The second trimester can be a wonderful time for many women. Morning sickness has usually passed, your growing belly is visible but not huge, and energy levels probably haven’t yet tanked. Below are some ideas for what you might consider accomplishing during this period. Most importantly, listen to your body and if you just need to rest, then do that. (Also: My First Trimester and Third Trimester task lists.)
Get working on space for the baby. Regardless of the size of your house or apartment, whether you will co-sleep or not, your baby will still need space of his or her own. My family’s choice is the baby sleeps in his/her crib in their own room. Other essentials for a nursery are a comfortable place to feed the baby and storage for clothing, diapers and books. (Of course there is often much more than this, but these are the bare necessities. More on this later.) Whatever you plan to do, ideally the nursery is complete about six weeks before your due date. That might seem like plenty of time, but it can take a while to order furniture and get things how you want them. I suggest beginning now. [Check out my best suggestions for baby items here.]
Maternity clothes. By now, you will likely need at least a few maternity pieces. I like to keep my maternity clothes pretty simple and versatile. I’ll share more on this soon, but a good list of basics are black pants, white pants, jeans, black leggings, 3 short-sleeve tops, 3 long-sleeve tops, 2 blouses or tunics, 1-2 casual dresses, comfortable underwear and bras, and pjs. Cardigans and jackets can often be pulled from your non-maternity wardrobe. Keep things interesting with jewelry, scarves and shoes. Of course all of this depends on your work situation and climate, but this is generally a good place to begin.
Finalize any changes to your house. The nesting bug really bites some women and they try to tackle major renovations before the baby comes (We remodeled both bathrooms during my first pregnancy. Not the best idea, but glad it is done.). If this is your plan, I highly suggest having everything complete before your third trimester begins … for two reasons: (1) projects always take longer than scheduled and (2) you will need ample time to rest during the last few weeks.
Plan what to buy for the baby (and maybe register). I like keeping a minimalist’s mindset when buying baby things, but there is still quite a lot to consider (especially when you plan to earn a PhD in Google University like me and so many other pregnant women :)). If you go the registry route, this is a good time to start it. I’ll share my registry list soon. [EDIT: Check out my top baby product suggestions on my new web site: Naturally Safe Home.]
Childbirth classes. Think about how you might like to approach childbirth, and consider whether classes will be helpful. Also, if you’d like guidance from a doula, begin researching options (for anyone in Jacksonville, consider Kelly Googe! She is a dear friend and amazing!)
Maternity leave. If you currently work outside of the home, look into your company’s maternity policy: how much time you get off, how much you will be paid (if anything), who will cover your work while you are out, and how you will handle your work schedule once you return: will you go back at all? Part time? Full time? Flexible schedule? Childcare will likely play a large role in this decision. I went back to work part time after 12 weeks with both of my babies. (Although I’m all about that year-long maternity leave in other countries!).
Childcare. Consider who will take care of your child if you go back to work. Family? A nanny? Nanny-share? Day care? Start addressing this now because it can take a lot of soul-searching (and researching) to figure out the best decision for your family. Talk to girlfriends with children. Our son stayed with family while I worked part-time (and later went to preschool at 18 months), and our daughter stayed with family and a nanny.
Get your legal and financial life in order. No one wants to think about this stuff, but you really need a will, documents naming short-term and long-term guardian(s), medical authorization and power of attorney for your children. It doesn’t have to be done now (we waited until after ours were born so we could include their names), but start considering these topics and a law firm to handle the work. For finances, look at your budget and make sure you are allowing room for the expenses that come along with children. If you need to reign in spending somewhere else, start now.
Prepare your older children (and pets). If you have other children, by now they have probably realized something has changed with mommy. Start planning how you will incorporate a new member of the family. Gradual changes often go over best, so now is a good time to subtly adjust things. I have a lot of tips to share on this topic! More soon.
Consider a baby shower. If someone has kindly offered to host a baby shower for you, I think scheduling it around week 30 is ideal. Although it feels a bit indulgent as the recipient, I found it very special to be surrounded by so many women to hug me, love me and share their wisdom with me (I also learned a ton at other peoples’ showers … super helpful). If you feel comfortable with it, it can be a wonderful experience.
A last travel hurrah. Some clichés are true, and the old “travel while you can!” definitely falls into that category. Most people are allowed to travel up to 30/32 weeks, so buy those tickets now and scamper off somewhere fabulous while you can.
Cord blood storage. If you go this route, buying the kit earlier in your pregnancy can save on cost. (We used Cord Blood Registry for both babies. I can’t say I am 100% convinced it is a great decision, but the worry-wart in me decided to go for it).
THINGS TO CONTINUE
Healthy choices. Keep on with the good diet and exercise. Hydrate hydrate hydrate. Take your prenatals. See your doctor. And consider identifying and ditching the toxins in your life (beauty and personal care products, cleaning products, kitchen storage and cookware, etc etc).
Date nights. Whether you have zero, one or two+ children, it won’t be easier than it is now, so get out while you can!
Reading books. Keep on exploring different books until you find the ones right for you and your family. No matter your childbirth views, parenting views or sleep decisions, I think everyone can benefit from this tiny yet incredible book. I don’t think it is very well known, but it is one of my favorites. Might be worth a look. [For more of my favorite books, go here.]
Building community. Family, girlfriends and neighbors—these are my rocks. Even if this isn’t your first baby, undoubtedly you will have a million questions during those early weeks (how do we so quickly forget what it was like to care for a newborn?). Your support system will be more important than ever, so don’t neglect those relationships.