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Congratulations! The arrival of a new baby is one of life’s most exciting events. When you find out you are expecting there are so many emotions: you are excited, nervous and maybe relieved. It is easy to feel anxious, overwhelmed and somewhat helpless as you wait 40 weeks to meet your baby. There is so much you can do to prepare for your little one’s arrival and to pass the time. By preparing with a pregnancy checklist in advance of your baby’s arrival it allows you to be less stressed and enjoy the time as a new mom. Here is our pregnancy checklist:
Educate yourself on how to keep you and your baby safe
- Find an obstetrician and schedule your prenatal appointments, screenings, and genetic testing. Around 26 weeks you will take a glucose tolerance test to screen for gestational diabetes. Your OBGYN will most likely provide a medical pregnancy checklist to your family. If not, ask!
- Take a daily prenatal vitamin.
- It is Very important to monitor your baby’s heart rate, you can do this with a doctors visit or use a cheap home heart monitor like this one.
- Avoid harmful substances (drinking, smoking, drugs), hot tubs, saunas, caffeine, and hazardous food.
- Schedule a dental cleaning; pregnant women are more susceptible to inflamed gums and gingivitis.
- Follow safe food-handling recommendations.
- Sleep on your left side and invest in a pregnancy pillow that supports your entire body. This improves blood flow and reduces swelling.
- Check your life insurance and health insurance plan to make sure there is coverage for your family. You can “pre-authorize” or “pre-certify” with your health insurance company. Update your will and name a guardian for your child.
- Attend an infant CPR / choking class and birthing class.
- Install your car seat and take it to your local fire station to have them inspect the installation.
- Read all the books and review courses to better understand what to expect. Add these to your pregnancy checklist: Moms on Call, The Happiest Baby on the Block, Taking Cara Babies, Feeding Littles, What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
- Make sure you and your family members are up-to-date on their vaccines and flu shots.
- Interview and select your baby’s pediatrician.
- Prepare your other children and pets for the baby. Purchase a small gift for older children from the new addition. Ensure pets are up to date on vaccinations. Decide where you want everyone to be during delivery.
- Pre-register at the hospital, having paperwork completed will make checking into the hospital much easier when the big day comes. You also may be able to take a hospital tour to make yourself more comfortable with the hospital, the team, and know where to go when it is time. You will see the labor, delivery, and recovery rooms and will have the opportunity to ask questions on what is provided and the hospital’s various policies.
- Track your baby’s movement; you can usually start to feel the baby between weeks 16 – 25. Consider purchasing an at-home fetal doppler if it brings you comfort. At 34 weeks begin doing daily fetal kick counts.
- Arrange for childcare: family member, in-home, or daycare.
Read More: Daily Mom’s Pregnancy Guide
When completing your pregnancy checklist, do not forget to relish in your pregnancy experience and allow yourself to feel all the “feels”
- Keep a pregnancy journal to document your experience. There are some great templated journals out there or create your own. Be sure to include a letter to the baby, who you first told, sonogram pictures, what you are craving, how you feel/pregnancy symptoms, and monthly bump pictures.
- Start a baby book, to monitor changes as tour baby grow. You can also record your baby’s heart rate once or twice per day using the home fetal dopler
- Don’t forget to take time for you as part of your pregnancy checklist: take an uninterrupted shower or bath (your days for this are limited), book a massage, pedicure, take a nap, watch tv, or take your dog for a walk.
- Have a date night with your husband or partner, enjoy a good meal, and discuss your dreams for your growing family.
- Loop your family into your pregnancy checklist. Take time to connect with your family, look at those old baby pictures, and ask your birth story or what you were like as a baby!
- Take monthly bump pictures. If you are setting up a nursery it is great to document the changes in your body and the room over the 9 months. Also, consider contacting a photographer to document your bump or to schedule newborn photos.
- Go on a babymoon; the second trimester is the perfect time to take an indulgent, pre-baby trip.
- Discuss a push present with your partner.
- Schedule last-minute salon treatments (haircut, manicure/pedicure, etc).
- Begin your baby registry.