Things to Do in Third Trimester
At the start of your pregnancy it seems like you have all the time in the world before your tiny human makes their debut. Then, suddenly, third trimester is here and you may find yourself overwhelmed by all you have left to do. I know that’s what I’m currently experiencing at least.
Living in a “work in progress” (aka construction zone) has prevented me from having our new home painted (that was supposed to finally start today….but is now off completely ugh), and organizing the nursery (let alone the rest of our home); we have a slew of classes left to take to prepare for this exciting and terrifying journey called parenthood; haven’t even begun to write our birth plan (and quite frankly, still unsure on exactly what our birth plan, or any birth plan for that matter, should entail);…the list goes on (like this run-on sentence…).
So, in order to combat the urge to freak out, I decided to plan out what I could. Doing this made me feel a bit more in control, and helped me organize my thoughts and prevent any important tasks from falling victim to the dreaded “pregnancy brain” (the struggle is real).
Take up (or resume) at least one hobby you enjoy.
Pregnancy can be exhausting and overwhelming, so you may be thinking, “ yea…sure, and when am I supposed to find the time and energy to do this”? Fair question-one I’m still working to find an answer to. Nonetheless, I think it is worth it to make an effort. Your life and priorities are about to change dramatically; why not enjoy some “me time” while you have the chance?
As I alluded to above, I have yet to take my own advice on this point. But I intend to. Growing up I played the violin. Sadly, once I started law school my violin playing was put on hold. For my law school graduation my husband bought me an electric violin to encourage me to return to playing. With two violins in the house I have no excuse. I also have a passion for foreign languages and have studied eight thus far. However, like the violin, my languages fell to the wayside with law school. I would love to start practicing again, especially because we would like to teach our daughter foreign languages at a young age.
Other ideas I have thought of: take an Indian cooking class, try my hand at homemade pasta, or learn to sew (admittedly I did sew when I was younger, but I have forgotten absolutely everything). Those are just a few of my ideas.
Start planning and packing your hospital bag.
There’s a lot of blog posts on what to pack in your hospital bag floating around out there. Since I haven’t yet experienced labor and delivery, and don’t know what I will actually end up wanting/needing I’ll let these pros do the talking (err….writing?). Here’s a few of my favorite posts I have found on the subject:
- A Nurses Guide to Packing Your Hospital Bag
- What I’m Packing for the Hospital
- What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
Take a birthing class.
This one was hard for us. We wanted to take a more substantial birthing course than the one-day course that was offered by the hospital. In fairness the hospital offers lots of courses from breastfeeding to baby care which we took, but really only one on labor and delivery. We are still undecided on whether we are going for a natural or medicated birth, but we chose to take a course designed primarily for non-medicated/natural birth. We figured in the event we decided to go that route, or were somehow unable to have an epidural due to unforeseen circumstances, the techniques would be really useful to know. Further, a lot of the pain coping techniques can be used in early labor regardless of the type of birth you end up having.
Since we couldn’t find a live class that worked with our chaotic schedules, we decided to take an online course called Birth Boot Camp. This course is 10 sessions; we have completed a few and are enjoying it thus far.
Think of a list of things that relax you to use during labor.
If you have a good birthing course you may have already been encouraged to do this. Brainstorm things to have at home and bring in your hospital bag, or things your significant other/family/doula/etc. can do to help you relax. Here’s some things I have come up with:
Candle: since you obviously can’t bring a real candle to the hospital, I will be bringing my fancy-shmansy Luminara candle that was gifted to me a few years ago. Find it here.
Labor and delivery gown: some people find this weird, since obviously the hospital will give you a hospital gown. But when I am in pain or discomfort, I am weird about textures and fabrics. This new fad of bringing your own labor and delivery gown (or your own outfit you don’t mind trashing later) appeals to me.
Music: I’m bringing a range of different music that I may find relaxing. Classical/instrumental, Sinatra/Rat Pack, and Christmas music. Yes, you read that right: Christmas music. “Ummm… your due date is October 20th,” you say. Yes, that’s right. “Isn’t it a bit early for Christmas music?” Yes, yes it is. But I am a Christmas fanatic, and Christmas soothes me. So in case of an ultimate pain relief/relaxation emergency I am bringing Christmas music, and I have no shame.
Movies: in the event I am unfortunate enough to labor for 2 days I will have a couple movies prepared that always put me in a good mood. Along the lines of the Christmas music above, Elf and White Christmas are on that list. Again, no shame. I’ll also have a few chick flicks, and feel-good films. The likelihood of me wanting to watch a movie during labor is slim to none, but in the event I actually do I will be prepared!
Tennis balls: no I don’t actually plan on playing tennis (I don’t have delusions of grandeur), but they are great for massages. That’s a trick I learned from our birthing classes. Have your significant other/doula/whoever use them on your back when you’re experiencing backaches and pain during labor.
Something that smells nice: not sure what that means for me yet, but something perhaps with lavender sent. I find lavender soothing. I also find that if I am feeling nauseous lemon helps (learned that first trimester).
Get your legal documents in order.
Most first-time parents (and even many seasoned parents) don’t think they need a Will or Power of Attorney (POA). Perhaps it’s because they don’t feel comfortable chatting about morbid, worst case scenarios, or perhaps it’s because they feel immortal. Bottom line, it’s my opinion that everyone should have these legal documents in order, children or no children.
If you have a lot of assets, it’s advisable to hire a good attorney who can first help you decide whether a Will or Trust is the best option for you. But even if you have minimal assets, a Will or Trust is a good idea. There are some clear financial and legal reasons to have a Will in place, but more importantly if you are a parent or guardian a Will is a good mechanism to ensure your kids will be looked after by someone you trust in the event you were to pass away.
A quick note on POA’s- these documents are designed to allow you to specify who has the ability to make health care decisions (POA for Health Care) or decisions about your assets (POA for Property) in the event you become incapable of making decisions for yourself. There are additional documents, such as Living Wills, which allow you to express your wishes on your medical care as well. Most states provide comprehensive information on all these documents (Wills, POAs, Living Wills) and even provide free templates. Just give it a Google search. When in doubt ask an attorney for advice on these documents in your state! Do it for yourself, and more importantly for your loved ones.
Let’s face it: pregnancy is tough on your body. Aches, pains, tiny bladder, swollen feet… the list goes on. Of course, it is all well worth it- but that doesn’t necessarily make it easy. So, if you have some extra dough set aside- take a quick trip to the spa! Get a maternity massage, mani/pedi, or a haircut! Something that will relax you and make you feel human again.
Stay tuned for a future guest post from a dear friend of mine on what to do in the months prior to adoption!