Preparing for baby: your pregnancy checklist

So, you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant and need a little help processing the big news - because after all, it’s quite natural to feel a little overwhelmed. On the other hand, perhaps you’ve known for a while and put off preparations for your now-future-self to handle? Or maybe you’re in the process of trying to conceive and would simply like to know what to expect for this exciting new stage in your life? 

Well, for whatever reason brings you; you’ve come to right place! We’ve pulled together our pregnancy checklist that covers some of the first things you need to think about, where to get expert advice and what to buy...

1. Learn about your pregnancy and birth 

Getting educated on antenatal care and childbirth has so many benefits. For example, it’s proven that maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet during pregnancy, not only helps expectant mothers manage stress but is also linked to little one's brain development, as well as reducing the risk of some birth defects.

Once finding out you’re pregnant, make sure to book in with your GP or midwife as soon as you can. In the UK, you'll have access to the NHS and will attend a number of appointments, scans and screening tests to ensure you and your baby are as well as possible. You'll also have access to their digital maternity tool so you can easily view personal health records and lots of relevant information including the latest evidence and what services are available to you locally. 

Together with your midwife and other health professionals, you'll start making decisions about your care, specific health needs and childbirth. Whether you'd prefer to give birth at home, in a midwifery unit or hospital, it's important to read up on the benefits and risks associated with all options. Plus, when it gets a little closer to your due date you can start thinking about a birth plan, which is the perfect way to communicate your wishes to your health care team during your labour. Some of the questions you may want to answer can include: 

  • who you want as your birth partner
  • what positions you'd like to use during labour
  • what type of pain relief you want to use during labour
  • if you would like any music playing while you give birth
  • how you would like to deliver the placenta

2. Share the news with friends and family      

Even if you are surprised or nervous when finding out you’re pregnant, soon you will feel overjoyed at the thought of your new little arrival on the way. While we know it can be very tempting to share the news with everyone you love right away, many parents-to-be wait until the 12-to-13-week stage, otherwise known as the end of the first trimester, as this is when the risk of miscarriage falls to an average of just 5 percent.

One VIP that you may want to share the news with earlier however, is your other child or children - if you have any. Whilst they may be too young to fully understand, talking to your child about your pregnancy will help ease their mind as your body starts to change or if you're visibly unwell. On the other hand, if you are planning on keeping your pregnancy quiet, you may want to hold off as little ones aren’t always the best secret-keepers, though we love them for it! 

Once you're ready, there are so many fun and creative ways to announce the news and Pinterest is a great place for inspiration! Whether you're planning a  photoshoot, extravagant party or funny social media post, with a little imagination and research, you’ll be sure to find something that says “baby incoming” just the way you want. 

3. Speak with our nursery specialists via one-way video call

One of the first things parents-to-be Google is 'what to buy when having a baby' and with so many products on the market it can be difficult to know what you actually need! 

Luckily, our nursery specialists are on hand to offer bespoke, free of charge and impartial advice via our brilliant video call service. We offer two types of free video-call appointments, instant quick expert opinions i.e.. showing the fold on a particular pushchair or in-depth one-to-one 90 minute nursery appointments. 

For a longer appointment, we'll ask you to complete a questionnaire beforehand to help us create bespoke product suggestions and answer any questions you may have. We'll offer tailored advice that suits your needs, for example whether you live in the city or country, if this is your first or second child, even down to the size of your car boot.

The best part? It can all be done from the comfort of your own home and the video call is only one-way so our advisors can't see you...hello PJs! 

4. Start buying your baby essentials 

Hopefully chatting to our lovely nursery specialists has given you an idea of which products will suit your budget and lifestyle. You can also use other NBS resources like our product buying guides, expert-led blogs and parent tester reviews to provide a 360 view of a whole range of products plus, what real parents have to say about them.

There’s no right or wrong time during your pregnancy to start looking to buy, although you may want to shop some pregnancy saviour essentials like supportive pillows and belly bands before your bump starts to become bigger and heavier.  

Make sure to keep organised. You can do this by downloading our baby checklist to print, share and keep tabs on what you have left to buy. If you're planning a baby shower, be sure to tell friends and family what must-haves you really need and want, so that you don't end up with 10 baby dressing gowns! 

We are always championing responsible shopping and love when a product has an extended life cycle so, if this isn’t your first, make sure to keep lots of your already well-loved products to use with your newborn. 

Finally, if you're not already, be sure to sign up to our mailing list from our homepage for special offers, VIP early access to sales, new product launches and the latest parenting news. Happy shopping! 

5. Pack your hospital bag using our checklist

If you're planning on giving birth outside of the home, one of the last things to tick off later in your pregnancy is your hospital bag. Don't leave this too late because your baby may make an appearance earlier than expected, so we advise to have everything sorted and bags packed before the end of your third trimester, around week 36 - just in case!

We've got another handy checklist for you to download and print off so that you can keep track of what you need to pack. For a complete step by step on what to pack in your hospital bag, discover our blog too. 

One thing is very important to remember (no, not snacks for your birthing partner) - a car seat! Hospitals will not let you leave without a safe car seat for your little one to travel home in. Check out our car seat buying guide for help on picking the perfect one.

 6. Take time for yourself 

Pregnancy can really take it out of you, so have time for yourself when you can...after all you're growing a little human! 

You’ll be going through a lot of changes physically and mentally, so we suggest giving yourself a bit of breathing space to adjust and relax. This could be booking a haircut, a pregnancy yoga class, binge watching your favourite Netflix show or even just a guilt-free afternoon nap - whatever it is that you like to do to recharge your batteries we 100% encourage, and your midwife will too.

Nothing says self-care like a pamper session, so be sure to discover our selection of natural and organic skincare products, designed with mamas in mind and all free from harmful chemicals.

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