Your Pregnancy Check List

1
Before You Get Pregnant

Couple together
Photo © Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Having a baby is an amazing journey. Though it can often be entered into without fully realizing that nine months really isn’t as long of time as you think it is when you’re contemplating it on the front end. So many moms-to-be tell me that they sort of wake up around 28 weeks and think, “Oh my! The baby will be here before you know it.”

Using this handy check list, you can help to add a smooth progression towards your goals of a healthy pregnancy and being ready for baby.

Many times, you don’t even really think about how much you’ll need to do prior to pregnancy to get ready. Most people think that it’s as simple as throwing away your birth control and jumping into bed. While that can certainly work, with a bit of planning and preparation you can give your baby-to-be the best chance by ensuring you and your partner are physically, mentally, emotionally and financially ready for a pregnancy. Here are some of the things to do before you get pregnant:

  • Preconceptional Health Check Up: Both you and your partner need to have a physical, specifically telling your practitioner that you want to get pregnant soon. Not only will this help you iron out any ongoing issues with chronic diseases like thyroid conditions, blood pressure, etc., but it will help you ensure that your reproductive organs are ready too.
  • Insurance Check Up: Don’t skip checking in with your insurance company. You may be surprised at what they will and won’t pay for in your maternity care. The good news is that with the Affordable Care Act many pregnancy related items (and many preconceptional) are free. That said, you will want to know what you’ll be expected to pay. Be sure to ask a lot of questions of your insurance company. Sometimes a change in plans may be in order.
  • Parenting Ideals: If you haven’t started talking about what you want from parenting and what you intend to put into it – now is the time. What mistakes did your parents make? What do you hope to carry on from your own childhood? Do you know where to turn for help or advice?
  • Classes: You might look into fertility classes. These classes are designed to help you in planning a pregnancy. You start by looking at figuring out when you ovulate and how to maximize the chances of conceiving. These might seem over the top but many families enjoy meeting with others on the same journey.
  • Act pregnant! Eat well, exercise and watch your intake of alcohol and drugs.
  • Start taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid.

2
First Month of Pregnancy

Positive Pregnancy Test
Photo © REW

This first month of pregnancy usually passes before you know it began, which is another reason why all of that pre-planning can really be helpful. This can help you prevent some of the mistakes that can happen, like drinking in very early pregnancy, forgetting prenatal vitamins etc.

So your check list this month includes:

  • Take a pregnancy test.

     

  • Share your good news with your family, friends and maybe even your boss. (This last part is very important if you have a job that would need to change in pregnancy because of your work. An example would be if you used chemicals that might harm your baby.)
  • Continue taking your prenatal vitamins.

     

  • Touring Hospitals and Birth Centers in your area.

     

  • Talking to various midwives and doctors to find the right one for you.

     

  • Starting a pregnancy blog or journal.

     

  • Take a few “before” pregnancy shots of your belly, before you know it – you’ll be showing!

     

  • Look for an early pregnancy class in your area.

3
Second Month of Pregnancy

Worried in Early Pregnancy
Photo © StockByte/Getty Images

The second month of pregnancy is usually fairly low key, unless you’re having medical issues. Your pregnancy might still be a secret from those around you, which can be fun and a little infuriating. You might find that this month, the pregnancy symptoms strike with a vengeance. Morning sickness, fatigue, frequent urination – all the lovely things that people might not have told you about can certainly be true. Though not having a lot of pregnancy symptoms, or even any at all, can still mean a healthy pregnancy.

  • Continue your prenatal vitamins, but consider switching if they make you sick or you have trouble with them. It’s a fairly common occurrence.
  • Make any last minute appointments or schedule tours to ask your final questions as you prepare for your first prenatal visit.
  • Try a new recipe out that is healthy and looks good to you.
  • If you’re still really sleepy, considering trying to turn in earlier in the evenings. Sometimes a brief nap in the afternoon might help too.
  • Don’t forget to snap a photo of your belly, even if you don’t see any changes yet.
  • Keep in mind that your due date is a guess, consider adding a couple of weeks to it when telling those who aren’t medically involved with your care, that can help prevent a lot of stress in the later part of pregnancy when everyone wants to know when the baby will come.
  • Take your early pregnancy class. Be sure to get some book recommendations.

4
Third Month of Pregnancy

Pregnant woman getting her blood drawn
Photo © Glow/Getty Images

The last month of the first trimester is here. By now, the pregnancy symptoms that were sort of cute last month have lost any charm they ever had. You are so done with the exhaustion and the nausea.

  • You will have another prenatal visit this month. Be sure to write your questions for your practitioner down before you go, that helps you remember to ask them.
  • Have you logged an entry into your pregnancy blog or journal? If not, don’t forget. Maybe include a photo of your baby bump?
  • Has exercise taken a back seat to pregnancy symptoms? Even walking can help alleviate some of the strain and yucky feelings associated with the first trimester. Try it!
  • Diet check – are you eating as well as you can given how you feel? What would help you?

5
Fourth Month of Pregnancy

Welcome to the second trimester. This is often called the honeymoon trimester because you often feel so much better than you did the first trimester. Here’s hoping that the case for you. You and baby are growing. It’s now possible that others are taking notice too.

 

  • If there are people you haven’t told yet, you’d better tell them before your belly does. (This is particularly true of bosses. They really hate being told by a co-worker.)

     

  • Speaking of work, have you check on maternity and paternity leave? What are your options? Do you need to save time at work or money for the leave?

     

  • Look for childbirth classes now. Waiting will mean you don’t get the class you want or the time you wanted it. These are too important to skip.

     

  • Consider bringing someone with you to your appointment this month. You will hear the baby’s heartbeat, which is always fun.

