Ready to dive into a list of third trimester must haves. You’re in the right place! Because mama, you did it!
You made it to the third trimester of pregnancy.
But right now, you are IN it. And by that, I mean, the often very uncomfortable third trimester. Things are getting, well, big. The pressure is on, the joints are feeling it, and sleeping might soon feel impossible.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to help. We’ve compiled a list of third trimester must haves that really will help you feel more comfortable as you ride out these final three months!
These items help address the physical discomforts as well as some of the anxiety or sense of unknown you may be experiencing about birth.
Let’s dive right in and bring on the relief!
- 1. Comfy underwear and bras
- 2. A heating pad or hot water bottle
- 3. Hemorrhoid relief
- 4. A pregnancy support belt/band
- 5. Prenatal fitness, yoga, or other movement
- 6. Compression socks
- 7. A pregnancy pillow
- 8. Maternity clothes you feel good in
- 9. Chiropractic care
- 10. Heartburn relief
- 11. A giant, insulated water bottle
- 12. A birthing ball
- 13. Prenatal massage
- 14. Supplies to help encourage spontaneous labor
- 15. A well-packed hospital bag
- 16. Education to ease your mind as you prepare for birth
- You’re gonna rock the third trimester, mama!
1. Comfy underwear and bras
We’re kicking off this list of third trimester must haves with some proper undergarments! If you’re still rocking your pre-pregnancy underwear and bras, you deserve better. And your boobs and waist will thank you for the relief.
I dragged my feet on this (especially the undies), but once I FINALLY bought some maternity underwear my life was changed! And as for the bras, if you plan to breastfeed you’re going to need some nursing bras anyways, so why not invest now? Most are SUPER comfortable and designed for maternity/nursing.
Here are a few of my personal top picks, but honestly you can’t go wrong here! Any maternity option is going to be better than your pre-pregnancy options.
- Motherhood Maternity wide waistband maternity underwear – so freaking comfortable, and you can fold them over, or just wear them up
- Under the bump, criss-cross style underwear – another great option
For me – a good maternity bra doesn’t have underwire but is still SUPER supportive. It’s gotta be soft and good quality, and from a nursing standpoint, I want the boob clips to work really well.
Kindred Bravely and Larken deliver on all of these, literally across their entire lines! I’ve tried prettttty much every model, you could call me a super fan 😉
2. A heating pad or hot water bottle
It’s no secret that the third trimester is full of discomforts. And achy joints are definitely at the top of that list for a lot of mamas. Whether it’s your low back, outer hips, hip flexors, knees, or anywhere else, a heating pad or hot water bottle can actually go a long way!
I just about lived with a heating pad on my lower back every night towards the end of my pregnancy. And as long as you don’t keep the heat directly on your abdomen it is totally safe and okay to use heat therapy.
Pro tip: This is a great addition to your hospital bag, too – especially in the event of back labor!
3. Hemorrhoid relief
Yuck. Hemorrhoids are the worst. And unfortunately, they’re very common during the third trimester, and especially after birth. So it’s a good idea to have this stuff on hand – because if you don’t have them yet – you will eventually.
To get relief from the itching, burning and swelling, and it help them heal, here’s what you need to have on hand:
- Motherlove Rhoid Balm: I haven’t personally used this, but I have used a lot of other Motherlove products and they’ve never disappointed! This is well-reviewed and looks like a wonderful natural alternative to relieve itch and pain
- Motherlove Sitz Spray: This is great to spray on after you use the bathroom for a little bit of cooling relief. Be sure to remove the straw so you can spray it upside down
- A peri-bottle if it really hurts to wipe: This is a postpartum essential, but can come in handy in the third trimester if your hemorrhoids are already really painful
- Stool softeners: This one doubles for constipation issues as well, which often go hand in hand with hemorrhoids
Bonus Tip: All of these products, and a few more, are part of my list of postpartum essentials, so it really does make sense to grab them now because hemorrhoids are (sadly) in your future if they haven’t happened yet!
4. A pregnancy support belt/band
Okay, pregnancy supports bands don’t get enough attention, because these can really help you if you’re suffering from pregnancy pelvic pain! Especially if you have diagnosed symphysis pubis dysfunction.
