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.