     

  • Start thinking about maternity clothes, even if you’re not needing them yet. You might still be wearing your looser fitting clothes, that’s okay. Get a shot of your belly sticking out over the top of your jeans – that’s better than a muffin.

     

  • Where is baby going to sleep? Talk to your partner, taking into consideration that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that the baby sleep in your room the first six months for safety reasons.

     

  • Start looking at the birth doulas in your area. Do you have a meet the doula night at a local hospital or store?

     

  • Schedule your mid-pregnancy ultrasound for fetal anomalies. Decide if you want to know if you’re having a girl or boy beforehand, most will tell you unless you specify otherwise.

6
Fifth Month of Pregnancy

3D Ultrasound 20 Weeks
Photo © C. McGarrigle

You are really pregnant. Can you feel a difference? Many moms say that between 16-20 weeks, they really notice a difference in feeling pregnant. Are you taking advantage of this feeling great time?

  • If you want to plan a pre-baby get away, try to do it before the end of the seventh month. This allows you to feel great and less worried.
  • If you haven’t tried yoga, it can be a great way to release tension and help you stretch without overdoing it.
  • What’s your go to snack to pack? Is it healthy? Consider fruit or nuts as quick pick me ups.
  • You should be starting your childbirth class soon. Do you need to do any pre-reading?
  • Interview a handful of doulas to find the right one.
  • How goes the blog or journal? Photos will help it tell your story, but don’t forget the mundane parts of life too, you really wish you could remember those later.
  • Have you talked to someone about a baby shower? Many moms have them in the eighth or ninth month.
  • Sometimes being pregnant is not great or fun and you might even find yourself feeling blue or depressed. It’s important to talk to your doctor or midwife about this feeling. There is help available.

7
Sixth Month of Pregnancy

Pregnant Woman Looking at her belly
Photo © Stockbyte/Getty Images

Feeling great and looking pregnant! Your baby is starting to really stick out now and others might even be able to feel your baby move. Do you enjoy sharing that feeling?

  • Don’t forget to record what others say as they first feel baby move in your pregnancy blog or journal.
  • If a baby shower isn’t the right thing for you, consider a Blessingway instead.
  • How is your childbirth class going?
  • Have you picked a pediatrician for your baby? Start interviewing them now, it’s a long term relationship.
  • If you haven’t ordered furniture for baby’s room and you want to – do it now. It often takes up to 12 weeks to get furniture in.
  • Have you decided if you’ll be returning to work? If yes, talk about your childcare options.

8
Seventh Month of Pregnancy

hands on ultrasound
Photo © G. McCreery

Welcome to the third trimester. You’re probably feel great and still liking your maternity clothes. That’s a good thing. Here’s your focus for this month:

  • Finalize your plans for your maternity and paternity leave. Start a binder for your replacement, put in everything they might need while you’re gone.
  • Have you signed up for or taken a breastfeeding class? This can be very helpful.
  • You probably started a birth plan in your childbirth class. Where is it? Do you need to finish it? Does it need signatures? Do you need to file it anywhere?
  • If you haven’t purchased a birth ball – do it! So wonderful to sit on. It can help you feel better and help baby assume the best posture yet.
  • Attend a breastfeeding group meeting.
  • Talk about hiring a postpartum doula to help out after the baby is born.

9
Eighth Month of Pregnancy

The mom in this pregnancy photo is 32 weeks pregnant with her first baby and it's a girl!
Photo © Jessica

  • If you’re having a home birth, this is usually when you’ll have your home visit. Have you ordered your birth kit?
  • Hand me down baby furniture is great! Just make sure you know it’s up to the most recent safety standards. Some things, like car seats can actually “expire.”
  • Get a breastfeeding book. This is helpful in the midnight hours when you have a question.
  • Interview postpartum doulas. Don’t forget to check references.
  • Have you decided on a color for the baby’s room, if yes, you’d better have someone else paint it.
  • Pack your labor bag. Don’t overpack.

10
Ninth Month of Pregnancy

36 weeks Pregnant - 3rd Pregnancy - Belly Gallery
Photo © S. Anderson

Welcome to the last month of pregnancy. There’s still a lot to do and not a lot of time yet. It’s an odd month because it feels never ending and yet so fast.

  • Consider turning off the wall on your Facebook account. This prevents others from announcing your baby’s arrival before you get a chance.
  • Plan on how you will celebrate your due date. A dinner date? A manicure?
  • Attend a breastfeeding group meeting.
  • Pamper yourself. A massage feels great, so does a pedicure. Consider a beauty school for an inexpensive treat.
  • Finalize your day care plans, if needed.
  • Get some great belly shots this last month, you might even consider some professional ones.
  • Have you decided if you’re going to do birth announcements? Are you prepped for this? Do that now so you’re not scrambling, like pre-addressing envelopes, gathering addresses, stamps, etc. Is your car seat installed? Is it installed correctly? Do you know how to use it?

11
Postpartum

Newborn Sucking Fingers
Photo © the24studio - Fotolia.com

You're are finally not pregnant! No matter what, the last nine months probably seem like a blur right now. Sure, part of it is sleep deprivation, but it's just also wonderful to have your baby.

  • Check in with your pediatrician for well check up times. It's a great way to stay connected with the drastic developmental changes.
  • Attend a breastfeeding group meeting with your baby, nothing like getting help while nursing!
  • Take a postpartum depression screening quiz. You never know when it’s going to be you and it’s hard to see when it is. There is help if you’re feeling badly.
  • Don't forget to bathe. No seriously. Have someone hold the baby while you shower if need be, but a bath will do you wonders.
  • Schedule your six week check up.
  • Don't forget to have your baby's newborn photos taken.

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