It’s also helpful for sciatica pain (pain that targets the back, hip, and outer side legs), and other hip and back pain. This is because it works relieves pressure on the abdomen, lower back, hips and pelvis while also improving posture.
They are great to use when you know you will be on your feet for a while or want to do something a little more active than usual. But it’s important not to wear it for more than 2-3 hours a day because it can lead to overdependence.
5. Prenatal fitness, yoga, or other movement
Adding some movement or low-impact fitness to your routine can help with so many of your third trimester discomforts. And it will help get you ready for birth!
Regular movement can relieve aches and pains, give you a boost of energy, and help your overall mood. Beyond the immediate benefits, prenatal fitness has been linked in research studies to shorter push times, and fewer instances of interventions during birth.
As long as you choose an activity that is low impact, and you slowly work your way up, it’s never too late to start! Even adding a regular, brisk walk to your day can help SO much. Prenatal yoga is another wonderful option.
6. Compression socks
Swelling is a very common third-trimester symptom, especially in the ankles and feet. This is because of the extra fluid in our bodies during pregnancy. The fluid makes its way down to your lower extremities, and then it basically has a harder time making its way back up because of the increased overall volume.
Some things you can do to help with the swelling are:
- Prop your feet up while you’re sitting to promote blood flow
- Take stretching and movement breaks when you’re sitting for a long time
- Along periods of standing
- Stay well hydrated (I know this feels counterintuitive, but it helps!)
- Exercise and movement, especially swimming, can promote circulation
And lastly…get yourself a pair of compression socks! I know they might not be the most fashionable, but compression socks really help to prevent swelling and promote circulation/blood flow. If you have a job where standing is necessary (like me, a nurse!), then these are a definite must-have.
Note: A sudden increase in swelling, especially in the hands and face, and anytime that swelling is accompanied by severe headache, blurred vision, and/or right-sided pain could be signs of the serious pregnancy complication pre-eclampsia. It’s very important to call your provider!
7. A pregnancy pillow
All right, so this third trimester must-have directly addresses the issue of insomnia and the difficulty of getting comfortable at night as your belly grows.
Sleeping in the third trimester is tough, but a pregnancy pillow can help make it a little more tolerable. So if you haven’t invested in one yet, I highly recommend it! They’re great for use during the day too to create low back support while you’re seated, or if you’re sitting up in bed reading or scrolling.
As a bonus tip, I want to recommend the idea of meditation! I never thought of myself as the meditating type, but using a guided meditation app during pregnancy helped SO much with falling asleep. I personally used the Oak Meditation and Breathing App, but a lot of you guys have told me that the Expectful App is wonderful and tailored specifically to pregnancy.
8. Maternity clothes you feel good in
Hopefully, by now, you have a few functional pieces of maternity clothes. It’s not so much about quantity as it is about building a wardrobe that you can easily mix and match, dress up and down, and accessorize to make it feel like you’ve got a bunch of different outfit options.
Here’s how to build that:
- A few pairs of comfortable maternity leggings
- A pair of maternity jeans (Levi’s are SO cute)
- A few different solid-colored maternity T-shirts or Long sleeves
- A couple of maternity tunics/dresses depending on the season
- A few pairs of comfy maternity/nursing friendly loungewear (Kindred Bravely is THE BEST for this!)
And really, that’s it! Throw over non-maternity cardigans, scarves, and light jackets to switch up the look. Different necklaces, earrings, or other accessories also go a long way in transforming a look.
Oh, and don’t forget a comfortable, supportive pair of shoes, too 😊
In addition to building a basic, budget-friendly wardrobe, I do like to encourage mamas to get a few maternity pieces that are fun and make them feel pretty! For me that was some nice maternity dresses, but that might look different for you.
9. Chiropractic care
Okay, so this is obviously not something you can go order right now, but Chiropractic care by a practitioner that’s certified to work on women during pregnancy can provide SO much relief. They are masters at reliving things like sciatica pain, low back pain, and even helping to encourage baby into an optimal position.
Towards the very end of your pregnancy, a Chiropractor can even help get labor going spontaneously! I didn’t use a prenatal chiropractor during my first pregnancy but was so glad I tried it the second time around. I highly recommend trying it out! Usually, your OB or Midwife can recommend a good chiropractor in your area.
