Guest post contributed by Jill at Wellness Geeky
Congratulations on becoming pregnant! It may seem that the first trimester may be a little early to be preparing for your new baby, but there a lot of things you can do during your first trimester to help make things easier later on.
Here are a few ideas to start.
If you’re already part of the way through your first trimester and just now finding out you are pregnant, make sure to pay attention to the advice for the previous weeks as well.
Everything on this list is important.
First Trimester Checklist
The first week of your pregnancy is an excellent time to start taking prenatal vitamins if you haven’t already. Try to find some that include at least 500mcg a day of folic acid.
Not having enough folic acid during your pregnancy has been shown to increase the risk that your baby will have a neural tube defect.
In week two, you should begin working towards a healthier lifestyle. The prenatals will help you get the nutrients you need, but they are not a replacement for paying attention to what else goes into your body.
If you smoke, drink alcohol, or take recreational drugs, now is the time to quit. Another thing to consider is lowering your caffeine intake by cutting back on sodas, teas, and coffees that contain caffeine.
Your third week of pregnancy is an excellent time to start an exercise habit if you haven’t already.
Exercising while pregnant will help prepare you for the strain of carrying extra weight that will be starting very soon as your baby grows larger, as well as for the workout of delivering a baby.
Congratulations! As of week four, you are now a month into your pregnancy. It is about the time that your pregnancy test will start to show up positive.
If it hasn’t yet, give it another week – you could still be pregnant, but it may not be showing up on the test just yet. If you did already get a positive pregnancy test, now is the time to celebrate! Maybe schedule a fancy dinner to tell your partner.
Five weeks in is the right time to call your doctor. They may want to see you right away, or they may want to wait a little bit longer (some prefer to wait until the 8th week to see you).
If you are concerned about your baby having genetic diseases, now is also an excellent time to call a genetic counselor and make an appointment.
One good thing to do at the six-week mark is to start a pregnancy journal. Use it to write down how you’re feeling, your thoughts and cravings, letters to the baby, whatever works for you.
It can be a great help in remembering things you want to ask or tell the doctor, as well as something you can share with your child in the future.
In week seven, you should look into buying yourself a comfortable bra. You’ve probably grown a full cup size already, and you are going to need something supportive in the coming months. An investment in your comfort is always a good idea.
Week eight is around the time your obstetrician will want to confirm your pregnancy with an ultrasound. Seeing the first picture of your baby is very exciting.
If you don’t know your date of conception, the doctors will use this ultrasound to determine a due date. At this point, your baby can officially be called a fetus.
Nine weeks in, you’re nearly through your first trimester. Talk to your local hospitals this week about information for getting into childbirth classes.
Make sure you research to find which ones will suit your needs best before signing up.
Most people don’t start classes until the second trimester, but now is an excellent time to start signing up, so you don’t end up on a waiting list.
Your baby’s teeth start forming during your tenth week of pregnancy. Try to eat as many calcium-rich foods as you can this week to help them be their strongest. And it never hurts to have a glass of milk whenever you’re thirsty.
In the eleventh week of your pregnancy, your obstetrician may recommend that you get a nuchal translucency exam.
This procedure is most likely to be performed if you are over 30, have a history of the genetic disorder in your family, or you have expressed concern to your doctor.
The test will check your baby’s risk of having down syndrome, as well as significant congenital heart problems or other chromosomal abnormalities. It’s done by using ultrasound to look at your developing baby’s neck.
While it won’t diagnose your baby, it can give you an idea as to whether or not you want to do further testing.
During week twelve, sit down and make a budget for your baby. There are things you are going to need before the baby is born, such as diapers, wipes, clothes, and a car seat.
You need to make a plan as to how you will afford those things, as well as how you’re going to provide the baby once he or she is already here. Another good idea is to make a savings plan for your child’s future.
At thirteen weeks, you’re at the end of your first trimester. Congratulations! You’ve survived the worst of the morning sickness, and you’re probably starting to show a little.
Now is the perfect time to start buying the clothes you will wear for the rest of your pregnancy and after giving birth.
