Pregnancy Checklist: A Month-By-Month Guide For Expecting Moms
Expecting a baby is exciting, overwhelming, and everything in-between! There’s so much to do before your little one makes their big debut. If you’re feeling the pressure, having a pregnancy checklist can help.
A month-by-month to-do list helps you think of things that might not have occurred to you before and ensures that you take care of the necessities. And we have just the thing!
But before we get to the Newton Baby pregnancy checklist, we want to give a shout-out to those of you who aren’t pregnant yet but are trying to conceive! What should you focus on right now?
What To Do When You’re Trying To Conceive
Sometimes pregnancy is a wonderful surprise! Other times, you’ve been planning and hoping to get pregnant for quite a while.
If you’re actively trying to conceive, your prenatal care can (and should) start now! Here are a few ways to get ready and prepare your body.
Take A Prenatal Vitamin
This will give you the extra nutrients you’ll need before you become pregnant. Folic acid is especially important as it’s thought to prevent birth defects.
Go To Your Doctor And Dentist
You’ll want to make sure everything’s shipshape as you prepare yourself for a pregnancy journey, including being up-to-date on immunizations like MMR and Tetanus.
Look Into Insurance Expenses
If you don’t have maternity insurance, check with your local Health Department to see what resources are available. Also, create a budget for prenatal care and baby expenses. It’s never too early to start saving.
Know Your Family History
This is a good time to talk to relatives and get a handle on your family history. It’s best to know what you should be looking out for, like allergies or other genetic conditions.
Kick Unhealthy Habits
Put a stop to unhealthy habits, like smoking and drug use. Smoking can reduce fertility, and even secondhand smoke can affect your reproductive system. Make sure that your home environment is completely smoke-free.
Cut Down On Alcohol And Caffeine
Alcohol can affect hormones and ovulation, and large amounts of caffeine have been linked to increased miscarriages and low birth weight.
Eat Healthy, Balanced Meals
According to the National Institute of Health, diets high in unsaturated fats, whole grains, vegetables, and fish are associated with improved fertility, not only for you but for your partner as well.
Studies show that exercise actually improves fertility. You may want to look into local pilates, barre, or yoga classes, all of which build strength, balance, endurance, and muscle tone!
Check On State Family Leave
If you’re self-employed, check your state law to see if you’re covered by a family leave program. If not, look into getting a private short-term disability for pregnancy policy. Short-term disability insurance provides income protection for up to six months.
Once you do conceive, it’s game on! Here’s the pregnancy checklist you need to stay organized, healthy, and ready to welcome your baby into your home.
Month-By-Month Pregnancy Checklist
First Trimester Pregnancy Checklist
Month One (Weeks 1-4)
Your due date is calculated from the first day of your last period, which means that during weeks one through four of pregnancy, you may not even know you’re pregnant!
There’s nothing on the pregnancy checklist that you need to do during this month. If you’re actively trying to get pregnant or think you might be, start on the list we mentioned above!
Month Two (Weeks 5-8)
Take A Home Pregnancy Test
You can take a home pregnancy test on the first day after your missed period. If you’re doubtful about the results, take another test a week later. If you want to be extra sure, ask for a confirming blood test at your doctor’s office.
Tell Your Partner The Exciting News
No matter how you do it, sharing your pregnancy test results with your partner is always a special time.
Start A Journal
A journal of your pregnancy experience will be a wonderful keepsake later.
Research And Choose An OB-GYN, Family Practitioner, Or Midwife
Talk to friends and family about the pros and cons, and see if anyone has recommendations. Then, make an appointment for when you’re eight or nine weeks pregnant.
Check On Your Finances
Look over your budget and start saving if you haven’t already.
Check Your Health Insurance Coverage
Before you go to your first doctor’s appointment, check to see what your health insurance covers.
Prepare For Morning Sickness
You can never be too prepared when it comes to morning sickness! Stock up on ginger ale, saltines, and Gatorade. You also want to make sure you get plenty of rest and eat small frequent meals of plain foods that are high in carbohydrates and low in fats.
