If you’re on the countdown to your due date there are a few things you need to do in the final month of pregnancy.
Now, the main thing to remember is that the final weeks of pregnancy are exhausting and definitely not a time to overwhelm yourself with too many things to do.
But there are a few tasks and simple tips you can follow to help you get prepared for your baby’s arrival, so that you feel relaxed as possible on your due date.
There are also things you need to be doing to look after yourself and give yourself the best chance of an easy labour (not that there are any guarantees of course!).
So if you’re wondering whether you’ve thought of absolutely everything as you try to prepare for your baby’s arrival, check out this list to help you get organised!
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1. Pack your hospital bag
This is the number one most important item in your life right now! Apart from the car keys of course, haha!
If you haven’t done it already, then get that hospital bag packed. Remember, you’ll need spare clothes for you as well as the baby and lots of maternity pads.
Check out this full list of what you need in your hospital bag, as well as a handy guide on how to organise it.
2. Batch cook
The very last thing you will want to be doing after the baby arrives is cooking. Depending on what type of labour you have, you may still be recovering from stitches and so standing for a long period of time over the stove won’t be ideal.
In addition, both you and your partner will probably be exhausted from the lack of sleep and general overwhelm of becoming parents.
Filling your freezer with meals ahead of the birth is a great way to ensure you’re still eating nutritious meals with minimal effort.
Try meals such as shepherd’s pie, lasagne, casseroles, pasta sauces, and fish pie.
You can check out a full list of 30 freezer meal ideas over here.
3. Organise your medical notes
In the UK pregnant mamas keep their medical notes with them and present them at all midwife prenatal appointments.
Ahead of giving birth, make sure all of the paperwork is together and it’s with your hospital bag, so that you don’t forget to take it with you to the hospital.
4. Consider your birth plan
You don’t have to have a birth plan, but it’s certainly a good idea to write a few key points down or discuss them with your other half.
The main points to cover are:
- What pain relief you would or would not like during labour.
- Would you like a water birth.
- Whether you want to be administered a drug to speed up delivery of the placenta after birth.
- Whether your partner wants to cut the cord.
- If you want your baby to have a vitamin K injection.
Some people write epic birth plans and while sometimes it does all work out, there are also times when labour just doesn’t go to plan.
If you do have specific wishes, get them written down but remember that you may have to go with the flow when the time comes.
5. Discuss your plan to reach the hospital with your birthing partner
Chances are you will go into labour in the middle of the night, so traffic may not be an issue.
But if you do end up having to dodge heavy traffic to reach the hospital, discuss your route and plan with your birthing partner ahead of time.
6. Spend time with older children
If this isn’t your first baby then you’ll want to spend some quality time with your older child or children.
Once the baby comes, other kids will inevitably have to cope with less attention. Use this time to talk to your kids about what is going to happen and what they can expect.
Take them to their favourite parks, watch movies together and read books. You could go shopping for a gift for the baby, which would be a nice way for your kids to get used to the idea of a new family member.
Check out my post on introducing a toddler to a newborn sibling for more tips.
7. Tidy and organise the nursery
Although your baby will likely spend the first six months of their life sleeping in your bedroom, it’s a good idea to have the nursery ready.
This is a great space to keep their things, do nappy changes and play with them. As this will be where they sleep eventually, you’ll want your baby to be familiar with this room, and to make it fun for them.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get the nursery ready. If you have the space, a cot bed will last you longer as it can be converted into a toddler bed.
There are some brilliant IKEA nursery hacks on this post that are really cheap and easy to replicate.
8. Wash baby’s clothes
Some people like to wash their baby clothes before baby wears them. The theory is that you’re washing away any chemicals from the factory where the clothes were made.
I never bothered with this and both kids were fine, but of course you may feel differently. It’s a personal choice, so if you want to wash the clothes, do it ahead of time so you can get them all organised before the baby comes.
9. Have a date night
Spending quality time with your other half is essential.
Go out for a meal. It doesn’t have to be somewhere really expensive, but the point is that you get out and have a conversation with each other.
Once the baby comes, you will find your relationships may be challenged as you are both tired, overwhelmed and have your hands full.
Take time for each other now, and talk about how you’re going to work together after the baby arrives.
10. Stock up on household essentials
The last thing you will want to do is nip to the supermarket every day for loo roll and milk.
Make sure your house is well stocked with all of the key essentials such as:
- Loo roll
- Kitchen roll
- Washing detergent
- Fabric softener
- Cleaning products
11. Wash bottles
Whether you are planning to breast or bottle feed, there may be a time when you want to offer your baby a bottle of formula or expressed breast milk.