You may choose to buy maternity clothes, regular clothes in bigger sizes, or a combination of both. Figure out what you will be most comfortable in, and go for it!
Second Trimester Checklist
Now that you’re in your second trimester of pregnancy, it probably seems like everything is changing all at once. Your stomach is getting bigger, and maybe you’ve noticed that some of your other body parts are too.
Your life is changing as well – it’s time to prepare for your family to get bigger.
Here is a week by week guide to help you get ready.
Week fourteen of your pregnancy is the perfect time to plan a getaway for you and your partner – commonly referred to as a baby moon.
Your vacation should be scheduled for before your third trimester. Your doctor will most likely recommend for the safety of you and your baby that you do not travel during your third trimester.
Plus the further along you get in your pregnancy, the less likely you will feel like traveling, and once your baby arrives, you and your partner will almost definitely not have the time, energy, or money for any trips.
Now that you’ve reached your fifteenth week, you should consult your doctor about the multiple marker tests, a blood test that screens for defects such as neural tube defects, as well as chromosomal abnormalities.
This test is typically done within the fifteen to twenty week period of your pregnancy. Abnormal results in this test will call for further testing – it does not necessarily diagnose a defect.
In week sixteen, think about starting a series of pregnancy photos showcasing your growing belly. It would make an excellent photo album to show your child later on.
Make sure you include your partner in the pictures – this is his baby too, and he will enjoy it as well. If you’d like to do something a little more involved – consider a video diary.
In your seventeenth week of pregnancy, go ahead and let your employer know that you will be having a baby if you are working. Discuss all the aspects of maternity leave with them, such as whether it will be paid or unpaid, how much you will be getting, and who will be covering for you during your absence.
If you haven’t already, set a date for your fetal anatomy survey during your eighteenth week of pregnancy.
Your doctor will probably schedule it for sometime during the next two weeks. This ultrasound will not only tell you the sex of the baby, but it will also look for fetal anomalies. Be careful with the gender results through – their accuracy depends on many different things, such as the equipment used for the ultrasound, how old the baby is, the skill of the technician, and whether or not your baby decides to be cooperative.
At nineteen weeks gestation, your baby can hear your voice. Now is a perfect time to start talking to him or her. Let your partner join in too – babies in the womb can hear deeper sounds better.
Also, think about listening to music and other CDs now that your baby can hear. One thing to consider is the BabyPlus Prenatal Education System.
This system contains audio lessons for your unborn baby that are based on the sound of the mother’s heartbeat, and which have been shown to make infants sleep better, nurse better, be more alert and responsive, and have improved school readiness later in life.
You’ve reached twenty weeks – your pregnancy is halfway over! Use this time to start thinking of baby names.
Even if you aren’t one hundred percent sure of the gender yet, you can go ahead and make a list each for boys and girls to start narrowing down and finding your favorites.
At week twenty one, start reading up on infant care. Anything that comes to mind that you don’t already know make sure you look it up now.
Your due date may seem far away still, but you’ll find there are a lot of things you need to know, and once your baby is born you won’t be able to see much time to read about what you’ll already be doing.
Twenty-two weeks into your pregnancy, you should consider signing up for childbirth education classes. You want to make sure you’ll be able to complete the courses before your thirty-sixth week of pregnancy, and they can fill up fast.
While you’re at it, take a tour of the birthing center or hospital you plan on using, and make sure it’s the right choice for you and your partner – you both want to be comfortable there.
You may have noticed some swelling in your fingers and toes now that you’ve reached your twenty-third week of pregnancy.
Even if you haven’t, check your jewelry – including toe rings, wedding bands, and bracelets – to make sure they aren’t getting too tight.
Creating a baby registry is fun and having other purchase essential baby items can reduce the cost of preparing for your baby.
During your twenty-fourth week of pregnancy, get started on it. Don’t go for cute though – make sure you research different products and brands to find what is best for you.
In week twenty five, you should be getting the nursery ready. Let other people take care of painting and refinishing furniture (those fumes aren’t right for you and your baby!), make it your job to shop for furniture and accessories.