As we mentioned above, if you’re a smoker, kick that habit to the curb ASAP. Smoking can cause tissue damage in baby’s lungs and brain and has also been linked to miscarriage.
Stop Drinking Alcohol
Say goodbye to margaritas and other alcohol for the next several months.
Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
Whether it’s coffee, tea, or sodas, limit how much caffeine you’re drinking daily.
Remove Other Hazardous Foods
Remove other foods from your diet, including unpasteurized milk and cheeses, as well as undercooked or raw meat, fish, and seafood (sorry sushi!). Talk to your doctor about other adjustments they suggest.
Start eating a healthy pregnancy diet. You’re eating for two now, so focus on getting enough folate and folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, protein, and iron.
Rest As Much As You Can
Pregnancy fatigue is no joke, especially in the first trimester!
Ask About Supplements
Ask your doctor if the medications or supplements you’re taking are safe for pregnancy.
Month Three (Weeks 9-12)
Shop For New Bras
You may find that your breasts are rapidly changing in shape and size! Buy a couple of new bras, knowing you might do so again in a few months.
Talk To Your Partner About Finances
Sit down with your partner and put your heads together about finances. Plan for prenatal care costs as well as delivery (and beyond!). Having a baby costs a pretty penny.
Decide How You’ll Announce Your Pregnancy
It’s fun to announce your pregnancy to friends and family. You can be straightforward and matter-of-fact, or you could get creative and have fun with it, like sending grandma and grandpa a onesie or a picture of the sonogram.
Ask About Prenatal Testing
Ask your doctor about prenatal testing and decide what you want done. This month your doctor will suggest a first-trimester screening that includes fetal ultrasound and maternal blood testing in order to assess the risk of birth defects. If you do a nuchal translucency screening (which tests for chromosomal abnormalities), you’ll have it around week 10 or 12.
Find An Exercise Routine
Get into a consistent exercise routine that’s safe for pregnant women. Generally, low-impact exercises are fine, although more vigorous exercise should be safe as well if you had been active before. Just skip any contact sports, skydiving, and scuba diving for now.
Research Baby Products
It’s never too early to start researching baby products and nursery furniture. An early start is especially important when it comes to essential pieces, like your baby’s crib and crib mattress. If you have an extra-tiny space, check out our ideas for setting up a nursery in a small room here.
Second Trimester Pregnancy Checklist
Month Four (Weeks 13-17)
Tell Your Boss
If you’re working, let your boss know that you’re expecting and find out what maternity or paternity leave involves. Be proactive in helping to ensure coverage during your leave and keep detailed notes that will help others pick up where you left off.
Look Into Maternity Clothes
You’re probably starting to develop a little bump! Buy (or borrow) maternity clothes.
Start A Registry
Start creating a registry with all the baby essentials so it’ll be ready to go when you have your first baby shower. Include baby items that serve more than one purpose, like organic swaddle blankets or Newton Baby’s Travel Crib & Play Yard.
Schedule Your 20-Week Ultrasound
Your doctor will do an anatomy scan, taking measurements and images of baby’s face, brain, spine, heart, kidneys, chest, stomach, and more to make sure the baby is developing appropriately.
This is when you’ll have to decide if you want to know the gender of your baby (your 20-week ultrasound is usually when you can find out if you’re carrying a boy or girl).
Plan A Gender Reveal Party
If you decide to find out the gender before delivery, it’s time to plan a gender reveal party.
You could plan a pink or blue cupcake reveal or even tell the news with colored confetti.
It’s OK if you don’t want to know. Many love the surprise (as there are no bad answers).
Transition To Side Sleeping
This may be hard, but transition to sleeping on your side, and don’t stop until you have your baby. Sleeping on your left side increases the flow of blood and nutrients to your placenta and baby. It also helps cut down on swelling.
Start Doing Kegel Exercises
These exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and support the uterus, bladder, rectum, and small intestine.