10. Heartburn relief
Pregnancy heartburn is no joke, and it can be hard to find relief. This is because during pregnancy the hormone Relaxin that is surging in your body causes the opening between your esophagus and stomach lining to be – yep, you guessed it – extra relaxed, hah. This makes heartburn so much more common and prevalent.
It also means traditional heartburn remedies can help, but they can’t fix that inherent issue. Nevertheless, I do recommend using them, because they certainly do help a little. Tums is generally considered safe for pregnancy, and for a more natural alternative, I recommend chewable papaya enzyme tablets.
As far as tricks of the trade, smaller more frequent meals, and separating drinking beverages from eating can really help. Basically, anything to prevent your stomach from being overstuffed, and more likely for heartburn to occur.
11. A giant, insulated water bottle
Staying hydrated during pregnancy is super important. This is because water is essential to transporting nutrients throughout our body and ensuring that baby gets what they need as they grow and develop.
What’s more is that hydration is what’s going to make sure you have the appropriate levels of amniotic fluid for baby! And it helps to adequately flush toxins out of your system through your kidneys. Lastly, avoiding dehydration can keep Braxton Hicks contractions at bay.
During pregnancy, it’s recommended to drink to thirst! But usually, that means a slight increase from normal, at around 10 8oz. glasses of water per day.
Make hitting that goal easier with a giant, insulated water bottle that’s going to keep your water cold and refreshing!
12. A birthing ball
I couldn’t do a list of third-trimester must-haves without mentioning a birth ball! A birthing ball, aka an exercise ball that’s put to use during pregnancy and birth, has SO many uses during pregnancy. It can relieve aches and pains, and be used in various ways to get baby into the right position for birth.
Check out this reel I did with ideas for how to use YOUR birthing ball during pregnancy.
13. Prenatal massage
Girl, every single mama deserves a prenatal massage at some point during their pregnancy. It is seriously so relaxing and helps with all of those aches and pains immensely. I highly encourage you treat yourself, or ask someone else to treat you 😉
14. Supplies to help encourage spontaneous labor
When it comes to birth, whenever possible (and safe!) we want to encourage our bodies to go into labor spontaneously, when they are ready. Often, this is left up to chance, but I want to educate you on the fact that there is SO much you can do to help encourage spontaneous labor (and possibly avoid an induction).
Spontaneous labor comes with a ton of benefits including:
- Lower rates of C-sections
- Lower rates of labor interventions (epidurals, labor augmentation, use of forceps)
- Shorter hospital stays after birth
So, what can you do? Actually, a lot!
- Eating 6 Medjool dates per day starting in week 36/37 has been shown to help ripen the cervix.
- Drinking red raspberry leaf tea in the third trimester (as long as you don’t experience cramping) has also been associated with spontaneous labor and other benefits
- Daily stretching and movements like squats and lunges are great for baby’s position which plays a big role in spontaneous labor, too
15. A well-packed hospital bag
Another must for the third trimester is a well-packed hospital bag! This will look different depending on if you’re having a vaginal birth or C-section birth. So I’ve got special lists for each of you. Check them out here:
16. Education to ease your mind as you prepare for birth
This last item is meant to address some of the mental things that you might be experiencing as your due date get closer. After over 6 six years of working as a labor and delivery nurse, as well as over in the MLN Instagram community, I realized that MOST women have some sense of fear, anxiety, or lack of control surrounding their birth.
And that is a terrible feeling to have before one of the biggest days of your life! We realized that SO much of that is rooted in the unknown. Of course you are going to feel anxious, because you have no idea what to expect – and that’s true even if it’s not your first!
Where to find it?
Honestly, the best thing you can do to address those feelings is getting as educated as possible about birth. Read as much as you can, connect with me over on Instagram, listen to pregnancy podcasts, and above all take a birth class!
We offer three different versions of our birth class, Birth It Up: The Natural Series for mamas that want to have an unmedicated birth, and Birth It Up: The Epidural Series for mamas that know they want to get an epidural, and Birth It Up: The C-Section Series for mamas with scheduled C-sections on the horizon.
Related: Are Birth Classes Really Necessary?
You’re gonna rock the third trimester, mama!
With the essentials on this list and a positive mindset, you are going to rock the third trimester!!
And be sure to grab our totally FREE third-trimester printable pack below for even more support as you prepare for birth.
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