Friday, August 22, 2014

Baby 101: Pregnancy Timeline - What To Do When

Throughout my pregnancy, I found myself constantly researching what I should be doing to prepare for the baby's arrival at any given point in time, to make sure I didn't forget anything due to my new mom ignorance!  Here are my recommendations (note: this timeline doesn't include doctor's appointments, ultrasounds, etc, since those vary based on your OB/GYN practice):

4 weeks

  • Yay! You're pregnant! Do a little happy dance and make an appointment with your OB/GYN to confirm the pregnancy (they may make you wait until 6-8 weeks). 
  • If you haven't already, start taking prenatal vitamins, eat right and exercise, and stop any non-pregnancy-friendly lifestyles (caffeine, smoking, alcohol, etc). 

10 weeks

  • Although this is a personal decision, we decided to share the news of the pregnancy with our immediate families at 10 weeks.
  • If you plan to return to work after baby and live in a big city like I do, tour daycares and get on waiting lists ASAP.  We toured 9 or 10 and got on the waitlist at 3.  I'll add another post later in the series about the questions we asked during our daycare tours.

12 weeks

  • Talk to the HR department at your work to find out how your company handles maternity leave and/or short disability (including how your benefits and salary might be affected).  Ask for any other information you might need to make decisions about your employment post-baby. I decided that I wanted to go back to work on a part-time (75%) schedule after my maternity leave, so I inquired how my vacation, benefits, salary, bonus, etc. would be impacted.
  • Tell your boss (and coworkers, if appropriate) about your pregnancy.  Expecting mothers typically do this anywhere between 10-16 weeks; I decided that 12 weeks was far enough into the pregnancy for it to be viable and early enough to allow my boss time to plan for my absence.  Let them know when you're due, how long you plan to take off for maternity leave, and any other factors (such as moving to a part-time schedule post-baby) that they might need to know to plan appropriately.
  • If you want a custom glider for the nursery (where you get to choose the fabric), order it now!  Several of the big brands take 16-20 weeks to come in after you order them.  We ordered the Little Castle Serenity Glider from Buy Buy Baby.

20 weeks

  • Start your baby registry.  I registered at 3 stores - Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, and Pottery Barn Kids.  I only registered in person at one store (Buy Buy Baby); the other two registries I created online.  For my main registry at Buy Buy Baby, I went sans hubby with two friends who recently had babies to do the bulk of the registry selections.  This gave me the benefit of two experienced moms' advice and minimized the amount of time that my husband had to spend in a baby store.  I went back later with him to make the big decisions (stroller, carseat, etc.)  I'll add another post soon with my baby registry recommendations.

26 weeks

  • Find and book a newborn photographer, if you plan to have professional photographs taken of your newborn.  Just like wedding photographers, you will find options in all price ranges - we found them ranging from $250 to $1300.  We wanted one that included the edited digital images so that we could print newborn announcements ourselves (instead of paying the photographer for the announcements).  It's best to take newborn photos when they are 5-10 days old.  Keep in mind that they are only that tiny once (if you don’t like the pictures, you won’t have a chance at a redo - so don't be cheap!)

28 weeks

  • Pre-register at the hospital where you will deliver.  At ours, you just make an appointment to give them all your insurance and medical history information to speed up the admitting process when you go into labor.  Your hospital will specify when in the pregnancy you need to do this (mine was at 28 weeks).

30-34 weeks

  • Take baby classes at the hospital where you will deliver.  I took Breastfeeding (2 hr), Childbirth and Infant Care (included infant CPR and hospital tour - 8 hr), and Breastfeeding for Working Moms i.e. pumping (1 hr).  I thought all of these were worthwhile.  I didn't take the Lamaze class (8 hr) because I planned to have an epidural, and my doctor said it was unnecessary unless you plan to have a drug-free birth.
  • Get your pertussis (TDap) vaccine and make husband, grandparents, and siblings do the same  (anyone who will be spending a significant amount of time with the baby).  We got ours at Walgreens and insurance covered the cost; it is about $65 without insurance.  Call the pharmacy first to make sure they have the vaccine in stock before you go (I had to call 3 locations before I found one).  Husband and family can get it anytime; pregnant women should get it in the 3rd trimester to pass along the antibodies to the baby.
  • Find a pediatrician - get recommendations from friends, then check to see whether they’re on your insurance.  Set up interviews/consultations with the ones you’re considering (should be about 30 minutes and free - just to meet them, see their office, and get their philosophy on important topics like breastfeeding, antibiotics, vaccinations, etc).  Make sure that the pediatrician has privileges at your hospital - otherwise you will have to find a 2nd pediatrician to check on the baby in the hospital, and then go to your other pediatrician going forward.  At our hospital, we didn't have to do anything once we decided - at the hospital when I delivered they asked who our pediatrician was, and we gave them the name then (they will contact the pediatrician and have them come examine the baby).
  • Have your baby showers!  I had 2; mine were at 33 and 35 weeks. I would try to do your showers earlier than 35 weeks if possible; I felt a little crunched getting everything exchanged, unpacked, washed, and organized that close to the due date.
  • File your FMLA paperwork - my insurance wanted me to do this 30 days in advance of the due date; I did it a little earlier (around 34 weeks).  You will have to sign a consent form for your doctor to release medical information to your insurance company, and I had to provide a form to my doctor to fill out with information regarding my medical “disability”.
  • Order your breast pump from insurance.  Call your insurance company to find out which direct medical suppliers they cover.  Mine gave me 3 options and I ultimately ordered from Aeroflow.  Depending on your insurance plan, many of them will not ship the pump until 30 days before your due date - but I called and filled out the paperwork around 30 weeks and the supplier shipped it as soon as my insurance allowed.  

36 weeks

  • Pack your hospital bag - I did this at 36 weeks but started buying/gathering stuff sooner (around 32 weeks).  I'll add another post soon about what I included in my hospital bag.

37 weeks

  • Install carseats and get them inspected.  We just installed the bases but did not drive around with the carseat in the car; we had the carseat itself ready to go with our hospital bags.  Go to to find a location.  We did it at a hospital - it was free but had to make an appointment.  I was glad that we did this - they say that 75% of people install the carseat incorrectly.  We followed the instruction manual to a T, and they still had several corrections to our installation, so I would definitely recommend having a certified inspector check your installation!
Having everything on my "pregnancy" checklist done by 37 weeks allowed me to relax and not worry too much about the exact timing of baby's arrival - which was a good thing, since I ended up being induced a little early at 39 weeks! 

Is there anything you would add to this list?


  1. This has helped me so much! Thank you for helping me fell less overwhelmed :)

  2. Yes, thank you so much! There's a ton of advice out there but having it in a timeline really helps!


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