Second Trimester Checklist: 14 To Do’s for Your Baby Prep List

July 2, 2020

What to Do (And What Not to Do) In the Second Trimester of Pregnancy

Welcome to the second trimester! Or if you’re not quite there and the first trimester hasn’t exactly been your best friend, hang in there!

There’s good reason that the second trimester is usually considered the best out of the three; you’re likely not feeling sick every day anymore, and your belly is still a pretty manageable size, which means you can still sleep fairly comfortably.

So what else can you expect in the second trimester? What should you have on your shopping list, and what should you make sure is on your pregnancy to do list? Let’s cover the basics.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using one of my links.

1. Book Newborn Photos


I talked briefly about newborn photos in my third trimester checklist post, but ideally, if you are planning to do newborn photos, early in the second trimester is the time to start researching photographers in your area, and to book your session.

Newborn photographers fill up surprisingly quickly, and it can be a hard decision to make, since they can be a big investment.

So start searching now! I would also suggest making a quick spreadsheet as you do your research. I created a doc with roughly this basic info:

  • Photographer/Company Name
  • Website Link
  • Pricing Info (or just a link to their pricing page)
  • Their location/distance from your home (think about traveling with a newborn, the length of the shoot, how you’re going to deal with naps and breastfeeding – and then consider how far you’re willing to travel)
  • Contact Info
  • Whether You’ve Contacted or Not for Availability
  • Why You Liked Them/What Caught Your Eye

I had to keep track of all of this info, because I went down the rabbit hole searching for the perfect photographer, but it was super helpful to have the info all in one place (even if you’re not extra Type A like me).

A Few Helpful Questions to Ask Your Potential Photographers


1. Are digital files included? If so, are all digital photos provided to you, or just a limited number?

2. Is there a limit on the number of family members included in the photos?

3. How long is the session? Is there a charge if you go over time?

4. How long will it take to get your photos to you?

5. Will they provide props or clothing (for you or baby)?

Lastly, another thing to look for is whether they offer any discounts if you book multiple types of sessions, which brings me to…

2. Book Your Maternity Photos

If you’re interested in doing maternity photos, these are also something you’ll want to book sooner rather than later.

As I alluded to, sometimes photographers will have special package deals if you decide to do maternity photos and newborn photos with them, so it’s good to decide early on if you want any other types of photos done.

I never opted to do maternity photos, because the cost was so prohibitive in our city, but I do wish I had done them! They are definitely not necessary, but are a great way to document your pregnancy.

3. Finish Your Baby Registry

It’s a good idea to finalize your baby registry during the second trimester, especially if you are planning to have a baby shower.

Registries are obviously the best way to make sure you don’t receive a lot of items you either already have or don’t plan to use.

Spending a lot of time returning or exchanging things is not what you want to have to do in those last few weeks before baby’s arrival, so work on finishing up your registry with at least the basics.

Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to What Newborn Babies Actually Need

Not sure where to register for your baby? There are tons of great options, but we used Pottery Barn Kids – mainly for their beautiful linens – and Amazon for both babies.

I love PBKids quality, and really liked the designs on their crib bedding. They also offer a 20% completion discount.

Amazon, of course, has an amazing selection, but they also have a few other incentives to start a registry with them, like a guide to work you through each category of baby item you need, and a great completion bonus to use on future orders from your registry.

In addition to those two features, Amazon will also send you a free box of baby stuff if you complete your registry (which basically means adding an item from each of their recommended categories), and a $10 purchase.

4. Start Designing the Nursery

Designing a nursery can be a ton of fun, but one key thing to remember – you don’t have to have a Pinterest perfect nursery! Wondering what not to do in the second trimester? Please don’t stress yourself out over setting up the perfect nursery.

Take a step back, and focus on a few key things.

First, get a handle on what colors you would like to have. Pinterest is amazing for getting ideas for your nursery color scheme and design.

Second, make sure you have the basic furniture your baby will need.

A crib, a changing table – or alternatively, a dresser with a changing pad on top (dual purpose stuff is a great way to save money!), and a rocking chair for feedings are a great start.

Also think about any decor you’d like for the walls, like a wall decal or artwork – I love Etsy for these type of purchases, because there are so many options and styles available.


As an example, the decal above is an Etsy purchase we put up in my daughter’s room. It is peel and stick, so it’s fairly easy to put up, and it completely transformed her room.

5. Invest in Stretch Mark Cream

I don’t know that there’s any magic formula to truly prevent stretch marks, but I do think it can’t hurt to give your skin some extra TLC while it’s stretching and adjusting to baby.

The item I used is super simple and common – cocoa butter! I would slather this on at night before bed, and in the mornings after showering.

After two babies and using this cream almost every day, I ended up with only a few very small stretch marks near my belly button (and stretch marks do run in my family).

It’s definitely worth a try, and either way, it’s great for your skin!

6. Buy a Few Key Pieces of Maternity Clothing

I did not invest in a lot of maternity clothes, because they tend to be on the expensive side, and there are so many alternatives and ways to get around buying a ton of different pieces that you’ll only use for a few months.

The Maternity Pieces You Should Have in Your Closet

–One or two pairs of maternity jeans.

Loft has some great options and I love that they carry petite maternity pants.

–At least two pairs of maternity leggings.

Leggings are basically the mom uniform, and there’s really nothing more comfortable to wear during pregnancy.

I really liked the quality and thickness of Loft’s maternity leggings, but note that if you buy them in petite, you don’t want to put them in dryer. Mine shrunk quite a bit in length.

–One or two pairs of maternity shorts.

I love Pinkblush for maternity short options (they have a huge selection). I still wear my drawstring pair, even now, almost 2 years postpartum.

Target has also some really cute, affordable pairs like this one.

