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Your essential to-do list in the second trimester

Congratulations – you're finally in your second trimester! You will likely notice that the tiredness that may have plagued you in the first trimester easing up, and you may even feel a bit like your old self again. Your bump will also become more noticeable.

If you’re not sure what to do in your second trimester, look no further than this handy guide for the information you need. Here is an essential to-do list that will help you plan ahead and hopefully make the most of this phase of your pregnancy.

1. Do your research on second-trimester prenatal visits and tests

Your prenatal visits will start to become more frequent during this phase of your pregnancy. You can expect to have a prenatal at 16 weeks, during which your doctor or midwife will inform you of the results of the tests that you've done so far, and will also talk to you about your 20-week anomaly scan.

During this appointment, your midwife/doctor will take your blood pressure as well test a sample of your urine. You’ll also have blood tests, such as the glucose screening test to check for gestational diabetes. You might also be offered quad screening to test for certain birth defects such as Down syndrome, and amniocentesis to test for chromosomal abnormalities and genetic disorders.

If it’s your first pregnancy, you can expect to have your next appointment at 25 weeks. Following this, your next prenatal appointment will likely take place at 28 weeks.

2. Decide whether you want to find out your baby’s sex

The second trimester is an exciting phase as you will have another opportunity to get a look at your little one when you attend the 20-week anomaly scan. During this scan, your sonographer may also ask you if you would like to find out the sex of your baby. Before going in for the scan, you might want to discuss with your partner to decide whether you want to know your child's sex before his/her birth or keep it as a surprise.

3. Find a prenatal exercise class

The purpose of joining a pregnancy-friendly workout class is twofold. The primary benefit is that it will allow you to stay active with expert supervision. Some good pregnancy-oriented classes include prenatal Pilates or prenatal yoga, water exercise, a prenatal dance class, or a walking group. Another often-overlooked benefit is that these classes are great ways to meet and interact with other moms-to-be.

4. Invest in maternity clothes

It can be exciting when your baby bump finally starts showing, but that excitement can give way to frustration when your go-to jeans and tops don’t fit. You may find that you’re more comfortable (and confident!) in maternity clothes. A few key pieces such as maternity jeans, leggings, and underwear will serve you well.

5. Eat healthy

You may be slowly regaining your appetite after overcoming morning sickness, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be eager to prepare meals for yourself. That’s understandable, but you don’t want to be ordering takeout or eating out all the time either. 

You may want to only eat what you crave, but you and your baby need to get all the right nutrients from food. So if that means buying veggies and fruit that are already chopped up or signing up for a healthy meal delivery service, then do it. It may cost a bit off, but it's definitely worth your while.

6. Moisturize your belly

Slathering on your favorite lotion may not prevent the stretch marks that are associated with pregnancy, but it will reduce itchiness. Many women experience chronic itchiness during pregnancy due to increased dryness and skin sensitivity. Moisturizing your burgeoning belly, as well as other parts of the body, can help you reduce this.

7. Create a baby registry

Whether or not you plan to have a baby shower, you might want to consider creating a baby registry. The second trimester is a great time to get started compiling a checklist of things you would like to receive from friends and family in preparation for your baby’s arrival. Some items to include in your baby registry are:

8. Decide whether you want to work with a doula

A doula is a trained companion who provides emotional, physical, and information support before, during, and after labor and childbirth. If you're interested in hiring one, you may want to get started with your search in the second trimester.

9. Plan your maternity leave and look into childcare

If you work, inform your employer you're pregnant and start planning your impending maternity leave. Make sure you research your maternity leave benefits and options beforehand though. 

You might also want to start looking into your childcare options in case you need it. Start by reviewing the pros and cons of nanny care, home daycare, daycare centers, and relative care.

10. Schedule a dentist appointment

It may come as surprise, but pregnancy can wreak havoc on your dental health – all thanks to your hormone. Up to 70% of expectant women experience pregnancy gingivitis, with many of them reporting symptoms in the second trimester. So schedule an appointment with your dentist just in case.

11. Work on your post-baby budget

Budgets are no fun, but they are necessary, especially with a baby on the way. Your expenses are going to increase – you will need to pay for baby gear and baby care while still taking care of your current expenses. You’ll also need to factor in life insurance, health insurance, and possibly setting up your little one with a savings account.

12. Book a babymoon

Now that you’ve gotten past the morning sickness of the first trimester and are yet to encounter the fatigue that comes with the third trimester, you might want to consider planning a getaway for you and your partner.

Final thoughts

This list, like with so many things related to being expectant, may seem overwhelming. Take your time and try to do as much as you can during your second trimester. That way, when you enter the last trimester (seemingly the longest and most uncomfortable for most moms-to-be), you won't have a list of little things that you need to do. You can simply relax and mentally prepare yourself for the arrival of your bundle of joy.

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