The ultimate pregnancy checklist

by | Jun 2, 2020

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It’s a blessing that a pregnancy lasts approximately nine months, as this gives you time to prepare for the arrival of your baby. Pippa Naudé has compiled a list – and checked it twice – to make sure you sail through your pregnancy.

First Trimester (0-13 weeks)
The first trimester is a good opportunity to lay a healthy foundation for your pregnancy.

  • Confirm your pregnancy with your doctor
  • Book your antenatal check-ups and any screening tests you are advised to do.
  • If you’re not already eating healthily, start now. Drink lots of water, limit caffeine and, importantly, quit smoking and stop drinking alcohol. This advice applies throughout your pregnancy.
  • Start taking prenatal vitamins, especially folic acid.
  • Book a dental check-up. Pregnancy hormones can damage your teeth, so you’ll want to take extra special care of them.
  • Notify your medical aid. Many have maternity benefits that you can take advantage of.
  • Find out what maternity benefits and leave your employer offers.
  • Draft a baby budget and start saving.
  • Talk to your partner about the kind of parent you want to be. It’s fun, but also important to see where you agree and where you might need to compromise.
  • Start documenting your growing belly with photos.

Second Trimester (14-27 weeks)
This is usually the easiest stage of pregnancy, as your energy levels return and morning sickness disappears. It’s also when you start to see and feel your growing baby.

  • Sign up for pregnancy exercise classes, so you can stay fit without risking harm to yourself or your baby.
  • Moisturise your growing bump to prevent stretch marks, and invest in some comfy maternity wear.
  • Between 16 and 20 weeks you should be able to learn your baby’s gender. Decide if you want to know or keep it a surprise, and make sure the technician doing your ultrasound knows.
  • Start thinking of baby names.
  • Book your antenatal classes – these are strongly recommended to prepare for birth.
  • Sign up for an infant first aid and CPR course.
  • Decide on the type of birth you want, where you want to birth, and if you want a doula.
  • Investigate childcare options for when your maternity leave ends.
  • Create a list of what you need to buy, and start getting items gradually so it’s not left till the end.

Third Trimester (28+ weeks)
Not much longer until baby arrives! A full-term pregnancy is measured as 40 weeks, but you should be ready for baby’s arrival from 37 weeks.

  • If you’re birthing at a private hospital, book your bed.
  • Find a paediatrician for when your baby is born.
  • Finalise your birth plan.
  • Organise your pregnancy photo shoot.
  • Buy any outstanding baby items and prepare the nursery. Wash all linen and baby clothes with gentle detergents.
  • Pack your hospital bag and plan the best route to get to the hospital in traffic.
  • Install the baby’s car seat.
  • Go grocery shopping, and cook and freeze food, so you don’t need to worry about these things once baby arrives.
  • Put together a contact list for the birth announcement.
  • Finally … relax and take it easy as you wait for the next chapter of your life to begin.