Everything I’ve done this pregnancy has been with the intention of preparing myself for both my natural birth and postpartum (or “the fourth trimester”). For y’all’s quick reference, I’ve linked to each of the blog posts I wrote while pregnant with Baby Girl #2. Reading through the list, I can’t believe I’m writing this one now – THIRD TRIMESTER! It’s gone by so fast, but at the same time, I can hardly believe I’ll be meeting my new daughter so soon.
I know not every woman feels this way, but I truly love being pregnant. I love my big belly and feeling Baby Girl kick. This is such a beautiful phase of life and I’m trying to seize on every minute – whether it be cooking and freezing meals for postpartum, mentally and physically preparing for my natural birth, or just giving my body the rest it needs. Most recently though, my focus has been on soaking up every last moment that Temple is my only baby.
I want to thank each of y’all for all the love and support over these last several months. Each and every one of your comments and messages means the world to me – I’m so grateful! All that said, I wanted to consolidate a whole bunch of information I think other preggos (soon-to-be-preggos or brand-new mamas) may find helpful. Happy reading!
All My Pregnancy-Related Blog Post
- First Trimester Update
- Second Trimester Update
- Pregnancy Skincare Routine
- Baby Registry (For Baby 1 & 2)
- Breastfeeding Journey & Tips
- Birth Bag– from first pregnancy
- Temple’s Natural Birth Story
- Maternity Must-Haves
Added Supplements, Foods & Random Things for Third Trimester/Postpartum
- I continued following my tailored supplement plan created with my naturopath, Dr. Naumes (more on her below). She is constantly tweaking my plan to make sure it is optimal through both pregnancy and postpartum. Note: I will continue to take my prenatals after I have the baby and likely won’t stop until I am done breastfeeding.
- Placenta Encapsulation – I will have my placenta encapsulated through my birth center, and the finished product is ready within 2-3 days. Essentially, they will use my otherwise discarded placenta – full of amazing nutrients and benefits – to create pills that help with hormone balance, baby blues, milk supply, replenish depleted iron levels, reduce postpartum bleeding, and increase enegry! I did this with my firstborn, and still have a total “it can’t hurt” mentality about the whole thing!
- Incorporating Dates into my Diet – Starting at 36 weeks I will eat 6 dates per day. Mama Natural has a great blog post about the benefits and why you might want to add dates to your diet toward the end of pregnancy. Here is the link to that post!
- I love following this recipe for bacon-wrapped dates. I also love adding dates to smoothies.
- Third Trimester Tea – I typically shoot for 1 tea bag per day with warm water, fresh lemon juice, and sometimes even a dash of honey. Once I hit 36 weeks, I will up this to two tea bags daily.
- Sitting on a birth ball– Maintain good posture and begin sitting on your birth ball regularly. Avoid reclining in chairs or bed, since this encourages a posterior position for baby.
- The Fantastic Four – Use these four exercises to “spin” – or promote optimal positioning for – your babies. This helps get mom more comfortable.
- Borage Oil (2 oral and 2 vaginal) – Start this routine at 36 weeks to help soften my cervix and perineum.
- Begin Perineal Massage at 34-36 weeks – You can do this with any natural oil. I like using coconut or jojoba oil. This may be TMI for some, but I’m an open book – Caleb does this for me at night starting at 36 weeks. It’s hard to reach over a big pregnant belly and it’s something the husband can do to help prep for Baby. Let’s be honest, they don’t really mind, haha. I truly believes this his helps – in fact, I only had a tiny tear with Temple that they didn’t even need to stitch!
- At 36 weeks begin taking the Boiron Trio (Cimicifuga, Arnica, Caulophyllum) daily per the RDA – These are available at my birth center or you can find them at most natural grocery stores.
Practitioners I Am Seeing And Will continue to See Through Postpartum
- I mentioned all the people I see in “My Second Trimester Update,” but I’ll repeat them here along with the new classes I plan to add in the final weeks before baby.
- The following:
- Origins Midwives– Origins Birthing Center is where I will deliver and where I go for my prenatal visits. Now that I am in the third trimester I will see their midwives every two weeks instead of once a month. Starting at 36 weeks, I will go in weekly!
