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Use this list to keep track of all your second-trimester tasks, from investigating childbirth classes to getting your teeth cleaned and creating a baby registry.
Activities for your second trimester
Find a prenatal exercise class
If you haven't already, now is a good time to start a regular, pregnancy-friendly workout. Joining a class can help motivate you to stick with it. And many women find that prenatal exercise classes are a wonderful way to bond with and get support from other moms-to-be. Some good options include water exercise, prenatal yoga or Pilates, a walking group, or a prenatal dance class.
Find out more about pregnancy exercise.
Learn about second-trimester prenatal visits and tests
During the second trimester, you'll typically see your caregiver once every four weeks unless you have a condition or complications that call for more frequent checkups. You'll have blood tests, such as the glucose screening test to check for gestational diabetes, and you'll be offered screening tests or amniocentesis to test for Down syndrome as well as other chromosomal abnormalities, genetic disorders, and neural tube defects. You'll also likely see your baby in an ultrasound!
Find out what your doctor or midwife will do at each visit and learn more about prenatal testing.
Start shopping for maternity clothes
Most moms-to-be start looking pregnant between 12 and 18 weeks. Even if you're not visibly preggers yet, you may find you're more comfortable in maternity clothes. Keep in mind that you'll probably need different types of maternity clothes for different stages of your pregnancy, so it may make sense to buy just a few key pieces at a time and more as you need them.
Check out 10 maternity staples that will help you look stylish for any occasion.
Decide whether to hire a professional labor coach (doula)
A doula is a trained labor coach who assists you during labor and delivery. She provides you with continuous emotional support, as well as assistance with other non-medical aspects of your care. If you're interested in hiring a doula, it's a good idea to start your search in the second trimester.
Find out more about doulas.
Plan some adult time
Even though your excitement over having a baby is revving up, take a moment to enjoy this baby-free time. Buy tickets for live music or a performance (some experts advise against loud rock concerts during pregnancy, but other than that you should be fine). Go to a late-night movie. Browse for hours in your favorite store. Wait in line at your favorite Sunday-morning breakfast place because you can.
It's not that you won't be able to do these things after you have a baby in your life, it's just a little less complicated now, so take advantage.
Start moisturizing your belly
Slathering on the lotion may not prevent stretch marks, but it will reduce itchiness!
Find out more about stretch marks and itchy skin during pregnancy.
Narrow your baby names list
By now you probably have a list of baby names you like. Try this exercise to narrow your list and get on the same page with your partner:
Make a list of ten names you like. Have your partner do the same. Trade lists and each cross out one name on the other's list that you don't love. Keep taking turns until you have a set of names you can both live with.
For inspiration, check out our Baby Names Finder and baby name inspiration lists.
Decide whether you'll find out the sex of your baby
Boy, girl – or big surprise? If you have an ultrasound or an amnio coming up, you'll need to decide whether you want to know your baby's sex before his or her birth. (In a our site poll, 85 percent of moms-to-be said they wanted to find out the sex of their baby ahead of time, while the rest preferred to wait.)
Tip: If you want to keep your baby's sex a secret, let your caregiver and the technician know right away so they don't inadvertently blurt it out in the middle of the exam or while reviewing your test results.
Find out more about learning the sex of your baby.
Jot down your crazy pregnancy dreams
You may find that your dream life shifts into high gear during pregnancy. It's probably in part because you're interrupting a dream-filled cycle when you wake up to pee; cope with heartburn, leg cramps, restless legs, or a backache; or to shift to a more comfortable position. Waking up during REM sleep makes you more likely to remember your dreams.
Learn about deciphering your pregnancy dreams.
Look into childbirth classes
These classes can fill up fast, so start your search now. Classes vary quite a bit in their approach. Some are spread out over several weeks, while others are as short as a day. Your hospital probably offers classes, but you may want to take a specialized class elsewhere. (our site offers a convenient and free online birth class that you can watch as many times as you'd like from the comfort of your home.)
To find an in-person childbirth class near you, check with your hospital or get recommendations from your healthcare provider, or visit the International Childbirth Education Association member directory to find a childbirth educator in your area.
Learn more about childbirth classes.
Do some financial planning
Becoming a parent means new financial responsibilities – and tasks like buying life and disability insurance, making a will, starting a college savings account for your child, and figuring out how your baby will affect your tax status.
