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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.
- 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.
- 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.
Read More: 7 Ideas for Self Development in Pregnancy.
Prepare your home
- One of the first things you will need is a safe sleep space for your new babe. A few safe sleep tips: have your baby sleep in your room in a separate bassinet or crib approved for safe sleep with no soft bedding or blankets for the first 6 months and up to a year of their life. The SNOO Smart Bassinet is truly a game changer! The infant should always be put down on their back. Research swaddles, the use of a fan, baby monitor, and noise machines so you and your partner may make your own decisions for the baby.
- Another early used area will be your diaper changing stations and is a must on your pregnancy checklist. In your nursery and maybe in a common living area (it is helpful to set up that extra pack-n-play). Gather diapers, wipes, diaper rash ointment, and extra onesies for accidents.
- Research on how you plan to feed your infant and know things do not always go as planned. Remember: whether breast or bottle a FED baby is best! Make sure you have the supplies for both. If you plan to breastfeed, create a quiet station for feeding, including a nursing pillow (My Brest Friend nursing pillow is great for when the baby is super small), burp cloths (cloth diapers work great), timer and water/snacks for mom. You may also want to request an APNO – all-purpose nipple ointment from your OBGYN in advance, this prescription will need to be filled at a compounding pharmacy and is very helpful to have on hand for those painful first days. This ointment can help to prevent mastitis. If you plan to bottle feed, you may need to try different bottles to find the right fit for your baby. You will also need formula or a breast pump. Possibly a bottle warmer, burp clothes, storage bags for breast milk, bottle brush, quick clean breast milk removal soap, and the microwaveable, sterilizing bags are great to use once a week.
- Decorate and organize your nursery; have diapers, wipes, changing pads, burp cloths, and prewashed infant clothes ready. Organize infant clothes by size. Don’t just look at label size— not all brand sizing is the same. Hang the clothing up or lay them out and compare length.
- Pregnancy Checklist 101: Take advantage of nesting by deep cleaning and purging your home – be careful not to overdo it!
- Your body is truly amazing; you will be in awe of it! Carrying, delivering, and then if you choose, feeding that babe, you are all they need. There are some things that can make the recovery of your body more comfortable: have a basket set up in whatever bathroom(s) you plan to use at home with mesh underwear, peri bottle, tucks, dermaplast, trash bag, pain reliever, and hand sanitizer. The journey home from the hospital is exhausting and the last thing you will want to do is climb stairs or search for these items.
- Prepare a postpartum capsule wardrobe, you will not need a lot of clothes. But on the rare opportunity you feel like showering and getting dressed once you get home from the hospital you will want a few comfortable outfits that make you feel good about yourself.
- Prep freezer meals and stock up on frequently used household goods.
- Assemble your baby gear.
- Review hazards in your house: blind cords, stairs that need baby gates, cabinets that need to be childproofed. Update your outlets to be tamper-resistant.
How technology can help
- Want to see those adorable images comparing your baby to the size of fruit? Enter birth details into a mobile app such as What to Expect, to see the weekly growth and development.
- If you are having a baby shower, create a google document of those you will invite and their address. This document can later become the basis for birth announcements and holiday card mailing lists. You can also update the spreadsheet to track gifts and if thank you notes were sent. Go ahead and purchase extra stamps! Review and draft a birth announcement, making a decision postpartum can be hard.
- Want to avoid disagreements on choosing a baby name? Download Babyname to see if you and your partner “match” on a name.
- Download and get familiar with a mobile app for tracking feeding, diapers, sleep, and pumping. Tracking this will begin in the hospital. e.g. Babytracker
- Download a contraction timer app for your phone.
- Discuss with your partner and immediate family how you feel about photos of your baby being shared. If desired, share photos by creating a shared album using Apple Photos, an Instagram handle/hashtag, a Shutterfly album, etc.
- After your baby arrives TheWonderWeeks is a great tool to better understand the cognitive development of your baby with the predictable guide to ‘leaps’.
- Consider creating a virtual memory box for your child by establishing an email address that family and friends may send notes, stories, photos, and wishes. ‘Gift’ your child the password on their 18th birthday (please note: most email providers limit this to 18 years old based on date of birth, parents will need to maintain account until child is of age).
Pack for the hospital
- Plan your ride to the hospital. Make alternative plans for transportation if your partner is away or at work.
- This is probably the most expected item on a pregnancy checklist. Take the obvious and what you think will make you comfortable. There are so many great lists out there. A few favorites: extra long phone charging cord, shower shoes/flip flops, luxurious toiletries samples to pamper yourself, a headband to tame crazy hair, extension cord, cozy socks, type of boppy for early days, nursing bralettes, 2 pairs of loose pants and 2 pairs of pajamas, snacks, and an outfit for you and the baby to come home in.
- Don’t forget the logistics on your pregnancy checklist. The car seat for the ride home is the most important item for you to pack for the hospital.
- Also, take a small gift for your labor and delivery nurses (we had two) because besides you, they are the true stars of the show. We took a gift card for Target, a small candy container, and a thank you note.
- Pack your diaper bag. You do not need to take your diaper bag to the hospital, they will provide you all the diapers and wipes the baby will use. But usually one or two days following your release you will take the baby to the pediatrician. The first 48 hours after coming home can be stressful. As with everything on your pregnancy checklist, anything you can do to prepare ahead of time will make your life easier.
Read More: Hospital Bag Necessities
While you can never be fully prepared, this pregnancy checklist is a great starting point and may bring up some things you had not thought of. Try to enjoy the tasks and preparation on this pregnancy checklist for your little one knowing your life is about to change forever for the better!
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