The Only Second Trimester To Do List You’ll Need! From an L&D Nurse

Last Updated: January 19, 2024
Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

By Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

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Are you looking for a second trimester to do list that will keep you organized and on track as your pregnancy progresses? You’re in the right place, mama!

The second trimester is such an exciting time for many mamas. Frustrating first trimester symptoms start to subside, your belly will likely pop soon, and it’s generally known as the “honeymoon” of pregnancy.

It’s also a GREAT time to get a leg up on some of the planning and organizing necessary before baby’s arrival, and dial in on healthy habits that might have slipped during the #survivalmode days of the first trimester.

Here I’ve compiled the ultimate second trimester to do list so that you know exactly what you can do to stay on top of all the things. Because if you know, you know – your due date is going to be here in a blink!

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1. Dial in on nutrition and hydration

Now that you’re (hopefully) getting some relief from pregnancy nausea, it’s a great time to put some attention on your nutrition. And don’t sweat it if you’ve been mostly surviving on carbs for the past 12 odd weeks. There’s no time like the present to get back on the right foot.

Fueling your body with the right nutrients and foods will help so much with your overall energy and mood during pregnancy. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight gain for your body type.

Let’s take a look at some pregnancy nutrition essentials based on info put out by ACOG:

  • Folic Acid: Also known as Folate, is an important nutrient for all pregnant mamas because it helps prevent major birth defects to baby’s brain and spine (neural tube defects)
  • Iron: Helps your body make more blood to bring oxygen to your fetus. During pregnancy you need double the amount as when you’re not pregnant due to the increased blood volume
  • Calcium: Builds baby’s bones and teeth! And if you’re not getting enough, your body will take what it needs from your teeth and bones. Be sure to hit the 1000 mg daily recommendations during pregnancy
  • Vitamin D: Works with calcium to develop those baby teeth and bones. Strive for 600 IUs per day!
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These are literally the building blocks of your baby’s brain! Recent research is also showing a link between pregnant women who consume recommended amounts of omega-3s with a decreased risk in their baby or child developing autism or other neurological disabilities
  • Eating a balanced plate: Eating a variety of foods from all five food groups will help you get dietary sources of nutrients, keep your energy up, and boost your overall health during your pregnancy. Yes, your prenatal vitamin catches you where you fall short, but a healthy diet is important!
  • Staying hydrated: Dehydration can lead to low amniotic fluid, preterm labor, more Braxton Hicks contractions, swelling, and headaches. Drink up, mama!
  • Achieving a healthy weight gain: Focusing on prenatal nutrition (and healthy eating) will keep your weight gain in the healthy range for you
  • Taking a high-quality prenatal vitamin: You’ve probably been taking a prenatal, but you can always switch! I absolutely love Ritual Prenatals. I researched prenatals like crazy and it’s what I took in my second pregnancy, definitely check them out!

Looking for a more in-depth resource? Check out this article that has reviews of some of the best pregnancy nutrition books out there.

2. Assemble a versatile maternity wardrobe

Has your bump popped yet mama? If not, it’s probably going to happen soon. But there are a bunch of factors that can make you pop sooner or later than others (and there’s no right or wrong time to start showing!).

Your height, weight before pregnancy, and whether or not this is your first pregnancy can all affect how quickly you’ll show. I showed WAY faster the second time around!

Whatever the case, eventually your belly will stop looking like you might have just eaten one too many burritos and more like there’s a baby cooking in there. So the second trimester is definitely the time to invest in some maternity clothes!