Month Five (Weeks 18-22)
Go To Your 20-Week Ultrasound Appointment
As we mentioned above, this is where they will do more anatomy scans of your little one.
Schedule Your Gestational Diabetes Test
Also known as a glucose screening, this test measures your body’s response to glucose. Your doctor will give you a sugary drink and then measure your blood sugar level.
Decide On Childbirth And Breastfeeding Classes
Do some research to see what’s available. Keep in mind you may have to register now. Think about cost and convenience, as well as types, like Lamaze, The Alexander Technique, and the Bradley Method.
Look Into Childcare
If you’ll need childcare, start looking into options. It might seem early, but time will fly! Plus, some daycares have waiting lists.
Make A List Of Potential Baby Names
If you don’t know baby’s gender, make two lists. There are also lots of gender-neutral names. Pass on the trends, and select something you and your partner love.
Baby-Proof Your Home
You have more energy in your second trimester than you will in your third, so getting things done now is a good idea. This includes covering electrical outlets, securing furniture to avoid tipping, and removing choking hazards and sharp edges.
Check Your Home’s Safety Devices
Be sure you have ample smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed and operational in the house.
Start Decorating The Nursery
Check out our ideas for little boy and little girl nursery themes. Or pick something gender-neutral, like a safari theme — everyone will delight in a sweet assortment of elephants, lions, and giraffes!
Month Six (Weeks 23-27)
Go To Your Gestational Diabetes Glucose Screening
Throwing back that glucose drink isn’t pleasant, but it’s necessary!
Create A Birth Plan
A birth plan simply means writing out the details of how you want delivery day to go so that everyone knows your preferences. This will include the people involved, your medical history, your preferred environment (music vs. quiet), birthing position preferences, medication preferences, and postpartum care.
Set Up The Nursery
Even if you aren’t ready to put the finishing touches on the room, make sure you have the important parts taken care of — like a place for your baby to sleep! Opt for sleep safety for your little one by choosing a breathable mattress, like Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress.
You can also talk to your OB-GYN and find out who they recommend in your area. Once you find a potential pediatrician, check their credentials, experience, and their philosophy of care. Then, set up an introductory appointment.
Update Your Will, IRA, And 401k Beneficiaries
These may seem like things you can update later, but doing them now makes sure you have everything in order when your little one arrives.
Look At Your Travel Calendar
Make plans to wrap up travel since you’ll need to stick closer to home during your third trimester. Generally, “babymoons” should be taken before 28 weeks pregnant. Fly somewhere warm and pampering to celebrate baby’s impending arrival!
Decide On Your Birth Announcement Style
You may send a custom card in the mail and will most likely make a big reveal on social media.
Chat About Social Media
Speaking of social media, talk to your partner about the parameters of posting pictures and information about your child online. It’s nice to share with family and friends, but you want to be sure you’re knowledgeable about safe practices that honor baby’s privacy.
Even though you’re getting bigger (and possibly more uncomfortable!), stay active! If you were still doing high-impact exercises in your first trimester, you might want to think about incorporating more low-impact activities now.
Third Trimester Pregnancy Checklist
Month Seven (Weeks 28-31)
Start Counting Baby’s Kicks
Figure out how long it typically takes them to kick or move 10 times — it’s usually less than two hours. Let your doctor know if your baby’s kick count changes on a given day.
Go To Your Doctor’s Appointments
You’ll stay busy since you’ll have a visit every two weeks once you begin your third trimester.
Schedule Your Group B Strep Test
This test happens somewhere between 35 and 37 weeks. If you test positive, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to protect the baby from infection during birth.
Plan Your Baby Shower
Provide input or plan your baby shower if you would like one. These are often held four to six weeks before baby is due, although it’s a personal preference. Some are even after your little one is born.
Write Thank-You Notes
When you accumulate your baby shower gifts, be sure to thank those who sent them your way!
Arrange Childcare For Older Children
By now, you’ve probably talked a lot about the coming brother or sister, but letting them know what to expect on the big day will give them more comfort.
