Welcome to your second trimester! As you continue to adjust to pregnant life (and your growing belly), use this list for tips on what to check off during this phase, from buying a crib to planning your maternity leave.
Learn About Your Upcoming Tests and Appointments
At this stage, you'll likely be seeing your doctor every four weeks. Now is the time your doctor will perform routine tests, such as a glucose test to determine your risk for gestational diabetes. You may also be offered the option of genetic testing, such as a nuchal translucency screening, amniocentesis, or a new test called cell free fetal DNA testing to determine the risk of your child having a genetic or chromosomal disorder. Make sure you are prepared for each test and screening, so you know what it is your doctor is doing and can ask any questions you might have.
It's during this time that you will likely also have the option of finding out your baby's gender. Your 20 week appointment will come quickly, so sit down with your partner and decide if you want to find out the sex. Finding out before your little one arrives can help when deciding on a nursery theme and what to register for, but it's a personal decision that you and your partner should discuss together. If you decide to wait, these gender-predicting old wives' tales are a fun way to "predict" what you're having and will make playing the waiting game a little easier.
If you've been exercising regularly throughout your first trimester and still have the OK from your doctor, continuing your routine can help you manage symptoms, make you feel better physically and emotionally, and help make the pain and stress of labor a little easier to handle. You already know the safety precautions you need to take, so now it's time to modify your routine to accommodate your changing body. As your pregnancy continues to progress, you'll likely need to dial the intensity and frequency of your workouts back. Try this second trimester workout as a starting point, and look for low-impact ways to exercise, like swimming or walking. Creating a plan that takes your needs into account will help you continue to exercise safely for the duration of your pregnancy, or until your doctor advises you to stop.
Look at Your Finances
Raising a child is expensive, and becoming a parent brings a host of new financial responsibilities. Get a head start by creating a budget with your new family member in mind — accounting for things like daycare, diapers, clothing and formula. It's also a good time to think about long-term financial needs like life insurance policies, college savings accounts, and your taxes.
Make a Dentist Appointment
Pregnant women are more prone to tooth decay, bleeding gums, and gum infections, and poor dental hygiene can affect both your and your baby's health.
In addition to brushing twice a day and flossing daily, make sure to schedule appointments with your dentist for regular cleanings and care throughout your pregnancy.
Create Your Baby Registry
Many first-time moms will have a baby shower sometime in the third trimester, so now is the time to start working on your baby registry. Whether you want all new items, or plan on mixing some hand-me-downs into your baby's stock, a registry is a helpful way to keep track of what you want and what you need. Plus, friends and family will love knowing what is on there so they can help out.
To avoid getting overwhelmed by all the gear you need, start by registering for just the immediate essentials. Once that is done, gradually build your list to include items you might need down the road and personal items to help make your baby's nursery and wardrobe special.
Shop for a Crib
While you're creating your registry, it's also a good idea to start shopping around for a crib and/or bassinet early, as some models can take weeks to arrive. While some well-meaning friends or family members may want to give you hand-me-downs, cribs are best bought new to ensure they meet the most current crib safety requirements. Make sure to follow the instruction manual carefully when assembling the new crib.
While you are at it, start thinking about childcare options for when you return to work. Consider whether you want to hire a nanny, put your child in daycare, or have a family member help out. While it may seem like a long way off, many daycares have waiting lists, so it's best not to leave it to the last minute.
Begin a List of Baby Names
Brainstorming baby names with your partner is fun (and a little overwhelming), so start making a list of contenders now. Jot down the names that you and your partner like, and discuss whether you want to use a family name, something original, or a combination.
Last but not least, remember to spend some quality time with your partner. Life is about to change for both of you, and while the anticipation of your new arrival is exciting, it's also important to take some time out to enjoy each other's company.