Yay the second trimester “honeymoon phase” of your pregnancy has arrived! For some that may be a big fat lie, and for others who are no longer vomiting or exhausted this rings thankfully true. Either way, this time period (13-28 weeks) is the best it gets during your pregnancy (for those who just mentally groaned, I’m totally with you). Which means you should capitalize NOW on your checklist before the dreaded third trimester and get those to-dos done!
The ESSENTIAL Second Trimester Checklist, Must-Do Tips NOW
1. Choose where exactly you’d like to have your baby and how
You can choose to have your baby at a hospital, a birthing center or at home. You can also choose to have a doula or a midwife as well. Labor and delivery classes will go over the pros and cons of these options with you as well as natural birth options, epidurals etc. I couldn’t recommend a labor class more! The choices seem overwhelming, but when every one is laid out clearly, it was easy to choose.
2. Take classes NOW
This goes along with the to-do item above. Seriously consider classes for taking care of baby, breastfeeding, and labor. These fill up fast, so look into them and sign up EARLY or take one from the convenience of your own home, at your own pace. I recommend taking Hilary Erickson’s FREE prenatal class. She’s an RN with over 16 years experience in labor and delivery, teaching prenatal classes just like these. It’s SO good too!
3. Make sure you are moisturizing to prevent stretch marks
Using the right moisturizer can seriously help you prevent stretch marks. While this can be genetically tied, you can also reduce the likelihood with a good moisturizer and routine. I did TONS of searching because I did not want stretch marks. There were some super pricey products out there! I landed on Burt’s Bees Mama Bee Butter because the reviews were outstanding, the price was fantastic and I have had a couple friends use it with ZERO stretch marks. Seriously. And I can say the same now as well! Use it twice a day and don’t miss those thighs.
4. Start your gift registry and have your baby shower
I seriously spent close to six months putting together an exhaustive list for a couple of girlfriends of mine who were pregnant. They wanted to know what was the best of the best. After a ton of work, I published The Ultimate Must Have Essentials For Your Baby Registry. Seriously consider registering under Amazon Baby Registry because it’s a ridiculously good deal. I looked at tons of options and ended up going with Amazon because of the awesome perks PLUS you can add items from other stores on your registry! Some of the perks include: a free welcome box for prime users ($35 value), 10% completion discount 60 days before baby’s arrival date or a 15% off completion discount if you are an Amazon Family member, rree 90-day returns on Amazon Baby Store purchases, and 20% off all diaper subscriptions.
5. Plan your maternity leave and understand your options
This may also be a good time to choose whether you want to go back to work or not. Your work might give you the stink-eye and ask! Mine did. Stay strong with your decision! I did the math (including what childcare would cost us) and we took steps to bring me home and raise our baby. We were able to do this even by cutting our income in half in the beginning. I wrote a post about how you can do this too and not put your newborn in daycare. Check it out here: Real Work From Home Jobs For Stay At Home Moms.
Also, understand your maternity leave inside and out (mine was called “disability” ugh!). Ask LOTS of questions. Get paperwork and have it signed. Don’t get screwed over like I did. My story is not uncommon. Your HR tells you one thing and then does another. Write everything down or have it written down and get it signed by your superiors and your HR. I know this sounds a little over the top but I would have had over a weeks worth of pay in my bank account right now if I had gotten in writing what I was told was ‘standard procedure’. That’s not a small mistake.
6. Start looking for baby care
For some that may be a daycare, nanny, friend or family member but start the conversation and search now, then make your final decision before this trimester is over. If you are a single mom or a couple that recently moved away from family and friends, start making a babysitting list now. I use the Sitter app. It’s got pros and cons like most all apps but Sitter is by far the best resource I’ve used (and that isn’t an affiliate link).
7. Plan your gender reveal
(And for some, your birth announcement!)
Some moms choose to reveal their pregnancy after the first trimester due to the high miscarriage rate (I do as well). For those moms, it’s time to do your announcement! Decide if you’d like to know the gender of your little one at the 20 week ultrasound or if you’d like to keep it a secret. Look up ideas for a super fun, creative gender reveal and decide what you want to do!
8. Choose a name
For some people, this is SO hard! For others, they’ve planned the names of offspring since date number two (this is seriously true for us). Older names seem to be trending right now as well as passed on family names. Choose names that you and your significant other both like. Heck, if you can’t decide, choose when the baby gets here!
