Believe it or not, the third trimester is my favorite part of the seemingly never-ending nine months of gestation. Because despite the aches and pains and all of the waiting, the last three months of my pregnancies were a time for preparation, nesting, and bonding for my husband and me. As someone who has been pregnant three times, I can tell you that there are more than a few things you should do with your partner in your third trimester, to prepare yourself, your home, and your relationship with that brand new baby.
My partner and I definitely tried to accomplish as much as we could during those last three months before our baby was born. There are the things you know you aren't going to get to do for a really long time after baby gets here, like have sex, go to a movie, take a trip, or sleep. Then there are practical things we wanted to cross off our to do list, like planning for delivery, packing our hospital bags, and making decisions about vaccines, circumcision, and how we were planning to feed the baby. We also wanted to prepare our home for our little one's arrival, so we shopped for baby gear and set up the nursery.
The third trimester is also your last chance to prepare to become parents. So things like taking a childbirth class and infant CPR together can help a couple feel ready for parenthood. And, of course, it's important to get on the same page about how you will co-parent together. I learned the hard way that apparently we should have found a daycare before I got pregnant, because the waiting list for good programs can be longer than the length of your pregnancy.
So if you are expecting a baby, read on for the definitive list of things you absolutely should do with your partner in the third trimester, from someone who's been there a few times:
I also found it super important to get on the same page with my partner about my birth plan — having all the medications made available to me and as soon as humanly possible — and various parenting choices — like combo-feeding our baby — so, he could help advocate for me during and after childbirth.
Take A Class
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that you and your partner take a childbirth class together, so you both know what to expect. This doesn't have to do be intense or expensive. Many hospitals offer classes designed to teach pregnant people and their partners everything they need to know about delivery, including where to go when you are in labor, what to bring with you, and any rules about who can be there and what you can and can't do.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that expecting parents take an infant CPR and first aid class, too. In my opinion, taking this class together ensures that both of you know what to do in the event of an emergency, and since you might have pregnancy brain at the time, that someone else is there to learn the information, too.
Have Lots Of Sex
I'm not going to lie, waiting for anything is not my strong suit. I, personally, had a hard time waiting for six weeks to have sex with my partner after delivery. So, we tried to have as much sex as we could before our baby arrived, mostly because we didn't know how things would be after I went through the trauma of labor and delivery. I personally think pregnancy sex is awesome. I would 10/10 recommend getting some while you can.
Do A Trial Run
My partner and I didn't actually plan to practice for the big day, but when I went into preterm labor we were forced to bundle our kids up in the middle of the night, call my parents, and meet everyone at the hospital at 2:00 a.m for what we thought was the real deal. I am so glad we did, too, because we knew where to go and what to do when it was actually time to bring our little one into the world.
Get Some Sleep
Sleep is life. After your baby is born, you're going to miss sleep with every fiber of your exhausted being. So, yeah, get some sleep now while you can. Trust me.
Set Up Your Nursery
During your third trimester, you might feel urges to complete your nursery, re-organize your cabinets, and paint a mural on the wall. My advice is to do this together, as a couple. That way your partner can do the heavy lifting — literally. Not to mention bending, reaching, and twisting, because that might be extremely uncomfortable for you.
Go To A Movie
My husband and I love seeing movies in the theater, and we knew that if we didn't go to the movies before our baby was born, we wouldn't see a movie in an actual theater for a long, long time. So we made a point of seeing some films that we really wanted to see. You know, the kind of movies that don't involve singing animals or talking robots.
Take A Babymoon
I wasn't in a financial position to take a babymoon during my first two pregnancies, and guys, I totally didn't know what I was missing. If your doctor says it's OK for you to travel, I highly recommend taking a short trip prior to your baby's birth. And if, like me, your doctor suggests you stay close to home, I suggest an overnight stay at a hotel in town. My partner and I got a hotel room for New Year's Eve and it was magical.
Pack Your Bags
I highly advise that both you and your partner pack a hospital bag in preparation for the big day. If you don't, you will probably forget something essential (read: cell phone charger) or you'll be stuck buying toothpaste in the hospital gift shop. Make a checklist, pack your bag, and put it in the car or by the door.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.