Two or three maternity dresses for the last few months, especially if you are pregnant or due in the summer.

Again, Loft and Pinkblush were my favorites for dresses, but Target has a much bigger selection now, and their prices are great as always.

Make sure you buy some that are nursing friendly – like this one, this one, or this one – so that you can use them postpartum as well!

Related Reading: The Best Nursing Friendly Tops & Dresses

–Nursing bras

Go ahead and invest in these now – they’ll be much more comfortable than a regular bra as you get into the second and third trimesters. These Bravado bras are so comfortable and were my favorite.

The main rule of thumb with maternity clothes, is to not buy too much.

It may be more worth it to buy regular clothes, particularly tops, one size larger. Adding the word “maternity” to an item tends to make it much more expensive, so normal clothes are usually a good way to go.

Another trick that I used so that I didn’t have to buy a ton of maternity pants — take a small hair tie and loop it over the button on your pants, pull it through the hole where the button goes, and then slide it back over your button. You instantly have extra room!

This works like a charm and can save you a lot of money.

7. Keep Taking Bump Photos

Don’t forget to take your bump photos! This is one thing I made sure to do almost every week of my first pregnancy, and I LOVE looking back on those photos.

Try to take them in the same spot and facing the same direction, and if you’re really ambitious – in the same outfit – so that you can really see the changes week to week.

8. Stop Sleeping On Your Stomach and Back – and Rest Up!


In the second trimester, you’ll finally start to see your belly pop. For some people, that won’t happen until later in the trimester, and for others, it may be a little earlier (either way, don’t worry).

Take advantage of not having a big belly, and really rest up!

It becomes much harder to sleep with a big belly in the way, but the bigger culprit is the constant bladder pressure from baby, which – surprise! – will have you heading to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Another thing you’ll want to do is start trying to sleep on your side as much as possible.

Side sleeping is safest while you’re pregnant, since you’re not putting as much pressure on baby as you would on your stomach or back (yes, even sleeping on your back can be not great, because it can cause decreased circulation in your heart and baby.

The best way to help you not sleep on your back, leads me to the next second trimester to do item…

9. Buy a Pregnancy Pillow

Pregnancy pillows are the best, and there’s a good chance you won’t ever want to give up your pillow, so this is one item that should definitely be on your second trimester shopping list.

Pregnancy pillows are amazingly comfortable – they basically give you a huge pillow to hug, and depending on how you sleep, it can support your growing belly, taking some of the pressure off.

I chose this pregnancy pillow because of the great reviews, and it absolutely lived up to the hype. I also used it postpartum as a breastfeeding pillow when I didn’t have my actual breastfeeding pillow nearby.

10. Start the Conversation with Your Boss

This is probably one of the less fun pregnancy checklist items, but it’s a must-do.

Once you’re out of the first trimester and ready, go ahead sit down and have a conversation with your boss.

Try to plan out the conversation and any questions you have ahead of time, and also do some research on your company’s maternity leave policy so that you’re prepared.

11. Sign Up for a Prenatal Class


Time to sign up for your birthing class! We considered not doing one before our first baby arrived, but decided to sign up last minute, and it was well worth it.

The class we took covered everything from what to expect with epidurals and c-sections, to the newborn procedures hospitals do, and some breastfeeding education.

Check with your hospital to see if they offer classes, or alternatively, you can search for doulas in your area to see if they offer private or group classes.

(Our childbirth class is actually how we got connected with a doula in our city who ended up coming to our rescue postpartum and saving my breastfeeding experience. You can read all about my best breastfeeding tips for new moms here.)

12. Plan Your Babymoon

If you haven’t already, consider planning a babymoon!

Babymoons don’t have to be anything fancy or overly lavish. A quick weekend trip is a great way to celebrate your last few months together as a family of two (or more if this isn’t your first).

Traveling during the era of coronavirus is obviously a bit different, so one option is to take a trip somewhere within driving distance, and stay in a private rental property like an AirBnB or VRBO, instead of a hotel.

13. Make a Dentist Appointment

I remember this one kind of catching me by surprise, but it’s a good idea to get your teeth cleaned – and stay on schedule with your dental visits – particularly when you’re pregnant.

You know by now that pregnancy hormones do all sorts of wonderful things, so it should come as no surprise that they can also affect your teeth and overall dental health.

So make sure you haven’t forgotten about going to the dentist, and find out when you’re due for your next cleaning. If it’s really close to your due date, I would try to schedule it early so you can go before baby’s arrival.

14. Keep Working Out, But Don’t Over-Do It


One of the best ways to keep your energy up and avoid gaining more weight than you need to during pregnancy, is to continue working out and staying active.

For me, that meant going to dance class until I was about ready to pop (with doctor’s approval of course), but there are plenty of other safe ways to stay active, if dance isn’t your thing.

Try prenatal yoga, go for daily walks, or do any other low impact exercise to keep yourself feeling good and as energized as possible. And as always, remember to listen to your body so you don’t overdo it!


Related Pregnancy Tips and New Mom Articles


Second Trimester Pregnancy To Do List for Moms to Be


  • Lisa July 7, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    You got some important steps for this trimester of pregnancy. Resting up is so important so you don’t overdue it, especially since this trimester is typically when you’re starting to feel better. Great tips!

    • Lisa July 7, 2020 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks Lisa! And definitely agree on resting up – it’s so easy to overdo it when you have all your energy back again.

  • Bre Paulson July 9, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    I could not agree more with the pregnancy pillow… and resting up while you still can!

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    Welcome! I’m Lisa – a mom of two, figuring out this mom thing and sharing what I learn along the way. I love affordable, easy fashion, finding new ways to organize, and sharing all things motherhood. I’m so glad you’re here!

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