Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final trimester of your pregnancy. At this point, you may start to feel somewhat uncomfortable as your baby continues to grow and your body prepares for your little one’s arrival.

You may feel slightly overwhelmed at the thought of being a new mom and your growing “to do before baby is due” checklist. Tackling it over the next three months will help you feel less stressed. Learn what to expect during this final stretch of pregnancy to be prepared for the upcoming three months.

Check out our First and Second Trimester Checklists for more tips and tricks.

Month Seven

Changes in You

The average woman gains 16 to 22 pounds by this point. You can expect to gain about one pound per week for the rest of the pregnancy. It can be frustrating for some mom-to-be to see the numbers creep up on the scale, but as long as you are eating healthy and not gaining too much weight, know that it will come off and it’s best for your baby.

You may begin to get stretch marks on your stomach as your uterus and baby continue to grow. Your growing uterus is also responsible for your rib pain and an increase in indigestion.

Braxton-Hicks contractions normally begin around this time. These contractions are “practice contractions” that will help your body prepare for labor. During these contractions, your abdomen will tighten for a short period of time before relaxing. They can be slightly uncomfortable but as long as they aren’t regular, you don’t have anything to worry about.

Changes in Baby

Though much of your baby’s development has already occurred, he or she is still not quite ready to leave the womb. His or her hearing is completely developed, their muscles are strengthening (resulting in those sometimes-uncomfortable kicks) and he or she can now cry. Branches of his or lungs are continuing to develop, and your little one is now building up stores of fat.

What to Do

  • Start looking around for a pediatrician. The hospital will need to know the pediatrician you have selected for your baby in order for him or her to be checked out.
  • Call your insurance company to pre-authorize your hospital stay. If you haven’t already done so, inquire about a free breast pump.
  • Pre-register at the hospital.
  • Talk with your doctor or midwife about labor and delivery. Get information about false labor versus real labor and when your doctor wants you to go to the hospital.
  • Make a birth plan. This can include music you want to listen to, your desires for pain medication and who you want to be in the room when you deliver.

Month Eight

Changes in You

Your abdomen is continuing to expand, making you feel more and more uncomfortable. You may notice an increase in swelling in your feet and legs. If your swelling is accompanied by a severe headache and blurred vision, call your doctor immediately as you could be experiencing preeclampsia.

It’s important to be aware of the signs of premature labor. These include:

  • Menstrual-like cramping
  • Lower back pain
  • Pink or brown discharge
  • Amniotic fluid trickling out

If you experience premature labor, call your doctor immediately. He or she will want to check you out and may prescribe bed rest for the remainder of your pregnancy.

Changes in Baby

Your little one is becoming increasingly cramped inside of you, so he or she won’t be flipping around as much. You will still feel plenty of kicks, wiggles and turns, however. He or she can distinguish bright artificial light or sunlight through the uterine wall. Baby’s lungs are still developing and fat stores are still forming as he or she gets ready to arrive.

What to Do

  • Talk with your doctor about doing kick counts. Every day (around the same time each day) you will sit and relax and take note of how long it takes for your little one to have 10 different movements (kicks, rolls, jabs, etc.). Doing kick counts after you eat a light meal can help ensure your little one is alert and moving. Doing kick counts daily can help reassure you that your baby is doing just fine and can help alert your doctor to any problems.
  • Call your insurance company and inquire about what you will need to do to add your baby to your policy.
  • Finish up the nursery if you haven’t done so already. Before buying a crib, check out any recent recalls to make sure it’s safe.
  • Install the car seat base in your car and get it checked to ensure that it is correctly installed.
  • If you are planning on breast pumping after you return to work, talk with your employer about setting up a place to do so.

Month Nine

Changes in You

You probably don’t think that you could possibly get any bigger at this point, but your little one is still growing. Your breasts may begin leaking colostrum; wearing a firm bra and breast pads can help prevent any embarrassing leaks. You may experience your baby “dropping” lower in your pelvis as your body prepares for labor. This can make sitting more uncomfortable, but it should also make breathing a little bit easier.

Changes in Baby

Your baby’s lungs are finishing up their development, his or her skin is now pink and fat stores are continuing to form under the skin, which will help your baby stay warm after birth. Your baby is gaining about one pound per week now. He or she is most likely positioned heads-down in preparation for birth.

What to Do

  • Pack your hospital bag. Make sure to include socks, lip balm, phone chargers, an outfit for baby to go home in, light blankets and your insurance information.
  • Hopefully you are ready for baby by this point, so you can sit back and relax. If you have anything left on your “to do” list, don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help.
  • Stock up on some healthy freezer meals for those days when you and your partner are way too busy (or tired!) to cook.
  • Make a “nursing center.” Set up a comfortable chair with a footstool and a small table where you can stock water, snacks and a good book nearby. Your new little one will need to nurse (a lot!), so get ready for it now.
  • Look into lactation consultants to help you learn how to breastfeed.
  • Buy nursing bras and pads. It’s a good idea to start wearing your nursing bra now because it offers extra support over traditional bras.

At the end of the nine months, your little one could come any day. Only 10 percent of women are estimated to deliver before their due date, so if your due date has come and gone without baby arriving, you are in good company. Sit back and relax and try to enjoy the end of your pregnancy. Soon enough, you will be holding your brand-new baby in your arms.