If these to-do's seem daunting, get the ball rolling by finding out more about financial planning for new parents and saving for college.
Prepare your older children
If you have an older child or children, the new baby may rock their world even more than yours. Fortunately, your family has several months to get used to the idea – and there are things you can do to help set the stage for a new brother or sister. And as your due date approaches, make sure you've lined up someone to care for your children during the birth and afterward.
Prepare your pets
Pets also benefit from special pre-baby preparation. Local trainers may offer classes, or you can turn to books, articles, or videos for tips on teaching your pet – and eventually your baby – how to respect each other. You can start with our expert answer on getting your pet ready for a new baby. And consider whether you'll need to make arrangements with a pet sitter or dog walker for when you're giving birth.
Start your childcare search
If you'll need childcare for your baby, you may want to begin investigating your options now. Start by reviewing the pluses and minuses of daycare centers, nanny care, home daycare, and relative care. If you live in an area where daycare centers are in high demand, consider going on a few tours and putting your name on waiting lists now, even if you aren't sure what you'll do. When the time comes, you may be grateful for the options.
Get your teeth cleaned
Not only is it safe to get your teeth cleaned during pregnancy, it's highly recommended. Women with good oral health during and after pregnancy are less likely to transmit cavity-causing bacteria to their babies – through the sharing of spoons, for example.
Find out more about going to the dentist when you're pregnant.
Celebrate your halfway point
At 20 weeks, you're halfway through your pregnancy. Hooray! Celebrate by splurging on a pedicure, a prenatal massage, or a new outfit that shows off your baby bump. Now's also the time to hang out with your partner, friends, and family and generally live it up before your baby arrives.
Start sleeping on your side
Once you reach mid-pregnancy, many caregivers recommend that you avoid sleeping on your back and sleep on your side instead (especially on your left side, which may improve blood flow to your placenta and reduce swelling). To make side-sleeping more comfortable, you may want to place a pillow between your legs, under your hip, or behind your back.
Find out more about the best sleep position during pregnancy.
Start doing Kegel exercises
Kegels can help prevent urine leaks during and after pregnancy, keep hemorrhoids at bay, and improve the muscle tone of your vagina, making sex more enjoyable.
Find out how to do Kegels.
Create a baby registry
Even if you don't like the idea of asking for specific gifts, family and friends will soon be wondering what you need or want – particularly if someone's throwing you a baby shower. If you make a registry, you'll know exactly what to tell them.
Keep in mind that friends and family members with young kids may have lots of great, gently used baby gear to lend you. Consider asking them for used stuff first – then you can register for just the things you really want to have new.
Find out what gear and supplies you're likely to need in your baby's first year.
Think about your maternity leave
If you're planning to take maternity leave, check in with your human resources department or your supervisor now. Find out what benefits you're eligible for and fill out all the paperwork you can in advance.
Make sure you understand how your leave is set up and what happens if you need bedrest, give birth prematurely, or have other complications that could affect your ability to work. Start thinking about when you'd like to stop working, how you'll wrap up projects before you go, and which tasks and assignments you'll pass to co-workers.
Find out how much leave you're entitled to.
Check your rings
It's common to have some swelling in your fingers as your pregnancy progresses. If your rings are feeling the least bit snug, do yourself a favor and take them off now before they get stuck on your finger. If you can't bear to be separated from your wedding band or another important ring, put it on a chain and wear it close to your heart.
Consider a babymoon
Now that you're into your second trimester, you're likely free of morning sickness, more energized, and feeling more like your old self again. Unfortunately, the third trimester often brings renewed fatigue, so now's the perfect time to take one last trip before your baby's born.
See what moms wish they'd known about planning the perfect babymoon.
Think about your baby shower
According to etiquette, moms-to-be usually don't throw their own baby showers (have a relative, friend, or co-worker do this for you), but you can certainly voice your preferences on the theme, games, and guest list.
Find out more about baby shower planning.
Avoid unsafe activities
Avoid sports or activities that carry a high risk of falling or that may cause trauma to your abdomen. That means that things like surfing, contact sports, snowboarding, downhill skiing, and even some amusement park rides are off-limits. And scuba diving is a definite no-go.
Write a letter to your baby
This can be a wonderful keepsake to share with your child later. Go with your heart and follow your inspiration. If you need help getting started, consider writing about a perfect day with your baby and what you'll do together; your hopes, dreams, and wishes for your baby; what being a mother means to you; or your definition of what makes a good mother. If writing isn't your thing, put together a collage or a memory box of pregnancy mementos.