Top tips for getting the most out of your maternity wardrobe:

  • Get a Bellaband! It will let you stay in your pre-pregnancy pants longer because it holds your pants up without you having to button them
  • Choose items that will grow with you and transition between seasons
  • Motherhood Maternity leggings are life!
  • Get maternity staples that work with your non-maternity cardigans and looser clothes
  • Try to choose a palette of colors that work well together so you can mix and match. Sticking to neutrals can make this easier
  • Invest in items that are comfortable and casual (like maternity t-shirts), but can be dressed up with the right jewelry, make-up, or other accessories
  • Treat yourself to a few items that make you feel great. For me that was a pair of nice (and comfy!) maternity skinny jeans that I could easily dress up or down. If you work in a dressier environment, it might be some killer maternity dress pants
  • Get maternity underwear! It’s LIFE CHANGING
  • Buy nursing bras, camis, and tanks now if your cup size has changed instead of just buying bigger bras. You’ll save yourself when postpartum comes around and you need nursing bras and camis anyway. Larken nursing and maternity tanks and bras are the BEST. Literally the softest and most comfortable tank I own

Honestly, the best place to start is by taking an inventory of the clothes you have that still work during pregnancy. Cardigans, wide-band leggings, long tank tops, maxi skirts, and anything with an empire-waist all transition super well. Then build a maternity wardrobe from there!

3. Add movement to your routine

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A post shared by Liesel Teen BSN, RN | Pregnancy + Birth (@mommy.labornurse)

All right, I know that not everyone out there was even active BEFORE pregnancy, but I want you to hear me out. You see, moving your body and incorporating fitness into your pregnancy has SO MANY benefits!

The impact of regular exercise on birth has some pretty interesting research surrounding it, and I always want to spread the word!

Let’s take a look:

  1. Shorter labor and delivery: This 2018 study showed that women who exercise during pregnancy will have a significantly shorter labor AND delivery than those who don’t
  2. Higher chance of a natural birth: The same study showed a correlation between regular exercise during pregnancy to less epidural use during labor
  3. Keeps mood swings at bay and may decrease risk of PPD: Exercise releases feel good endorphins that make you literally happier
  4. Boosts your energy: When you’re exhausted, it can be hard to get a work out in, but you WILL feel more energized if you can get yourself moving
  5. Can help you meet your target weight gain: Healthy weight gains are different for every mama, but exercise can help you keep your number in check
  6. Minimizes pregnancy discomforts: Prenatal fitness helps with back, hip and pelvic pain, leg and joint swelling, eases constipation, and can help you sleep better!
  7. Easier postpartum recovery: A fitness routine designed for pregnant mamas will help you strengthen your pelvic floor and core now for an easier recovery after birth

And the good news is that there are lots of ways to get moving during pregnancy. Adding a brisk daily walk to the end of your day or lunch break is a great place to get started!

Prenatal yoga is a low-impact way to work out that tones and strengthens. Mamas with summer babies often LOVE swimming as a way to cool down, reduce swelling, and get their bodies moving.

4. Decide if you want to find out baby’s gender

It’s estimated that a little over HALF of pregnant women in the US choose to find out the gender. I’m team green over here, but I know what a big deal this is for so many of you!

And if you are team green, hold strong! I loved being surprised at both of my births – but also know how tempting it can be to have them tell you during your anatomy scan.

Some fun old wives’ tales about whether it’s a boy or girl:

  • Baby’s heart beat is less than 140 beats per minute? It’s a boy. Higher? It’s a girl
  • Skin broken out and full of blemishes? It’s a girl! She’s “stealing” your beauty
  • Craving sour or salty? It’s a boy. Sweets? It’s a girl
  • Excessive headaches? It’s a boy
  • Excessive morning sickness? It’s a girl

There’s WAY more where that came from here!

To find out or not?

  • Will finding out the gender make it easier for you to plan or prepare?
  • Will it be easier to choose a name if you know the gender?
  • Will the surprise of finding out the gender at birth motivate you during labor?
  • Do you like the idea of such a huge surprise?
  • Would knowing, or not knowing, help you bond with baby better?
  • How does your partner feel about it?

If you do decide to find out, when? During the ultrasound? Later privately? At a gender reveal party? So many decisions!

  • If you are having a gender reveal party, make sure the technician knows! Most are happy to give the gender results in a sealed envelope. Bring one along to make their life easier
  • If you don’t mind finding out right then and there, tell them that, too! Many love delivering the good news
  • If you want to have a little private reveal later with just your partner or immediate family, still go the envelope route to make things easy

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5. Learn about the 20-week anatomy scan

The 20-week anatomy scan is a routine ultrasound recommended for ALL pregnant mamas. It’s a pregnancy milestone that is usually highly anticipated! It’s a chance to see baby looking more like, well, a baby!

