Third Trimester – Weeks 29 to 40
You’re now on the final lap of your pregnancy. You’ll definitely be showing that baby bump by now, and aches and pains or mild, safe contractions may start helping your body to get ready for the real thing! Now’s the time to make sure you pack your hospital bag with essentials for you and baby, and maybe even choose a name if you know the gender!
- Stay as active as you can, this is essential for keeping supple during the impending birth
- Make a birth plan
- Expect Braxton Hick’s contractions as a precursor to the real thing
- By 37 weeks your baby is considered full-term and may arrive safely at any time!
- Baby has become a full-on acrobat by now, and you may feel small elbows, knees or buttocks in your ribcage as baby turns head down ready for birth and space becomes confined.
Hospital Bag Essentials For Mum & Baby
It’s important to be well prepared to welcome your new baby into the world. Whilst your due date may provide some indication of when baby will arrive, there’s no telling exactly when they will make their grand first appearance. Having a hospital bag packed and ready to go will give you peace of mind.
Ideally, start packing the essential items a few weeks before your due date, or around 30 weeks if you're expecting twins / triplets. If you’re planning a home birth it’s just as important to have a hospital bag prepared in advance to avoid a mad last minute packing panic, should you need to go to hospital.
It’s best to choose a practical and functional grab and go bag for your hospital visit. A weekend holdall, a roomy rucksack, or small cabin bag on wheels are all ideal options. Just make sure that there are sufficient internal pockets and compartments in which to pack everything you need.
There are a number of essential items that you will need for you, baby, and your birth partner.
- Your birth plan and maternity notes
- Several comfy nightdresses or sleep t-shirts
- An open front nightdress, if you plan to breastfed
- Slippers or non-slip socks
- A lightweight dressing gown
- Lip balm
- Wet wipes, to cool you down
- A hair brush
- Hair clips or a hairband, if you have long hair
- Toiletries – including toothbrush and toothpaste
- Going home clothes – choose loose and comfy
- 2 or 3 nursing bras
- Breast pads
- Maternity pads – 2 packs of heavy duty (you will bleed for up to 6 weeks after the birth / c-section)
- Nipple cream
- Disposable pants – or old cotton knickers that you can throw away
You may also want to include:
- A TENS machine – for pain relief
- Massage oil
- A book and/or MP3 player
- A mobile phone and charger
- A camera
- Your makeup bag
Most new mums don't stay in hospital for too long after giving birth. When choosing essentials for baby it’s important that you consider the weather, and do your best to avoid over packing. Ideally, you should be able to pack baby’s items inside your grab and go hospital bag.
- At least 3 each of newborn size vests, body suits and cardigans
- 3 or 4 all-in-one sleepsuits with popper fastenings
- A cotton hat and 2 pairs of anti-scratch mittens
- Muslin cloths or bibs
- Newborn size nappies, baby toiletries and cotton wool
- Sensitive baby wipes
- Medicated cream for nappy rash
- A super soft baby blanket or shawl
- A going home outfit
- Baby’s first soft toy
- An all-in-one snow suit, if it’s cold outside
- A baby car seat
Don’t forget Dad or your birth partner:
It’s equally important to ensure that your birth partner is comfortable, as it’s their job to help you relax and enjoy the experience before, during and after the birth. Pack these items in a separate rucksack or holdall.
- A pillow and blanket
- Plenty of loose change for parking and vending machines
- A list of family and friends to call
- A book or magazine
- Drinks and snacks
- A change of clothes
Signs of Labour
So, you’ve almost reached the end of your pregnancy, there have been ups and downs as your body has become accustomed to growing a brand-new life. But what are the early signs of labour to look out for?
- Lower back pain
- Period-like pains or mild contractions
- Tightening across your bump
- Feeling of pressure low in the pelvic region
- Losing your mucus plug
- Waters breaking
- Sudden burst of energy or ‘nesting instinct’ (cleaning your house like a mad woman!)
When to head to hospital
- If you’re worried at all (ALWAYS better safe than sorry)
- If your waters break
- If your contractions are strong and around 10 minutes apart
You’ve got a lot to look forward to, and there’s a lot of information to take in. Nine months may seem like an eternity, but the time will fly by and before you know it you’ll be swapping sleepless nights with an uncomfortable bump for sleepless nights with a bundle of joy!
GOOD LUCK - YOU WILL BE A MUMMY VERY SHORTLY.