9. Buy maternity clothes
Consider buying used or borrowing from family or friends. I had a hard time finding cute and low-cost maternity wear. After scrounging and doing a lot of searching, I came up with a go-to list. Check it out here: Where To Buy The Best Maternity Clothes For Cheap.
10. Get a prenatal massage
I would highly recommend getting a massage while pregnant even if you’ve never had one. Pregnancy comes with a lot of strain physically and emotionally. Massages can help in both departments. I always thought they were a little silly (and way too pampery) but after a couple weeks of constant migraines in the first trimester, I was desperate. After the message, the headaches were gone. I was shocked. I still consider regular massages a little on the pampery side but if I could do them every four weeks (like recommended), I TOTALLY would. Prenatal massages just have way too many benefits for pregnancy to flat out refuse.
11. Start asking around about a pediatrician
If you haven’t decided on a pediatrician, ask your mom friends who they recommend and also make sure to ask your doctor. At the hospital, you will be asked to fill out forms detailing which pediatrician you are seeing. Decide on your top 2 because (like us) you may not like the top recommended pediatrician office. Our first prenatal visit was a serious nightmare. The doctor scoffed at my breastfeeding schedule (outlined by the lactation nurse at the hospital) and continued to tick off a giant list of everything I was doing wrong in an extremely frustrated tone. I was close to tears when our baby threw up yellow flim and the doctor screeched (plus she had very bad teeth) at us in a panic to take her to the ER NOW. New parents, we flew (now for sure in tears, thinking our baby was dying) to the ER. The ER doctor said that there had been no need to panic and this sort of thing happens. I told the doctor (when she called us) that we would no longer be returning. We have seen several pediatricians since and every single one has been wonderful, civil and normal.
12. Make sure you are using safe cleaners in your home
(ones that are not dangerous for your baby during pregnancy)
My favorite green cleaners are Legacy of Clean. Not only are they the lowest cost green cleaner I have found but they are the safest and utilize all natural soaps. My baby accidentally put the nozzle in her mouth and this freaking out, first-time mom called poison control. The rep told me (in a very surprised tone) that actually this particular cleaner was completely safe. “If she drank a large amount, she may get a stomach ache. That’s about it. This is one of the safest green cleaners I’ve seen,” she said. You can find Legacy of Clean’s Multipurpose Cleaner (the one Mae almost ate) as an “Amazon Choice” item with five solid gold stars but you can get it for HALF the price through this link here. Also, when it comes to laundry detergent, the famous green product SA8 from Legacy of Clean has a five-star rating on Amazon and is usually sold out. This particular laundry soap is an online list topper for extremely green and safe laundry detergents. It’s one of the best you can buy for very sensitive skin as well. You can snatch it up here for $13.15.
13. Remember, keep doing your Kegels!
Squeeze em in, girls! (Pun definitely intended.) Kegels help tighten the muscles underneath the uterus, bladder, and bowel. This strengthening can help prevent and or treat incontinence after childbirth that affects up to two-thirds of women during and after pregnancy. They help keep hemorrhoids at bay AND help healing after childbirth. To do a kegel, first, make sure you have an empty bladder (because that could be embarrassing), then pretend you’re trying to stop yourself from passing gas and peeing at the same time – it’s a squeezing sensation. Don’t do this while urinating. That’s supposed to be bad. Do this a few times a day and work up to holding them for 10 seconds three times a day. This is the best number and more than this can actually strain your bowels and lady parts.
14. Go on a babymoon or travel
The second trimester is the BEST time to travel while pregnant. Have you heard of a babymoon? It’s kind of like the bachelorette party, (minus the ugly and alcohol) your last hurrah of childless couple life. Even if you are single and having a baby, you could take some of your girlfriends on a super fun trip. One of my biggest regrets is not doing this! I talk about this more here on 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Having a Baby.
15. Eat healthy
You probably Googled what you should and shouldn’t eat in the first trimester but in case you didn’t, make sure to check out my First Trimester Checklist. There is a fantastic little cheat sheet you can download to your phone to help you avoid foods you shouldn’t eat.
16. Time to start adjusting your seatbelt
Make sure to tuck the belt underneath your baby bump. This ensures safety for your growing little one.