- Doula– You typically don’t meet with your doula very often before the actual birth. They are mostly reserved for the big day. I had an initial visit to meet Cheryl, and my husband and I will have one more to go over my birth plan, etc. My chiropractor, Nicole, used Cheryl as her midwife and recommended her. I loved her after our initial visit – I just know she’ll be the best support system when the big day comes! She offers different packages, but we went with the “Birth + One” package that’s listed on her site.
- Chiropractor– I (and my daughter) see my chiropractor, Nicole at Grounded In Wellness, weekly during pregnancy. I know this played a huge role in how great I felt during my first pregnancy, and why Temple and I ultimately had such a wonderful birth! I will have baby #2 adjusted the day after she is born. Going through that birth canal is no joke so these gentle adjustments are so important early on.
“After twenty weeks and on, I recommend my pregnant mamas come in weekly to be checked and adjusted. Frequent care, especially while pregnant, is very helpful to encourage proper motion and nervous system function during a time in which a pregnant woman’s body is going through many changes”- Dr. Nicole Jackson
- Prenatal Massage– I see Melissa at Lilies Healing Hands. I started going monthly at around 18 weeks and honestly, I wish I would have started earlier (around 12 weeks). Since 32 weeks, I have upped my visits to every two weeks. If I don’t deliver early, at 40 weeks I will likely get an induction massage with her. Thank you to my friend and fellow mama, Courtney Kahla, for this recommendation. I will see go here after baby for some postpartum care and have them do some infant massage on the new baby.
- Womb Massage– I have only seen Mayte three during my pregnancy (around 24 weeks, 33, and 35 weeks). I was getting regular side stitches/cramps at random, and my round ligaments were super tight in early pregnancy. I cannot recommend Mayte enough! WOW, I felt like a whole new woman when I left. She released all the tightness and my tummy was visibly larger after our appointment. I am scheduled to go back at 36 weeks, and then I likely won’t see her again until after baby unless she thinks I could use another session or if baby isn’t in an optimal position. I highly recommend her for anyone postpartum, TTC, or post-c-section. She can seriously work wonders on any and all women!! Check out her site to learn more about what she offers. Thanks again to Courtney Kahla for this referral, you rock!
- Lymphatic massage– Whether you’re pregnant or not, I recommend seeing Leslie. She is such a gem – a wealth of knowledge and just radiates love! I first went to her at the recommendation of my Naturopath when my daughter had an ear infection – she helped drain everything. This December our whole house caught a bug and I was so congested with a terrible cough. I saw Leslie twice over the span of 3 weeks and felt good as new! Now that I am in my third trimester, I see her every two weeks to keep swelling down and my lymphatic system operating smoothly. Her visits help you get your mind right for birth and whatever that experience might bring. And, you leave feeling more in tune with your baby. I plan to see her within a week of delivering to help get things moving and healing. I will also have her work on the baby. Leslie is also an amazing resource if you’re having issues breastfeeding (ex: Mastitis) – she practices out of her home in Plano (north of Dallas), so just her set up is a little different than most, but 100% worth it!
- Vive Training- I am still following my regular 3x per week workout regimen at Vive. I’ve been going to Jon for over 4 years and he is certified in Prenatal Training, so he always knows when I need to modify or avoid exercises. Working out is what makes me feel my best, and I think it plays a huge role in how good I’ve felt during this pregnancy. Plus, having strength and endurance is very important during your actual birth! I will continue to listen to my body and cut back on workouts in the coming weeks if that’s what it needs.
- Naturopath– I still see my naturopath, Dr. Naumes, for my monthly visit. I have been seeing her for over 3 years, and she keeps my supplements on track and makes sure I am doing everything I can to prepare for baby. She does routine blood work every few months to see how things are looking.
Additional Practitioners/Classes I’ve Added to prep for Birth and Baby
- Birth Boot Camp Refresher Course– We took the full Birth Boot Camp while pregnant with Temple, so this time I just need a refresher. If you are in DFW, I highly recommend taking the class with Jillian – she is such a joy and great instructor! Origins actually offers it at their birth center, but yoou don’t have to be under their care to attend.
