Your entire life changes the moment you find out you’re pregnant. While the change can be exhilarating, it can also be overwhelming for first-time parents. When tasks at a job or school seem monumental, it helps to break them down into manageable steps. In the same way, although you can’t foresee all the twists and turns of your pregnancy, having a to-do list for expecting parents can help you cut back on stress.
Switch up Your Diet
What you put into your body will impact your baby’s health, so it’s good to reconsider what you eat from the moment you find out you’re pregnant. For instance, you should start avoiding undercooked foods, unwashed vegetables, and alcohol and start stocking up on nutrient-rich foods. Some go-to pregnancy foods include:
- Lean meats
- Sweet potatoes
- Cooked Eggs
- Dark, leafy vegetables and other iron-rich foods
Along with that, do your research to find alternatives to medications you shouldn’t take while pregnant. You’ll especially want to research medications that target morning sickness and other pregnancy symptoms.
Start a Log
Documenting your journey should be first on the to-do list for expecting parents. Your symptoms will change throughout your pregnancy, from morning sickness to body aches to swelling in your ankles or hands. While these are perfectly normal, it’s good to keep track of your symptoms throughout your pregnancy. This way, if something does occur that is out of the ordinary, you will be able to pinpoint exactly when the symptoms started. Along with that, writing them down helps relieve some of the mental stress of your physical symptoms.
Prepare for Parental Leave
As a parent, you are entitled to a parental leave of at least four weeks in the U.S. For some, the idea of taking so much time off work can be stressful, so start planning your leave well in advance. Make sure to add this to the to-do list for expecting parents. Research your company’s policies, then talk to your employees or coworkers about what your leave will look like. If you delegate tasks for your absence, the transition will be smoother, and you will be able to focus more on your time with your baby.
Set up the Nursery
You don’t want to put off setting up your nursery for too long. The further into your pregnancy you get, the harder it will be to offer help with the design process, and paint VOCs can linger in the air for weeks. You don’t have to overthink the nursery’s design. Start practical by making sure your crib bedding is safe and babyproofing any cabinets. Then look at the decor. If you’re waiting to hear about the baby’s gender, you can focus on a gender-neutral theme or color scheme.
Perhaps the most important item on the to-do list for expecting parents is to simply relax. As much as you want to make sure everything is perfect for your new baby, you also need to be intentional about taking time to rest. A well-rested parent is better for the baby, after all. And as you relax, remind yourself that ticking every box off a new parent to-do list doesn’t determine whether you’re a good mother or father. You do.
Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.