17. Consider never buying another diaper again
Save literally thousands of dollars and consider cloth diapering. You may be completely SHOCKED at how easy cloth diapering is these days. New technology has made this incredibly easy. Check out these Pinterest topping posts:
Cloth Diapers 101, The Complete Guide For Beginners
Everything You Need To Cloth Diaper (My recommended list from newborn to potty trained)
Newborn Cloth Diapering 101 (In-depth tips for newborn cloth diapering and why it’s worth it even though others say that it isn’t.)
The ULTIMATE diaper bag checklist (A thorough, in-depth look at what you really need in your diaper bag, covering everything from disposables, cloth diapers, formula and/or breastfeeding.)
18. Get RID of those pregnancy breakouts
They suck. My first pregnancy was PLAGUED by all sorts of zit infested nastiness. It was SO bad I asked my doctor what on earth I could do about it! Now with baby #2, I have experience and the answer. Use an effective medicated face wipe before bed and when you wake up. The BEST one (that has cured my pregnancy acne like a miracle) is essentials by Artistry Makeup Removing Wipes. Also, I highly recommend finding a great, safe and natural skincare line. My favorite is Artistry’s Youth Xtend line. If you have normal to oily skin, check out the whole system here. If you have SUPER dry skin like the Sahara desert (like me), check out the amazing system for that here. The best thing? You can try it for up to SIX MONTHS and return it you don’t love it for a full refund. I don’t know of many other companies with a better money back guarantee. I felt it was at least worth a try because nothing else worked.
19. Pick up a pregnancy book if you haven’t already
20. Consider logging your pregnancy journey in a journal.
I used Shutterfly and just added to it every week or so.
21. Lengthen the time you need to shop for maternity pants
Buy a Bellaband to lengthen the time you need to shop for maternity pants. Better to have this now and be prepared than wake up one morning, unable to button your pants. The hair-tie thing just didn’t work for me.
22. By now you probably need a new bra
Hello boobies! You can opt for a soft nursing bra with no underwire or other soft maternity bras like Bravado! (this is the one I purchased). During my pregnancy, I couldn’t do underwire, because the baby sat so high, the wire popped out uncomfortably. You may want to skip the underwire too and prepare for that.
23. Get exercise in when you can
If you are already working out, that’s fantastic. Likely, you will gain less weight during pregnancy and loose it quickly afterwards. If on the other hand, you were not working out pre-baby bump (like me this time) try to at least go for a 20-30 minute walk 3-4 times a week. My little toddler and I go to the zoo, science museum, park and walk around the block most days of the week. This is an easy way to get those steps in your schedule and not have to block out a specific time if you don’t have it!
24. Schedule a dentist visit if you haven’t already
Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that increase the risk of developing gum disease which, in turn, can affect the health of your developing baby. If you aren’t brushing twice a day, flossing and using a mouth rinse, don’t beat yourself up too much just be sure to start now. Gingivitis is super easy to get while pregnant due to hormone level increases and it’s not good for your baby. Brush, brush!
25. Start a baby savings account if you haven’t already
Budget out a certain amount per paycheck to over the cost of the prenatal testing plus the delivery, the cost of baby items (we still had $800 worth of must-haves to purchase after our baby shower), the cost of the delivery and newborn photography. We saved up 6,000 and used every penny. Divide the number of months you have left in your pregnancy by your savings goal and add that much to the account each month.
26. Finalize the nursery this trimester if possible
Consider having the baby shower in this trimester. This way you know exactly what you have left to buy for baby and the nursery. This trimester you have the most energy! So, now is the time to capitalize on all nursery planning, prep and purchases. Finalizing the nursery is no small feat (at least I felt this way!) so try to keep things simple, take it easy and make sure someone else paints!
Your second trimester is a super exciting time. More than likely, that energy will come back (for some that can be hard to believe!) and the nausea will taper off. Beyond that, your little bump will begin to show, baby kicks will start to be felt AND (drumroll) you will have the option of learning the gender or not! With all the second trimester milestones, don’t forget to tackle those extremely important to-dos on your checklist. This is THE trimester to get things done, girlfriend! Believe me. Once you begin checking off must-dos on your list, you are solidly on your way to a more stress-free and enjoyable pregnancy.