The Ultimate Guide to the Third Trimester & Things to Do Before you Go into Labor
Things To do During the Third Trimester
For all my birth clients with January due dates and February due dates here in south Florida and Boca Raton, a common question is, what should I be doing in my third trimester to prepare for labor, for birth and to prepare for meeting my baby and bringing my baby home?
First things first... 1. Movement
Once you are in your third trimester, its important to be attentive to how active your baby is, and monitor and keep track of your baby's movements, especially if your OBGYN or Midwife suggests it. If you notice a decrease in movement, some medical providers will tell you to let them know. It's always good to be on the safe side and keep a vigilant mind.
2. Prenatal Visits
At some point during your third trimester, your prenatal visits should become more frequent. Some time between 32 and 36 weeks, you will start seeing your provider on a weekly basis rather than once every few weeks. Be sure to ask your provider what kind of exams, tests and discussions you can anticipate to arise over the course of these visits so that you can be well informed.
3. Cord-blood banking
Be sure to talk to your doctor about cord blood banking, what it is, how it is done, what the pluses and minuses are and how to plan for it. If you are planning on doing delayed cord clamping, make sure your provider is aware since these two processes can affect each other and not all providers may offer their agreement to do both.
At this point, you may have taken a pregnancy and childbirth class, but this is the perfect time to educate yourself and make decisions about whether you know enough about baby care, breastfeeding, labor, pain management techniques during labor and infant CPR. Sometimes your local hospital will offer some of these classes, there is an amazing childbirth class offered by Diane Ellen at Boca Raton Regional Hospital. Other times you can contact a local birth center such as Natural Birthworks birth center in Margate or an organization such as The Orchid Nest in Delray Beach to find out about their class schedules and offerings. The Orchid Nest offers hypnobirthing classes in Delray Beach as well as at local hospitals, so be sure to inquire asap as classes sometimes have several dates and may be booked out in advance.
If you are planning on breastfeeding your baby, this is the perfect time to learn as much about breastfeeding as you can. Get yourself a breastfeeding pump, many insurances now cover the cost of excellent, high grade breast pumps. Every city nowadays has a local La Leche League Chapter, which is a group of women who are pregnant and have already had their babies who meet on a monthly basis to discuss important things to prepare for during pregnancy and techniques to use following birth to have the best opportunity at breastfeeding. There are many local lactation consultants in south Florida such as Sandra Lobaina with Peaceful Pregnancy Pathways in Margate, FL who you can contact should you have problems breastfeeding. Be sure to equip yourself with anything you may need to make breastfeeding more comfortable for you, whether that be a nursing cover, nipple shields, nipple ointment to help prevent dried out nipples, or the use of an inverted nipplette from Avent that helps with flat or inverted nipples.
This is the perfect time to choose the right pediatrician for your baby.
If you live in south Florida, there are a vast recourse of amazing pediatricians that come with glowing recommendations from south Florida's best OBGYNS/Midwives and doulas. Some of my favorites are: Dr. Edna Tello with Personalized Pediatrics, Pediatric Associates who have many locations making it very convenient to get easy well and sick visits (my favorite location is in Coral Springs but they are also located in Coconut Creek and Boca Raton). Several of my clients love working with VIPediatrics in Boca Raton, and many holistic first-time-moms love working with Dr. Linda Colon in Coral Springs with Coral Springs Holistic Pediatrics. Many of these great pediatricians are affiliated with some of the best hospitals in south Florida including Broward Health Coral Springs, Northwest Medical Center, Boca Raton Regional Hospital (formerly known as Boca Community Hospital) and West Boca Medical Center.
Scheduling in-person interviews with pediatricians is best. That way, you can sit with them, see how comfortable you feel with them, and ask them all the questions you may have about their approach towards pediatric care for your new baby.
Now it's time to make sure you have everything you need for when you bring your baby home. Here is a list of items you should have prepared and ready for use, just in case your baby makes an unexpected arrival, so you can be totally prepared:
1. Bedding: Have your baby's crib and bassinet set up, bedding washed and put on and ready
2. Stroller: You may want to take your baby for walks in your neighborhood after giving birth, you don't want to have to deal with that assembly after you brought your baby home. I love youtube videos because you can type in the name of your stroller and find instructional videos on how to assemble, open and close your stroller.