- Origins Preparing For Baby Class– My birth center offers a class that they recommend all couples take before baby arrives. We are taking ours at the end of February. It covers topics like early labor vs active labor, what to bring to the birth center, postpartum care, doula support, your birth plan for the center and in the event of a transfer, and choosing your pediatrician.
- Private Yoga Stretching– I started doing private yoga at 31 weeks with Melissa. We are really focusing on opening up my hips for birth and deep stretching. She is amazing and will come to your home- highly recommend her!
- CPR Class– My husband and I took a course before Temple was born but want to refresh before Baby Lavey #2 gets here. We are doing a private class at the YMCA with our whole family this month!
- Birth Unscripted– I forgot to mention in my second-trimester blog post that we booked our birth videographer. They filmed Temple’s birth (see that here) and we loved having that special moment documented. I cannot recommend them enough!
Vaginal/Other Aftercare Birth Products
- Herbal Sitz Bath – I will use this to make homemade “padcicles.” Click the link for their “how to.”
- Herbal Perineal Spray
- Peri Bottle for post-pee – You won’t be able to wipe after birth for a while, so having a squirt bottle and filling it with room temp water is a super helpful alternative. My midwives gave me one to take home after having my first child.
- Depends – I lived in these those first few weeks after birth. I found them much comfier then adding pads to my underwear.
- After Ease
- Arnica – For soreness and aches.
Food Prep/Freezer Meals
- During the month of February I plan to meal prep and freeze a ton of food for the “fourth trimester,” aka postpartum. I want to have lots of snacks/meals readily available for that first month or so. I did not do this with my first child and really wished I had. You are RAVENOUS when breastfeeding and it was hard keeping a nourishing supply of food on-hand.
- Healthy snacks are just as important as meals given how hungry breastfeeding makes you. I plan to freeze muffins and stock up on some of my other favorite snacks and grab-and-go items before Baby.
- A lot of people highly recommend the book The First Forty Days for some great meals specifically designed to nourish mama and baby after birth. I bought this and plan to make a few recipes from the book but honestly the food is a little weird and calls for some ingredients I don’t typically cook with. Just a heads up if you plan to purchase.
- I will create a separate blog post with everything I prep over the next month. Plus, I will share everything on my Instagram stories, so keep an eye out!
Breastfeeding-Specific Aftercare Products
Check out my Breastfeeding blog post for all of my tips, recipes, etc.
- You will need Organic Brewer’s Yeast, Ground Flaxseed and Oats: these lactation boosting products are in almost every recipe out there. You will use them a ton!
- Miracle Milkookies– get these delivered to your home. They are so yummy and seriously help with your milk supply! Something fun you could send a new mama friend too! Use Code: madaleighblog for 30% off your first order!
- Earth Mama Nipple butter OR Calandula Oil- both are safe for newborn and nursing. I typically grabbed my calandula oil and felt it really helped with chapped nipples.
- Booby Tubes- great to freeze or heat.
- I highly recommend Legendary Milk. They use only 100% organic ingredients, and I have seen a significant improvement in my supply since taking them. They have several blends to choose from, so make sure to do your research to find what’s best for you. I took Liquid Gold and Pump Princess when BFing with my first. BONUS- I have a discount code for 15% off!! Use code MADA15 at checkout for 15% off any items.
- Breast Pads for leaking
- Lactation Consultant- I didn’t have one for Temple but it is good to have someone in mind that you can quickly call if you do need help in the breastfeeding department. My birth center has someone they can refer if I end up needing the support.
- Lympathic Massage- I plan to see Leslie (I mentioned her above) a week after birth for overall recovery. But, she also does amazing work on the breasts, especially if you struggle with Mastisis, oversupply, etc. She can really help get your supply moving and unclog ducts.
Prepare Birth Bag
- I will share a new birth bag blog post in the next week or two with everything we plan to bring to the birth center.
- I have this post that details what we took for Temple’s birth. I will say that I definitely over-packed that first go-round, but you get the idea!
- Keep in mind, if you’re having a hospital birth, some of the items won’t be necessary.
