Before you were pregnant, you needed to write down every appointment, assignment and birthday just to keep your life in some sort of order. But now that a baby’s on the way, it’s time to start organizing for two. You’ve got a lot on your plate right now, so we’ve included anything that you might want to keep track of: ultrasound appointments, baby shower planning, even a reminder to pack for the delivery room. Print out this week-by-week prenatal checklist that’s built to prepare you for your changing body and lifestyle. Hang it on the fridge or tuck it into your purse, knowing you’re good to go for the next nine months.
Weeks 0 – 4
- If you drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, stop now. Avoid recreational drugs as well.
- Start taking prenatal vitamins.
- Begin to research your birth plan – do you want to give birth in a hospital? Hire a doula? Look into a water birth?
Weeks 5 – 8
- Make your first appointment with your doctor or midwife.
- Schedule a dental check-up now, too – pregnant women are prone to swelling and bleeding gums.
- Think about your safety in the workplace. Are you working with chemicals, or doing physically intensive labor that could harm a developing fetus?
- Look into childbirth classes in your area. Classes can teach you pain relief techniques, parenting basics, and help you to meet other expectant couples.
Weeks 9 – 13
- Start exercising, or modify your current routine to a safe, lower-impact pregnancy workout.
- Start shopping for maternity clothes!
Weeks 14 – 21
- Get your first ultrasound. During this visit, you will be able to check your baby’s location, size, sex, or if there are multiples.
- Get an amniocentesis, a procedure in which your doctor extracts amniotic fluid to test for genetic abnormalities.
- Announce your pregnancy! Many couples wait to tell because as time goes on, the chance of a miscarriage diminishes. Also, they have some time to make decisions about the birth without conflicting opinions getting in the way.
- Share the news with your workplace and tell your boss, too. Fear not – it’s against the law to get fired for your pregnancy.
Weeks 21 – 28
- Start preparing for your nursery. Make a list of what you consider essentials and try to limit your spending to what your really need. If you do need something, buy it then, or borrow from a friend if possible.
- Look into childcare options in your workplace or through a nanny or outside daycare.
- Begin childbirth classes.
- Babyproof your home.
- Enlist a friend or two and figure out the logistics of your baby shower, if you choose to have one.
Weeks 29 – 32
- Pack your hospital bag. Contact your hospital to see if they provide diapers, wipes, or any blankets and clothes for the baby. Make sure to have your insurance ready, along with comfortable clothing, a maternity bra, underwear, and any medications you’re currently taking.
- Discuss any air travel plans with your healthcare provider first. Many airlines won’t let pregnant women on board after 36 weeks for fear that they’ll deliver on the flight.
- Savor this time and create memories! Some couples choose to hire a professional photographer to capture the baby bump on film. You could also start a baby book, chronicling your feelings from now through your baby’s first year.
Weeks 33 – 36
- Decide on birth announcement stationery.
- Stock up on groceries, or ask a parent or close friend if he or she can prepare and freeze a meal for later – once you get home, cooking a nutritional, satisfying meal will be the last thing on your mind.
- Purchase nursing bras, clothing, and any additional nursing gear if you plan to breastfeed.
- If you’re interested in donating cord blood, find a cord blood bank in your area now
Weeks 37 – 40
- Speak with your partner and your doctor about your birth plan.
- Prepare a list of phone numbers or e-mail addresses to spread the good news once the baby arrives.
- Drive to the hospital beforehand. Figure out the fastest route, or the route with the least traffic.
- Go to your last day of work and start maternity leave.
- Relax – until you start labor!