Few things are as life-changing as welcoming a baby into the world. The months leading up to the birth of a child can be exciting and filled with anxiety, and they can go by quickly. Getting ready for a baby doesn’t have to lead to confusion and worry. Preparation is key to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. The following pregnancy checklist will show you some of the things you should focus on for each month as you wait for your little one to make an appearance.
Choose Your Healthcare Provider - Let’s start this checklist with one of the most important decisions you’ll make as soon as that positive sign shows up on your pregnancy test. One of the most crucial is picking an OB-GYN or midwife. Consider where they’re located, what kind of coverage is available, and which shares your personal goals. Once you’ve chosen, make sure to set up an appointment.
Take Your Prenatal Vitamins - During your first checkup, you’ll likely be given prenatal vitamins. These nutrients will help with the development of your baby. But you don’t have to wait for an appointment to start taking them. Prenatal vitamins are available in a variety of places. Look for vitamins that have some of the following:
- - Iron
- - Folic acid
- - Calcium
- - Vitamin D
Stock Up On Healthy Foods - Preparing for a newborn also relates to your own health. In addition to your prenatal vitamins, take some time to stock up on foods that are rich in nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are excellent additions to any diet, but don’t ignore some other healthy food items. Here’s just a partial checklist:
- - Grapes
- - Grapefruit
- - Bell peppers
- - Strawberries
- - Broccoli
- - Tomatoes
- - Yogurt
- - Multigrain pasta
- - Nuts
Get Ready For Your Week 10 Checkup - The week 10 physical is one of the most momentous you’ll have during your pregnancy. This is the checkup where you’ll likely hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time. That’s where things start to feel real. It’s also where your due date will be verified. With an end goal in mind, you’ll be able make more detailed preparations for the rest of your pregnancy.
Plan a Baby Budget - Preparing for a baby isn’t just a lot of work, it requires a lot of resources. Before heading out to get clothes and baby items, take a moment to sit down and plan out all the new expenses you’ll need to make. Make a detailed checklist if you have to. Don’t just include one-time purchases, like a crib. Think about what your monthly expenses (diapers, baby food) will be once the baby arrives.
Make Your Pregnancy Announcement - While their closest friends and family likely know by now, most women choose to announce their pregnancy to the wider world by the end of the first trimester. Decide how you’re going to do that. Will it be through a Facebook post? A professional photo shoot? A funny video? Your pregnancy announcement is a great time to get creative.
Look For Exercise/Birth Classes - You’ll want to take this month to look for prenatal exercise and childbirth education classes. The exercise classes will help you stay in shape even as your body goes through some dramatic changes. The birth classes will help you prepare for the big day as they go over what to expect during labor. Most childbirth preparation classes take around 12 weeks to complete.
Shop For Maternity Clothes - No pregnancy checklist would be complete without one of the most important items: maternity clothes. It’s at about the fourth month that most women begin to show, and even if you start showing later, you’ll likely feel more comfortable in maternity clothes by now. Make sure to buy clothes for different stages of your pregnancy.
Make a Baby Registry - Friends and family are going to want to help you out by shopping for baby items. Do this during month 5 so they can prepare for the baby shower. Here’s a useful checklist of baby things you might want to add to the registry:
- - Baby bathtub
- - Diaper bag
- - Diaper cream
- - Baby monitor
- - Stroller
- - Baby clothes (onesies, pajamas, socks/booties, undershirts)
- - Blankets
- - Hooded baby towels
- - Nursing pillow
Get Ready For Your Week 20 Checkup - Halfway through your pregnancy, you’ll go in for your 20 week physical. This is another momentous checkup, since this is usually where you’ll find out the sex of your baby (if you want to). The physical also takes a close look at your baby’s growth and development and makes sure everything is proceeding like it should.
Get to Work on the Nursery - Creating the nursery is one of the biggest projects you’ll do while preparing for a baby. There are lots of items that can go in a nursery. Here’s a handy checklist:
- - Rocking chair
- - Dresser
- - Crib or cradle
- - Mattress
- - Changing table
- - Bed linens
- - Toy basket
- - Washable crib mattress pads
- - Fitted crib sheets
Besides that checklist, you’ll also want to decide on the decorations and colors. This is another chance for you to get really creative.
Tour the Hospital - The big day is quickly approaching. As part of getting ready, you’ll want to take this time to tour the hospital where you’ll be giving birth. Taking a look at the labor and delivery room will help you become familiar with the environment and the hospital staff. Doing this can help relieve some of the stress you’re likely feeling. This is also a good time to start preparing your birth plan.
Look For a Pediatrician - You now have to start thinking even more about what life will be like once baby arrives. That includes looking for a pediatrician. Your OB-GYN might have a suggestion, or you can take suggestions from some of your family and friends. Make sure you take into consideration where their practice is, open office hours, if the accept your health insurance, and more.
Store More Personal Supplies - So far, this checklist has focused on things for your baby, but don’t forget about yourself and your partner. Once the baby arrives, he or she will be the focus of your attention. With this in mind, choose now to stock up on some of your personal supplies as you won’t have as much time later. Think about storing:
- - Medicine
- - Toilet paper
- - Non-perishable food items
- - Shampoo
- - Soap
- - Shaving items
And don’t forget some new clothes for the postpartum period.
Wash Baby Clothes and Bedding - With only a couple months left, now would be a good time to wash the baby clothes and bedding that you have bought so far. New clothing tends to have irritants which might affect the baby’s skin. Using a gentle detergent will make sure those irritants are eliminated, leaving them ready for your new addition.
Pack a Hospital Bag - This is the bag that you will take with you to the hospital on the big day. Here’s a checklist of items you should be sure to include:
- - Toiletries
- - Go-home outfit for baby
- - Go-home clothes for you
- - Snacks
- - Fully charged camera
- - Insurance card
- - Picture ID
- - Comfort items (pillows, slippers, robe)
Clean Your House - Having a clean house when you come home from the hospital is a welcome sight. By this point, you’re probably too exhausted to do it yourself, so see if you have friends or family who are willing to lend a hand. In case plans fall through, you can even get a professional cleaning service to do the job.Do a Practice Run - Many parents stress out about getting to the hospital on time. You don’t have to worry about it, though. As one of the last things on your pregnancy checklist, just do a practice run to the hospital to see how long it takes for you to get there. Plus this can help you learn how to navigate the hospital parking lot. If you really want, you can do multiple runs at different times of day. Anything that relieves the stress of going to the hospital will be a big help to you.