Familiarizing Yourself with Signs of Labor
- “Bloody Show” or losing your mucus plug- I lost my mucus plug the morning of the day I had Temple so this was a big sign for me!
- Contractions- make sure to download an app to track your contractions to know when you are in early labor vs active labor. There are tons of app options out there. I can’t even remember which one I used with Temple.
- Diarrhea- you often have frequent bowel movements or diarrhea in days leading up to birth.
- Water breaking-mine never broke with Temple but obviously this would be a huge sign that labor is coming haha!
- There are many other signs but this is just my reminder to talk to your care providers and make sure you know what to look for!
- Mama Natural has a great free download template you can fill out to give to your provider. I know I’m a VERY open book, but this is the one thing I’m going to keep private! But, you should definitely check out the template and get started on your own. I also am using a birth center so most of my values align with their regular birth plan procedures. If you are having a hospital birth then you will really want to make sure you are on the same page with her birth team/OBGYN. Remember, this is YOUR BIRTH and YOUR BABY! Don’t be bullied and follow your mama gut on what you believe is best! 🙂
- The main thing I have to consider is who will watch Temple when I go into labor. Luckily our families live close so I know I can call my mom or mother-in-law to come stay with her. Once sister is born, we’ll have her join us at the birth center!
- Sidenote: I will have a gift from baby sister for Temple so that she feels extra loved and special!
Choose a Pediatrician
- Make sure you are researching and choose a pediatrician before baby is here. For local mamas, we use Shine Pediatric and absolutely love them!
Leaning on Friends & Family
- This time around I want to ask for more help especially when it comes to bringing food over when they visit baby.
- My doula, Cheryl, will be there for me during the weeks after baby is born to help in any way she can.
- Midwives see you more often then a regular practitioner after baby is born. They typically see you and baby three times after the arrival to make sure mama, baby, and breastfeeding are going smoothly.
Make Sure Home is Ready for baby
- Carseats Installed and Checked– we used Maria with My Carseat Install to help us install and learn all about our specific car seats. She is a treasure trove of info and we learned sooo much! I cannot recommend this enough, as safety is obviously number one when it comes to our babies. I already have babies carseat installed for when I go in labor! Use code ‘madaleigh’ for 10% off her services.
- Make sure your nursery is ready
- Have freezer and fridge prepared
- I will have Nina Hayes Cleaning Company come deep clean my home before baby arrives. They can legit clean ANYTHING! Windows, ovens, you name it!
Books For Pregnancy/Postpartum
- Mama Natural Week-By-Week Guide. -My absolute favorite book during pregnancy!
- The Vaccine-Friendly Plan
- Real Food for Pregnancy
- Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding
- Ina May’s Guide to Child Birth
- Mama Glow
- The First Forty Days
- Well Adjusted Babies
Lastly, I just want to remind you that this is the time to have an extremely positive mindset about your birth. Envision a wonderful and healthy labor. Relax and take this time to look inward! REST, REST, REST! And get excited because you get to meet that perfect baby soon!!!!
I want to share something I wrote in my Natural Birth story blog post from my first born as a little reminder to all of us…
I choose to view birth as a beautiful gift instead of something to fear. I believe our culture has somewhat taught us to see it as this painful, horrible experience when it doesn’t have to be. The main thing we need to remember is that every woman has her own unique perception of what childbirth should be like. Let’s support and not judge each other. Birth is wildly unpredictable and doesn’t always go according to plan.
Truthfully, when I was pregnant with Temple and told people I have having a natural birth, I felt judged and often had women telling me I should “get the drugs” or “I was crazy for going natural.” I usually responded that this was what I wanted, and was only interested in positive thoughts. This usually shut people up quickly. It may sound harsh, but I was sick of everyone telling me how I should have a baby, or trying to fill my head with horror stories. This was MY birth plan, and if you didn’t support it, then you could kindly *SHUT UP.* ????
I hope this post helps you feel a little less anxious and more prepared for your babies arrival. You by no means need to be doing all the things I’ve mentioned, but it gives you some ideas of what may benefit you before the birth of your little one. I am always here to help in any way I can, so feel free to comment below with any questions, or if you have something you did in prep for your child! I love hearing how others prepare for baby!