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"What preparations should be made by a pregnant woman's third trimester?"


I am about to enter my third trimester and want to know how I should prepare mentally and physically to deliver this baby.


The best person with whom to discuss preparation for labor and delivery is your OB/GYN. He or she can answer specific questions about the hospital where you will be delivering your baby as well as suggest additional resources where you can develop the support you will need for what is without doubt a significant life event. Your doctor can go over the physical preparation for labor with regard to laboratory testing, and he or she can also talk with you about options such as an epidural for the actual birth itself.

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Some women choose to have epidural anesthesia and others do not. This is a very personal choice, but it is important to know the risks and benefits of both options so you can make the choice that is right for you. At this point in their pregnancies, some women also find that they are having significant muscle/joint pain as a result of the changes in their bodies. If this is an issue for you, your OB can also refer you to other specialists (rehab physicians or physical therapists) who can deal with treating musculoskeletal pain in pregnancy. Finally, with regard to the mental support for childbirth, many hospitals will offer classes for pregnant women and their partners to learn more about the process and what kind of support partners can offer. There are also programs that can help connect women with doulas, an individual who is present to support the laboring mother during the birth. Your physician and hospital should be able to give you more resources about these options.

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