Other than getting a glimpse of your sweet babe (maybe even sucking their thumb!) here’s what else is being checked out:

  • That your baby’s growth and development (anatomy) is all on track
  • Images of all the major organs
  • Detailed look at the inflows and outflows of the heart
  • A look at your uterus and the position of your placenta
  • Amount of amniotic fluid

What complications might come to light during this scan?

  • Spina bifida
  • Heart defects or anomalies
  • Kidney problems
  • Missing limbs
  • Cleft palate
  • Placenta previa
  • Too much or too little amniotic fluid

If any measurements or imaging appears abnormal, your provider will discuss further testing or recommend more imaging to determine the proper course of action.

Get WAY more info and advice related to your 20-week ultrasound over in this blog post

6. Work on your baby registry

If you haven’t started your baby registry yet, now is a great time! Based on your anatomy scan, you can let the news of your baby’s gender help you with your decisions. If you’re still team green, stay strong! There are so many good gender-neutral options these days.

Why start the registry now? Well, most mamas have their baby showers at the beginning of the third trimester. You’ll want to have the registry ready to go before your shower invites go out so registry info can be included.

It also takes a shockingly long time to make a baby registry! Seriously! There are SO many baby products out there, it can feel pretty overwhelming.

Most baby registry sites do a good job of providing helpful checklists but be careful about just following them blindly. You probably don’t really need everything they recommend.

Related Reading: The Mommy Labor Nurse Baby Registry Guide

My top tips to get the most out of your registry:

  • Prioritize big ticket items like a travel system, crib, video monitor, or baby carrier
  • Think about YOUR lifestyle when picking items
  • Don’t register for clothes – people will get these for you anyway!
  • If you REALLY want to register for clothes, be sure to register for larger sizes through baby’s first year
  • Register for items that will grow with your child, like cribs that convert to headboards, dressers with changing table converter kits, and car seats that go from infant to preschooler
  • Consider what you’re comfortable with getting secondhand and leave those off the registry, that leaves more room for the stuff you want to get new
  • If you want to register at different places, group your registries using a site like BabyList to make it easier for gifters
  • Choose a registry that allows group gifting so that more than one person can contribute to more expensive items
  • Learn about your registry’s completion discount – it’s a way to get remaining items at a discounted price but there’s usually a deadline you have to make the purchases by

Related Reading: Creating Your Second Baby Registry

Find inspiration for baby’s nursery, too

Setting up baby’s nursery and their safe sleep space in your room is such a fun part of pregnancy! And while most do this task in the third trimester, it’s good to start planning and thinking about it as you create your registry so that you can put nursery items on there.

I had a pretty small space to work with when I was setting up my second baby’s nursery, so I put together a resourceful article all about that to help you out.

Related Reading: Fun and Affordable Small Nursery Ideas + Gender Neutral Nursery Tips

7. Collaborate on your baby shower

As an L&D nurse, MOST of my pregnancy content is about the physical aspects of pregnancy, your care, and my biggest passion — the actual BIRTH!

But no second trimester to do list would be complete without talking about your baby shower. It’s such a fun and light-hearted part of pregnancy that’s a big deal, especially for first time mamas. Right around now is a good time to connect with loved ones and family members about a baby shower.

All right mama, here are common baby shower questions answered:

  • Typically, mamas-to-be don’t throw their own showers, but instead a female relative or friend will offer to host it
  • Mamas can still have a hand in the planning and decisions
  • Some baby showers have themes and some don’t. Pinterest is a great place to get some ideas! Collaborate with your hostess by creating a shared board
  • Same goes for games. Some mamas love them; others don’t want any. I personally feel like a few make it feel more like a shower but that’s just me
  • Traditionally, baby showers are a ladies-only event, but “jack and jill” showers are becoming more and more popular
  • Most mamas have their baby showers in the 7th or 8th month of pregnancy. 6-8 weeks before you’re due seems to be the sweet spot
  • Definitely make sure your registry info goes out with your invites! It’s a must
  • Thank you notes after the fact are also important. Be sure someone is taking notes while you open gifts to help make this process easier for you
  • Pamper yourself a bit and get a cute outfit for the baby shower day. You deserve this!
  • If it’s not your first baby, you can totally still celebrate! A lot of second+ time mamas opt for a baby “sprinkle” instead that’s a bit more of a low-key event

