Your Pregnancy Checklist: What To Expect Each Trimester
Pregnancy may be a 9-plus month wait, but there is no shortage of things to get done during that time! There are plenty of basics on the typical to-do list – eating healthy, movement, stocking up on baby clothes and gear – but there are some other important things to consider each trimester that can add up to a happier, healthier, less-stressful pregnancy.
These are 9 must-dos on your pregnancy checklist.
First Trimester Checklist
Take your prenatal vitamins. If you weren’t taking a prenatal vitamin in preparation for pregnancy, now’s the time to add it to your daily routine. It’s difficult to meet nutritional demands for both mom and baby during pregnancy, so this helps ensure everyone is getting what they need. Folate, a natural form of vitamin B9, is particularly important – while many vitamins include folic acid, the body doesn’t convert it as well as it does the natural form that is found in foods. It’s important for baby’s development and can reduce the risk of neural tube birth defects.
Find a healthcare provider. Even though most healthcare providers prefer to wait until a pregnancy is about 8 weeks along, it’s important to identify the provider you’ll be seeing throughout. Will you work with an OB/GYN? A midwife? Think about the type of care you’d like to receive and research local options that most align.
Prepare for your appointments. You’ll want to determine insurance coverage and options in-network, and before the first appointment take some time to review personal and family medical history, jot down questions, and identify the first day of your last period to help confirm a due date.
Second Trimester Checklist
Find fun ways to move. The second trimester is typically the most comfortable of the three, so if you don’t already fit it into your regular schedule now is the time to benefit from exercise. Not only will it help you maintain general fitness, but it’s great physical preparation for childbirth.
Review your paperwork. Confirm details about your insurance, 401k and retirement benefits, and be sure everything is up to date. It’s not the most fun item to check off the list, but it certainly feels good once it’s done! The second trimester is an ideal time to create a will if you don’t already have one in place, and it’s also an opportunity to review life insurance options.
Take a childbirth class. This is the time to begin preparing for the birth. While you’ve no doubt been mentally preparing for baby’s arrival since day one, it's a good idea to start creating a general birth plan. Childbirth classes are generally often in sessions and often fill up quickly, so it’s important to register in advance. You may also consider working with a doula, a woman who is trained to assist with childbirth and aftercare.
What happens at work? If you’re working out of the home, this is also a good opportunity to speak with HR about maternity leave details, as well as your manager and colleagues about coverage while you’re out.
Third Trimester Checklist
Do a home safety check. Revisit the basics, like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and update batteries, as well as a fire escape plan that includes your little one. Consider water and pool-safety as well as any other baby-proofing items that you’ll need in just a few short months.
Install the car seat. You won’t be able to leave the hospital without a safe place for baby to ride home. Be sure to allow time for an inspection, too – most fire departments will assist or check your installation as a courtesy.
Pre-register and pack for the hospital. Doing both of these in advance will make the delivery day that much easier. Get as much done as possible for the hospital: pre-register, confirm check-in protocol, any items they will provide for you, and any specific items you should bring. Then stock that bag with the necessities for you and baby, and you’ll be ready to go when it’s time!