Top 5 Things I Should Have Done in the Third Trimester

There are so many transitions that come after baby and we’re talking specifically about 5 things I wish I would have done in the third trimester as I was preparing for baby.

Want to learn more about when the Third Trimester Starts? Read my recent piece on Zulily.

Tip 1: Created Stations

The first thing I wish I would have done as a an expecting mom in the third trimester is I wish I would have made stations. I spent so much time focusing on organizing the clothes and having the nursery in a certain way and and washing and prepping and cleaning and that’s fine and well, but there were so many things I didn’t actually even touch until days, weeks, even months after the baby was born.

Baby Stations

What I wish I would have done with my nesting energy is created stations and specifically one station for baby and two stations for me in my recovery. For the baby, I wish that I would have created a feeding and changing station. I love the rollable carts from IKEA that a lot of people have used for this where you have all the things you need to change baby diapers. This station has wipes, an extra onesie and everything you need to take care of baby changing right away.

The second baby station is for the things that you need for feeding babies. So if you are breastfeeding, this is going to be supplies to help you and nursing and and your breast and your nipple care items. If you are bottle feeding, this is going to be supplies to help get things ready quickly. I wish that I would have had that station for baby.

Photo from Pinterest

Mom Recovery Stations

I also wish that in the third trimester I would have prepared two stations for myself. This first station being a bathroom station. This is the spray, the peri bottle, the the ice packs, the aloe vera, whatever it is that you are using for your own recovery. You also need to have the diapers, the pads, the the period underwear because there’s nothing worse than being postpartum, still bleeding and like wobbling over to the closet for supplies because you forgot to get something beforehand. I suggest that you make yourself a recovery basket with all of your recovery supplies in your bathroom.

The second station I wish I would have made for myself was my own snack, water, and basic needs basket. This would be things like chapstick, maybe a book or something that I could easily get to and reach when I was feeding or when I was nap trapped. There are times in early motherhood when moving is just was out of the picture. You need to have that food, you need to have lots of water, you need to have a way to stay connected, and you need chapstick. You never need chapstick more than when you are nap trapped with a baby and you don’t know where that is. So make sure that you put those essentials together in a basket just for you.

Tip 2: Discuss Boundaries Beforehand

The second thing that I wish I would have done in the third trimester is discussed boundaries with friends and family. Specifically with visitors, I wish that I would have discussed the boundaries with a new baby. When they could pop in and when they could not pop in. Who was taking care of the baby during visits and what that meant for me and my husband. As a new mom, I felt like I needed to be there when anyone visited and it really took a huge hit, especially on my recovery sleep. You want to be able to proactively communicate those boundaries so that you know how to be on the same team with your partner, communicate your decisions, and prioritize what you need.

Tip 3: Learn More About The Changes You Go Through Mentally and Physically

The third thing that I wish I would have done in the third trimester is learn more about the actual physical and mental changes that happen in pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I hear this from a lot of women. We spend a lot of time preparing for birth. We create a birth plan, we talk about how we want to labor, we talked about what interventions we do or don’t want. There’s a lot of emphasis on the birth prep.

Physical Changes

We often miss the opportunity to actually learn about and prepare for what’s happening in our own bodies and our own brains. Learn about the pelvic floor. Learn about your vaginal birth, or your belly birth, whatever that is. Be informed about the implications of your birth. Learn about how the body changes and stretches and grows including what the uterus is doing. Your uterus changes and stretches and grows. Your pelvic floor shifts and requires attention as it holds your baby and eventually aids in delivery.

Mental Changes

It is also so important to learn about the mental changes you may experience. Something that I never knew, until a couple of years after my first, was that you have actual neurological changes to your brain throughout pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Similar to your adolescent season, you are rewiring. This makes a lot of sense that your emotional reactions, your mental needs,, and your mental wellness can shift and change. It can feel really isolating, confusing, shameful, and overwhelming to be going through so many changes. But together we can be informed, inform one another, and make these parts of early motherhood less shocking and isolating.

Tip 4: Create a Schedule for Recovery

The fourth thing that I wish I would have done in the third trimester is create a schedule. This schedule should include the boundaries that prioritize rest. As I said, I felt like I needed to host and be out where any visitors were. I did not take the time I needed to rest and recover.

You have a baby that’s not sleeping well. Plus you’ve gone through birth and you’re in early postpartum. Additionally, you are learning how to feed your baby and take care of his needs. Prioritizing your own rest and recovery is so important for mental and emotional health. In retrospect, I wish that I would have made a schedule (a loose schedule because… babies). I encourage all expecting and new moms to prioritize having rest so that recovery can happen.

gold ipad beside stylus

Tip 5: Prepare Your Relationship for Having a Baby

The fifth thing that I wish I would have done in the third trimester was really prepare for how this transition could impact my relationship. I was blindsided by how much changed in our relationship: our connection and our communication. The ways that we interacted with each other were shifted overnight as we added a baby to the mix.

While preparing for life after baby, prioritize having this conversation about possible changes with your partner. This includes identifying topics you enjoy. Set a time when you are going to intentionally connect. Plan to talk about household duties and not holding resentment.

Bonus Tip: Build Up Your Support Team!

I can’t close without adding the reminder to build your support team as you are expecting. We do this in my Postpartum Planning Small eCourse. In the course, we address all 5 of these topics with a guided workbook to help you put it into place.

Your support team is your partner and those close to you, and also the professionals that can assist you through the big transitions.

Want to learn more about when the Third Trimester Starts? Read my recent piece on Zulily.

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