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Preparing for birth trimester by trimester: a pregnancy timeline

ByDave Stopher

Mar 26, 2020 #health

Pregnancy is a hugely exciting time. You have nine months to prepare for the arrival of a brand new family member. From keeping yourself healthy to knowing what to buy, there is certainly a lot to think about. If you are feeling slightly overwhelmed by the number of things swirling around your head, don’t panic

While pregnancy comes with a huge number of new things to consider, by making a detailed plan for each of your trimesters, the next nine months will seem less daunting. Here is our recommended timeline for the average pregnancy. Be sure to confirm all of your medical plans with your doctor or your midwife.

Trimester one

For many women, the first trimester is often the hardest. You’ll be learning to deal with and adjust to the changes in your body. It lasts from the first day of your last period to the end of your twelfth week. During the first trimester, focus on staying healthy to avoid any complications.

  • Arrange an appointment with your GP

You should aim to book an appointment within the first twelve weeks of your pregnancy. You’ll need to answer lots of questions about your health and your family’s medical history at this appointment. This will help your midwife get a good idea of what your pregnancy is likely to look like. You will also have the opportunity to discuss your future meetings and create an appointment schedule.

  • Pregnancy supplements

It’s a good idea to start taking a folic acid supplement as soon as you know you are pregnant. Most doctors recommend folic acid as it helps with the development of the baby’s neural tube and minimizes the risk of spinal birth defects. You can also take a pregnancy multivitamin, but a healthy diet should cover all of your bases.

  • Quit smoking, drinking and reduce caffeine intake

As soon as you find out that you are pregnant, quit smoking and stop drinking alcohol. Both increase the risk of your baby being born with birth defects or heart problems. It’s also a good idea to try to cut back on your caffeine intake. Most doctors recommend one cup of coffee a day or a maximum of 200mg of caffeine a day to reduce your risk of miscarriage.

  • Create a healthy diet plan

Make sure you know what you can and can’t eat while pregnant. Certain foods will be beneficial to your baby’s growth, while others may be dangerous.

Foods like fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and dairy are all great during pregnancy. Most professionals recommend limiting your intake of fish and cutting out all unpasteurized foods and raw meats. This includes sushi, anything containing undercooked eggs, and unpasteurized juice.

  • Modify your exercise routine

Certain types of exercise are dangerous during pregnancy. Speak to your doctor about your current fitness routine and find out exactly what you can and can’t do. You will likely need to limit your abdominal work. Make sure you are doing some form of exercise during pregnancy, as this will keep you healthy and fit.

  • Announce your pregnancy

Decide when you want to announce your pregnancy. Most people recommend telling friends and family after the first trimester ends at 10-12 weeks. This is because the risk of miscarriage drops drastically in the second trimester.

  • Deal with morning sickness

Around 85% of women experience morning sickness during the first trimester. Lots of women swear by acupuncture bands, ginger ale, and peppermint flavors. If none of these methods work, your doctor may be able to recommend a prescription medication to help.

Trimester two

After the twelfth week, most women feel that they can settle into their pregnancies. You will likely tell more people that you are expecting and start making concrete plans for the baby’s arrival. You may even have your baby shower during this time. The second trimester can feel like the celebration part of pregnancy.

  • Antenatal appointments

In your second trimester, you will likely be scheduled for appointments at 16 weeks, 25 weeks, and 28 weeks to perform scans and tests. Your midwife will test for anomalies, infections, and blood pressure.

  • Create your birth plan

It’s never really too soon to start thinking about the birth plan. Think about where you want to give birth and who you want to be present in the room. Be sure to include each of the details that matter to you, including pain medication, atmosphere, and birthing posture.

  • Buy some maternity clothes

You’ll probably need to start wearing maternity clothes at around four months into the pregnancy. The beginning of the second trimester is an excellent time to invest in some loose, baggy clothing for the next new months. You will thank yourself later when you have the clothes ready to go in your closet.

  • Get the baby room ready

Halfway through the pregnancy is a great time to start preparing the baby’s room. Nurseries can take a while to get ready, so start your plans early. Think about where the baby will sleep and what style of room you’d like to create. Again, you will thank yourself later if you do the painting and furniture building now rather than later.

  • Think about your maternity leave

If you haven’t already spoken to your employer about your maternity leave options, now is the time to get your leave scheduled. You should also discuss leave options with your partner as he might also be eligible for some time off.

  • Spend time with bump

It’s key that you begin bonding with your baby bump during the second trimester. Your baby will feel your touch and hear your voice, so try reading or singing to your bump. This will help your baby’s feeling of relaxation once they’re born.

Trimester three

The third trimester lasts from week 29 to week 40 (or until birth ). With the end in sight, the third trimester is about focusing on preparing to give birth. You’ll learn about labor, solidify your birth plan, and finalize all of your baby preparations. It’s important to keep yourself as stress-free as possible during this time and accept all the help you can get.

  • Antenatal appointments

Your antenatal appointments in the third trimester will be geared towards birth preparation. You’ll learn about the signs of labor and birth pain. Your midwife will also check your baby’s size at every appointment to make sure he or she is growing at the expected rate.

  • Buy your baby supplies

Once your baby’s new room is already, it’s time to get stocked up on baby supplies. You’ll need a range of items ready to go, including diapers, wet wipes, bibs, and milk containers. You’ll also need to stock up on newborn baby clothes.

Be sure to get at least nine washable onesies, nine pairs of socks or booties, and weather-appropriate items depending on the season. If you’re looking for good quality baby clothes, Bitsy Bug is an incredible source with some absolutely adorable options.

  • Pack your hospital bag

Make sure you’re all set for the big day. Prepare a hospital bag that contains all of the essentials you will want during labor. Consider packing sanitary pads, towels, a dressing gown, slips, cash, and toiletries. Having some home comforts with you will make the difficult experience a lot more manageable.

  • Learn about what to expect from the first few weeks of motherhood

Spend your last few weeks of pregnancy preparing to meet your new baby. Do some research on how to bond with your newborn. Also, be sure to learn about all the nitty-gritty details, like how to change a diaper, how to hold a baby, how to feed a baby, and so on. There’s a lot to learn, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, speak to your mother or to a friend who has had a baby of their own.

  • Refresh your birth plan

In the last few weeks, it’s worth having another look at your birth plan. Make sure the details are still exactly what you want. Add any details that are missing. If you look at your birth plan one more time, it will help you to feel more in control and more prepared for labor.

Final Thoughts

While pregnancy is exciting, it can also feel overwhelming. You may feel like you suddenly have a million things to plan in preparation for your new arrival. But before you get carried away with plans for the baby, you must spend some time making a detailed plan for the pregnancy itself.

Following these guidelines each trimester, you should feel much more relaxed and prepared for your next nine months. Of course, always seek out a professional’s help regarding your health during pregnancy. Our recommendations are based on general research, so if you have any specific concerns, your doctor will be able to help.

Once you’ve got your nine-month plan in place, you are free to enjoy pregnancy. Spend this time bonding with your baby and preparing for their arrival. Pregnancy is a uniquely special and personal time, so relish these months with your baby before they are gone.

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