3. Baby Monitor: Do you have a registry at Babies R Us or Target in Boca Raton? Did you know that anything that wasn't purchased from your registry for your baby shower, these stores will usually offer you a 10-20% off discount for the remaining items on your registry? This is the perfect time to use that discount on a great monitor. I recommend looking up reviews on the best video monitors on amazon.com because you'll always have more of a peace of mind when you can see your baby on the monitor!
Educate Yourself on the Stages of Labor
Once you have all this done (I know my December due date moms just finished up setting up their nurseries this week!) It's time to educate yourself on stages of labor.
We go over this together during our first meeting because you need to know how to update me on the progress of your labor and when to expect me to arrive at your birth. However, I will also share my resource list with you so that you can contact a some of my favorite local doulas (ranging from Delray Beach and Boca Raton doulas to Fort Lauderdale and Miami doulas) so that they can help you prepare and go over various labor pain coping strategies, especially if you are planning an unmedicated birth (or even leading up to getting an epidural during labor) it is good to learn about your options now so that you can be prepared, know what to expect and know what you want.
Doula and Birth Plan
When you hire a doula, she should help you to create a birth plan, also known as a birth preferences list.
Although birth is unpredictable, it is good to have an idea of what you'd like from your birth as long as everything goes smoothly with mom and baby. Things to consider for your birth preferences list are: who would you like to cut the cord, do you plan on having delayed cord clamping, what your pain management tools are, who will be part of your birth team and present during labor and birth and more.
What to do with a Birth Plan / Inductions
Make sure you make a copy for your provider and whoever their backup doctor or midwife is in case of emergency and they are not with you during delivery. You also want to make copies for your nurses. Nurses at the hospital work in 12 hour shifts, so depending on how long you are in labor, you may need a new copy for each nurse if it is not left in the room. If you end up being induced, you may be in the hospital for 1-3 days leading up to birth, depending on what medications your provider will administer and how your body reacts to them.
It is not uncommon for first-time moms to be in labor anywhere from 12 to 24 to 30 hours.
Most first time moms are in labor for an average of 15 to 20 hours. And usually, it shortens with subsequent births. You won't be in intense labor for the whole time. It usually starts with sporadic uninformed contractions that feel like your belly or the skin on your belly is tightening, stretching, contracting. Then, as they become more uniform and start coming in more consistently, as they become more frequent and intense they may be accompanied by lower back ache or menstrual-like cramps below your belly.
I tell all my birth clients, even my home birth families, to be sure you pack a hospital bag around 35-36 weeks in your third trimester, because in the event you need to go to the hospital, even if its for a non-emergency situation, you don't want to waste your time or energy trying to make sure you have everything last minute.
A lot of my birth clients wonder whether they should hire a house keeper or housecleaner before they have their baby, and the answer should always be yes!!
It is such a calming and relaxing feeling, coming home to a beautifully clean home once your baby is born. And it takes care of everything on your to do list that you won't have to worry yourself with when you are recovering from birth with a newborn.
Post Partum Care
It is a great idea to stock up on your favorite snack foods, freezer meals, pain medication, toiletries and menstrual pads for postpartum bleeding. A lot of moms like to get underwear just for wearing during the postpartum bleeding time frame.
Install your baby's car seat
You definitely want to install your baby's car seat by 36 weeks. Hospitals won't let you take your baby home unless you install the car seat in your car, and be sure you are using an infant car seat, so you can remove it from the base that is attached to the safety belt in your car and bring it upstairs to securely seatbelt your baby. Again, I love to take to youtube because there are many car seat technicians who help guide you with step by step instructional videos on how to specifically install your car seat.
Make sure to schedule a tour of the hospital you will be birthing at and be sure you register! I didn't realize the two don't go hand in hand! You must do both. Be sure to google list of questions to ask on a hospital tour and bring the list with you, and ask the questions that matter to you.
Older Children / Fur Babies
Make sure if you have older children or pets that you make arrangements for family or friends or sitters who will be staying with them while you are in labor. Add their contact information to your birth plan.
Late Pregnancy Complicatons
Sometimes are women near the end of their pregnancy, certain medical conditions may come up such as premature labor, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and GBS. Make sure you educate yourself on these issues and talk to your provider about your concerns if you notice any symptoms.
Past your due date!
Don't worry if you go past your due date. It is estimated that only 5% of women go into labor on their due date. The next 50% of women will go into labor within 7 days of their due in either direction, and the rest outside of that. It is so normal for first time moms to not go into labor until after their due date and some even at 41 weeks.