Around week twenty-six, you will be offered a glucose screening. Seriously consider having it done – gestational diabetes can be severe, and cause health problems for both you and your baby if it isn’t treated correctly.
This week, do something to treat yourself.
You’ve made it twenty-seven weeks so far – you deserve it! Find something you will enjoy, whether it’s a manicure and pedicure, a professional pregnancy massage, or buying a new maternity outfit and having pictures taken.
Twenty-eight weeks is the end of your second trimester. Your midwife or doctor will want to start seeing you more frequently now, so plan for appointments every two or three weeks.
They want to make sure everything is going right as you enter the end of your pregnancy.
Third Trimester Checklist
You’re almost there! Only approximately twelve or so weeks until your newborn will be making his or her appearance.
Here is a week by week guide to the essential things you need to focus on during these last weeks of your pregnancy.
Try to follow along and check these things off of your to-do list.
In week twenty-nine, start looking into childcare. You may already have a friend or family member in mind to help you with taking care of your baby when you plan to return to work. If so, talk to them now and discuss specifics.
If not, you need to shop for a daycare.
Many places that offer childcare have waiting lists, so make sure to get on them as soon as possible. You may also be considering getting a nanny – now as an excellent time to start the interview process if so.
You need to make sure that whatever you choose, both you and your partner are entirely comfortable with it.
Your childbirth classes should be starting around week thirty, and set to end around week thirty-six. Make sure you’re attending and learning all you can.
Also, call your health insurance company and let them know about your due date.
They may have requirements or things you need to do to get your child added to your policy.
Week thirty one is an excellent time to have your baby shower. It will still give you time to shop for anything you still need to buy after you’ve received your gifts. And don’t forget to have fun!
In week thirty-two, it’s time to start thinking about your hospital bag.
Start shopping now for anything you may need and don’t already have, things such as – clothes for the baby to come home in, a nightgown and nursing bra for you, and a car seat.
While you’re at it, pick up anything else you may need for the first few weeks at home with your baby and remember to stock up on plenty of diapers and wipes.
Go ahead and interview doulas or labor coaches in week thirty-three. They’ll book up quickly, so once you’ve found one you like, let them know as soon as possible.
Also, look for baby nurses, and lactation specialists, and make sure you know which ones of your friends and family you can call when you need help.
Now that you’re in week thirty-four, you should choose a pediatrician. You will need one very shortly after birth, so you need to find someone you are comfortable with now. Go ahead and look into cord blood banking options as well
Start your baby proofing in week thirty-five. Make sure your home has smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in every room and set your water heater to never go above 120° F max.
In week thirty-six, pack your bag for the hospital. Thirty-seven weeks is considered to be a term, so make sure you’re prepared.
Around this time your doctor will again start seeing you more frequently, so expect appointments every week or every other week.
Also, be prepared for a group B strep test. Since it can affect the baby, it’s essential to find out if you will need antibiotics during your labor to treat it.
Think about cooking some food and putting it in the freezer during your thirty-seventh week of pregnancy.
You aren’t going to have much time to cook after the baby is born so that it will be a lifesaver during those first few weeks.
Go ahead and make other preparations for bringing your baby home. Make sure your car seat is installed, and wash all the baby clothes and get them put away.
In week thirty-eight, start looking into breastfeeding techniques if you plan to breastfeed your baby.
Try and find some books on breastfeeding; they will be great to have if you need to look something up later on. Look into a local group as well, so you’re prepared
Stock up on nursing pads and bras.
Start your maternity leave in week thirty-nine if you haven’t already. Make sure you’re watching for signs of labor, such as contractions or your water breaking.
Don’t get upset if they aren’t coming yet; you still have another week to go.
You’ve officially reached forty weeks. You aren’t going to be pregnant for much longer, so try to enjoy it while it lasts.
And remember when it’s all over; you’ll get to hold your newborn baby in your arms.
I’m Julie, a former cloth diaper retailer who discovered a passion for the industry. Now, instead of selling cloth diapers, I advocate them and promote small businesses I love who sell and manufacture them.
I’m the wife of a fireman and mother of three. I have a 13yr old daughter and identical twin sons who are 10yrs old.