Preparing for a New Baby

Anticipating motherhood is a joyous time for all women. Each stage of pregnancy has its own organizational challenges.

By Jo Ann Sheldon and Norma J. Heller


First Trimester (0 to 3 months)
Read up on pregnancy, labor and delivery. Decide on whether you will use an obstetrician or a midwife, or both, and find ones that you are comfortable with. Familiarize yourself with dietary guidelines and begin to eat healthfully. Have wholesome snacks available and take the vitamins that your doctor recommends.

Check with your doctor about an exercise routine and schedule it regularly. If you feel pain during exercise, stop immediately. FamilyTime Calendar.

Second Trimester (3 to 6 months)
Buy or borrow maternity clothes. Begin to buy necessary supplies. Register at the local baby store so your friends and family can buy you what you need and want. See the Checklist for Newborn Baby Equipment and Supplies.

Talk to friends and family members about borrowing equipment. Make sure you borrow the safest equipment available. If you are unsure, purchase your own car seat, crib, and changing table. To make sure older models are safe, check with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (800-638-8326).

Involve your older children in preparations. Let them help get the nursery ready. Read books to them to help them prepare for the new baby. See the Recommended Books for Older Children.

Third Trimester (6 to 9 months) Decide on names for both boys and girls, unless you know the gender of the baby, in which case choose a few appropriate names.

Sign up for and attend natural child birth classes at the local hospital or similar facility. Arrange for a hospital tour for you, your husband, and your older children. Sign you and your husband up for an infant CPR class: cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Make your final purchases for the new baby. Finish decorating the nursery. Cook and freeze several meals for your family during the first few weeks after the baby is born. Go to FamilyTime Recipes for ideas.

Pack for the hospital stay. Write down directions to the hospital and put them someplace you can easily find them. Have a backup driver ready in case your husband is unavailable. Arrange for someone to care for the older children while you are in the hospital. See the checklist for Mom's Hospital Stay.

Get plenty of rest and spend time with your husband the older children.