Tackle your home improvement projects
The nesting instinct may be kicking in … if so, make the most of it! In addition to organizing your closets and readying your baby's space, take stock of the things you'd like to fix around the house before your little one arrives. Let your partner or a handy friend take care of anything hazardous – you shouldn't be exposing yourself to chemicals, moving furniture, or getting up on ladders now.
Check out our childproofing checklist for important to-do's.
Dedicate time to your partner
In the midst of all your baby preparations, take time to bond with your partner and celebrate what connects you and makes you love one another. A few ideas: Write down all the things you love about each other, describe why you think the other will be a great parent, or just go for a stroll while holding hands. Try to do something at least once a week that clearly communicates the importance of your partner in your life, says clinical psychologist Diane Sanford.
Get more ideas for sweet ways to bond with your partner.
In the second trimester, most women need about 340 additional calories a day. Here's a trick to make those calories count: Create a simple chart of the basic food groups and post it on your refrigerator. At the end of the day, note what you've eaten. For your bedtime snack, pick something that fulfills whatever category is lacking that day – yogurt (or a bowl of ice cream!) if you need more dairy, for example, or an orange if you need an extra serving of fruit.
Get tips on what "eating for two" really means.
To-do's for every trimester
During pregnancy you need about 10 8-ounce glasses of fluid per day (80 fluid ounces) plus an additional 8 ounces for each hour of light activity. Every woman is different, so don't worry if you end up needing a little more or less. Keep an eye on the color of your urine – if it's dark yellow or cloudy, you need to drink more. Clear or pale yellow urine means you're well-hydrated.
Find out why staying hydrated is so important.
Do some stretching
Stretching enhances your flexibility, prevents your muscles from tightening, and makes you feel looser and more relaxed.
Check out these soothing pregnancy stretches.
Sneak in a pregnancy power nap
When fatigue makes it hard to get through the day, revive yourself with a 15-minute snooze. If you're at work, find a place you can escape (close your office door, use a conference room, even sit in your car) and set the alarm on your cell phone.
Pack healthy snacks
When hunger attacks, it helps to have snacks that pack a nutritional punch ready in your desk, purse, or car. And if you're suffering from morning sickness, munching on a simple snack like crackers throughout the day or before you get out of bed can ease nausea.
Get ideas for healthy pregnancy snacks.
Try a relaxation technique
Deep breathing, guided imagery, prenatal yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation can help you stay on an even keel – and sleep better.
Learn how to do these relaxation techniques.
Take a quick walk
A 15- to 20-minute walk can help boost your energy levels when you're exhausted.
Find out why walking is such a great pregnancy exercise.
Eat a pregnancy superfood
To give your pregnancy a nutritional boost, nosh on colorful fruits and veggies, eggs, salmon, sweet potatoes, yogurt, walnuts, beans, and more.
See the other pregnancy superfoods.
Write down your pregnancy memories
Whether you keep a formal journal or just jot down a few notes when the spirit moves you, you'll love sharing these pregnancy stories with your child someday.
Get tips on writing a pregnancy diary.
Track your weight gain
Your caregiver will monitor your pregnancy weight to make sure you're in a healthy range and gaining at an appropriate pace. You can also use our pregnancy weight gain tool to stay on track.
Use our Pregnancy Weight Tracker.
Do something nice for yourself
If you're feeling up to it, go to a movie, have dinner out, get a pedicure, or do something else you enjoy. You deserve it – pregnancy is hard work!
Get ideas for looking and feeling great during pregnancy.
Check in with a friend
Pregnancy is an emotional rollercoaster. Ease your mind by sharing your fears, hopes, and excitement with a friend or a fellow mom-to-be in BabyCenter's Community.
You may also want to check out our list of what not to worry about when you're expecting.
Know the signs of a pregnancy problem
Here's a rundown of symptoms that could be a sign of a problem. If you have any of these complaints, call your doctor or midwife immediately.
Take belly photos
It's a great way to document your growing bump. For inspiration, check out our pregnant bellies photo gallery.
Have sex if you feel like it
If you're feeling amorous (and you don't have any complications that may make sex dangerous), go ahead – you won't hurt the baby.
Find out more about having sex during pregnancy.