Get your bottles sterilised and washed ready for use. All bottles come with specific instructions on how to wash them before their first use. It often involves popping them into boiling water.
12. Buy a breast pump
If you plan to breastfeed, get a pump ahead of time. This one is my absolute number one breast pump recommendation. It lasted me through two babies and a lot of use.
13. Get some gentle exercise
Staying fit and getting out into the fresh air will help your body to prepare for labour.
Try gentle walks or swimming. Don’t push yourself too hard though and always rest when you feel that you need to.
14. Make sure you have all of the baby essentials
Some people suggest cotton wool and water is best for newborn baby skin when changing nappies. If you prefer this to wipes, then make sure you’ve got plenty of cotton wool balls.
15. Go to the cinema
Going to a movie is going to become difficult when you have a baby! Get to your local cinema in the final month of pregnancy and enjoy the freedom while you can!
16. Practice using baby products
This is particularly important with putting the car seat in the car and folding and unfolding the buggy.
Practice several times until you are confident. There’s nothing worse than having a screaming baby and not knowing how to get the car seat into the car.
17. Get your hair done
Treat yourself to a trip to the hair salon and get your hair trimmed. This will be low on your list of priorities once the baby has arrived.
18. Organise your kitchen
You’ll need to make space in your kitchen cupboards for the baby’s bottles and eventually plates and cups.
Do this ahead of time and reorganise your cupboards. You may need to do some decluttering of your old crockery, gadgets and pans to make space, but this is a great excuse to clear out stuff you aren’t using very often.
19. Research local baby groups
The early weeks after having a baby can be overwhelming and fellow mamas are one of your best ways of surviving the change.
Take a look at what groups are close to you and figure out which ones you may like to join once the baby comes. There are often free breastfeeding drop-in services, which are a good place to meet other mums.
20. Make arrangements with family about visiting
Everyone will want to meet the new arrival! But you may find it useful to plan ahead and be clear with family about how many visitors you can handle a day and when you will be up to receiving visitors.
You may want to keep the first week for immediate family only. If people are offering to come and stay with you, think about whether this is what you want and if it isn’t explain you appreciate the offer but you want to try and settle into motherhood on your own.
You may like to read my post about tips for handling visitors to a new baby.
21. Prepare for breastfeeding
Read up on breastfeeding as much as you can and watch YouTube videos of mamas in action.
Breastfeeding does not just magically happen for most people. It takes a lot of getting used to.
By being fully informed about how it may feel in the early weeks and how often your baby may need to feed, you can hit the ground running with no nasty surprises.
22. Celebrate your bump
Why not paint your bump and take some pictures. Now is a great time to celebrate your bump. Your child will love to look at the photos when they are older.
You can also make your bump more comfortable, and take the pressure off of your back and other supporting muscles, with kinesiology! Taping your pregnant belly with tape, more widely used to support sports injuries, can help to relieve pain and discomfort.
Here’s a graphic showing just some of the ways you can put the tape on your belly. Check out this guide from manufacturer Rock Tape which also includes back application and tips for using the tape to help swollen ankles.
23. Keep taking your prenatal vitamins
It’s important to keep taking prenatal vitamins now and once you’ve had your baby you may like to take a vitamin D supplement. Get a supply of vitamin D now, so that you don’t have to rush out to the shops after your baby is born.
24. Practice pelvic floor exercises
Doing some kegal exercises now can help to prepare your pelvic floor for giving birth.
You can find lots more tips on how to reduce the risk of tearing in labour over on this post.
25. Eat plenty of greens
Your diet is the best way of nourishing your baby while they are in the womb. Vitamin supplements can only do so much.
Make sure you are eating lots of fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced diet.
26. Drink lots of water
Staying hydrated is really important for yourself and your baby. Try taking a water bottle with you wherever you go so that you can remember to take sips frequently.
27. Get loads of rest
You probably don’t need to be told to do this one! You’re about to go through a very physically challenging experience, plus you’re probably feeling exhausted anyway thanks to the third trimester fatigue!
Put your feet up and try to relax as much as you can.
28. Pick out some good box sets
Once the baby arrives you will find yourself at home on the sofa more often than not.
Pick out some brilliant box sets to watch so that you have entertainment ready to go!
29. Fill out your baby book
A baby book is a lovely way to capture your journey from pregnancy through your baby’s first year.
Most baby books have sections for the pregnancy, so fill those out now and remember to have it somewhere close to hand so that you can record all of your baby’s milestones once they arrive.