Arrange Pet Care
If you have pets, arrange pet care for when you go into labor. You may want to keep them on for the first few weeks after baby is born. It will be convenient to have a dog walker on hand to help out during the day as you attend to the new arrival.
Put The Final Touches On Your Nursery
In case your little one decides to make an early appearance, make sure everything is in order! This means assembling and putting the crib in place, and stocking up the changing table with diapers, wipes, and creams.
Double-check that the nursery and all places baby will be in are safe spaces. Make sure there are no tipping hazards, that you haven’t hung a mobile or anything that baby can tug on over or near the crib, and that items that are heavy, sharp, or have small parts are nowhere to be found.
Pack A Hospital Bag
Include things for you, your partner, and your baby. You want to have your ID and insurance information, glasses or contacts, a cell phone and charger, grippy socks, a robe, lip balm, snacks, toiletries, and a couple of comfy outfits. You’ll also want a photo-ready going-home outfit for both you and your baby. For you, be sure it’s cute and comfortable.
For baby’s OOTD, find something stylish that doesn’t go over the head, featuring side snaps or zippers for easy dressing.
Month Eight (Weeks 32-35)
Have Your House Cleaned
You’re doing enough these days, getting baby prepared for their arrival. Have someone else clean your house for you! It’s good to lessen your workload and pamper yourself by letting someone else take the lead in getting rid of any dust and dirt.
You want your baby to come home to a clean house, not that they’ll be judging you! Let the cleaner know that a baby’s on the way and any preferences you have in terms of the products they use.
Cook A Few Freezer Meals
Make sure that they are rich in nutrients and are loaded with vegetables, as you’ll need some good food to get you through those first sleepless weeks. You’ll thank yourself later!
Wash All Baby Clothes
Wash all of the precious baby clothes you have, and picture your little one wearing them! Check all the labels before washing so that you’re on alert for anything that needs special attention. You may want to store such garments in a special section of the closet.
When washing, be sure to use a gentle cycle and cold water, and choose a special baby detergent. You don’t want to add any bleach or harsh chemicals as they could affect baby’s skin. Use the extra rinse cycle to be sure the clothes are completely soap-free.
Wash The Crib Sheets
Spend Time With Your Partner
Enjoy a date night together. Make a nice meal, put on some relaxing music, and imagine together what life will be like in a few short weeks.
Month 9 (Weeks 36-40)
Go To Your Doctor’s Appointments
You’re on the home stretch! These weekly appointments could be quite quick, but they’re still important. Your provider will check your blood pressure, weight, and urine and will screen for signs of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and any infection.
Have Your Group B Strep Test Done
If you haven’t already had this done, now’s the time!
Settle On A Pediatrician
Find your baby’s doctor and figure out how to add your little one to your insurance. Generally, newborns are not automatically added to insurance and, therefore, must be added in approximately the first 30 days after birth.
Install The Car Seat
Be sure that you know how to adjust the harness so that you can make it fit snugly yet comfortably on baby’s first car ride.
You might consider engaging a licensed car seat technician to do the installation so that you know it’s installed just right.
Make A List Of Who To Notify
Create a list of all the people who should be told when you go into labor (or when your little one comes into the world) and who will do so. You might also want to tell them the best way to share the big news as well, be it by phone call, email, or text.
Enjoy Your Last Few Days Before Baby
Take a walk, get some fresh air, and have a little tete-a-tete with your little one, letting them know how excited you all are to meet them.
Mark Things Off Your Pregnancy Checklist
Take some stress off yourself by staying organized with this pregnancy checklist.
Start by taking care of yourself and your baby with healthy prenatal habits. Then, stock up on supplies that will keep your baby safe and sound once you’ve welcomed them into the world. (A Newton Baby breathable Crib Mattress is a must!)
Check off your to-do list one month at a time, and before you know it, your baby’s due date will be just around the corner and you’ll be ready to welcome them with open arms!