laboring. Not to mention, you’ll get to do a dress rehearsal for how to get there, where to park and where to check-in.

Assemble your team.

You likely have already assembled your team for delivery. But you’ll also want some important people on call for after you give birth, including a doctor for your baby. Many pediatricians will schedule a prenatal visit or open house so you can visit the office, get to know them and ask questions before your baby is born. You may also want to connect with a lactation consultant for education and support if you plan to breastfeed. Line up those helpers (Hello Nana and Ti-ti!) who are willing to pick up groceries, help with household chores or care for your older kiddos. Having these contacts on hand and ready before giving birth will make the first days and weeks after your baby arrives much smoother.

Prep your home.

It’s time to get ready for your baby. Enlist the help of friends and family to assemble baby gear, like a crib and stroller. Set up a nursery space, including a safe place for your baby to sleep, an area for diapering and dressing and a comfortable spot for holding and feeding. You’ll also want to wash your baby’s clothing and bedding before using it for the first time and stock up on diapers and wipes.

Practice breathing and birthing techniques.

Later in pregnancy, you may choose to take childbirth, breastfeeding, baby care or infant CPR classes. Your CBC doula is a fantastic resource for this information, including labor and birthing positions, breathing techniques and comfort measures. Our Black Girl’s Labor Guide also provides easy-to-reference tips and photos on the stages of labor and corresponding positions. Practicing these techniques will allow you to become familiar with them so that you can feel confident and use them with ease while laboring.

Pack your bag.

In the weeks leading up to your due date, prepare a bag of essential items for the hospital or birthing center. You’ll want to bring your insurance card, toiletries, comfortable clothing, nursing bras and a going-home outfit for your baby. Be sure to gather items, like favorite foods, music, scents and other supportive objects, that will help you feel comforted and strong throughout your time at the hospital or birthing center. And don’t forget to get familiar with and install your baby’s car seat. If you’re planning a home birth, your midwife and doula will work with you to purchase or gather the necessities for birthing at home.

Celebrate your final weeks.

Mark this special time with a maternity photoshoot, a belly cast, baby shower or blessing ceremony. While the last few weeks can feel like a dash across the finish line, it’s OK to slow down and fully mark this special occasion. Carve out some time to connect with your partner and friends before your baby arrives, and continue to reach out to them for support. And it’s also a good idea to take care of yourself with joyful movement, nourishing foods and plenty of water. Your body and mind are working hard, so relaxing and resting will fuel you for the days to come.

If you’d like to work with a doula for your birth experience, learn more about Chicago Birthworks Collective’s birth packages and complete our intake form. For those who do not live in the Chicagoland area, join our Virtual Birth Village for education, community and support.

Link to Meeting Your Doula blog scheduled for July 6th

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