A little list of baby shower to-dos to get you started:

  • If no one has offered, reach out to a loved one about hosting or decide to host your own!
  • Decide on a baby shower budget with your hostess, especially if you know funding will be a stress
  • Pick a date for your shower
  • Decide on a venue
  • Finalize your registry before the invites go out
  • Get a guest list together for your host

8. Create a maternity leave plan

All right, this might seem like a lifetime away, but I really recommend thinking through the logistics for your eventual return to work in the second trimester. Doing some prep now will make for a smoother maternity leave AND eventual return to work.

Trust me when I tell you that once the third trimester comes along, you’re going to be focused 100% on birth and newborn prep. Getting these logistics taken care of, or at least getting the ball rolling on them, will help you stress less down the road.

Maternity leave plan

  • If you haven’t already, it’s time to sit down with your boss and share your pregnancy and leave plan. Before you schedule this meeting, have an idea of what you’re thinking in terms of your leave
  • Talk to HR to find out about pay during your maternity leave. Can you apply sick time and vacation days? Can you apply short term disability? Does your employer offer any paid parental leave?
  • What can YOUR family afford in terms of leave? Take a look at your budget and see what’s realistic
  • Be creative! If financially you can’t take a full 12 weeks off, consider doing 8 weeks and then going back part-time, or maybe negotiating a remote work schedule to ease back into it
  • What about your partner? You may want to stagger their leave with yours (if they get it!) to keep your babe at home longer rather than taking your leaves at the same time

Start looking into childcare

  • No, I’m not completely insane! In some areas around the US, it’s necessary to get on waiting lists for daycares this far in advanced. Even if you’re hiring a nanny, finding one that you’re comfortable with for your newborn can take time
  • If you decide to go the daycare route, understand the pros and cons of daycare centers vs. home daycares. Be sure to tour facilities and ask lots of questions!
  • If you’re leaning towards a nanny, try to have someone lined up before you’re due. That way, they can spend some time WITH you and baby during your maternity leave. It’ll make you feel WAY more comfortable when the time comes to head back to work

Stay at home option?

  • Can you switch to part-time hours or flexible remote work that would let you stay home with baby longer (or indefinitely?)
  • Might you quit your job entirely?
  • Ever consider a work from home side hustle that might give you the financial freedom to stay at home? Blogging is actually a great option! My girl Suzie has a great course on How to Start a Mom Blog if you’re interested

9. Begin to think about your birth

I love the whole pregnancy process, but it’s no secret that preparing mamas for birth is my JAM. It’s why I started Mommy Labor Nurse in the first place! The third trimester is when you’ll really get into birth-related topics and L&D prep.

But, depending on where you’re at in your second trimester, that might sneak up pretty fast! So I wanted to include a little birth check-in on this second trimester to do list.

You see MOST first time mamas (and second, and third…) report having at least some degree of anxiety or fear about birth. That’s TOTALLY natural. The best way to address that fear is to try to understand what it is you’re afraid of about birth. From there, you can overcome your fear and anxiety.

And how’s that you may ask? 9 times out of 10 it’s with the right birth education! Specifically, birth education that directly addresses the part that makes YOU nervous. At this point in pregnancy, you might not even know how you’re feeling about birth yet, and that’s okay.

Start to imagine it, let questions pop into your head, figure out what makes you nervous, and what you feel confident about.

Some things to get your brainstorm started:

  • Is an unmedicated birth something I’m interested in?
  • Do I feel confident in my ability to birth naturally?
  • What could I do to get there?
  • Am I nervous about the pain associated with childbirth?
  • Would planning for pain management (such as an epidural) from the get-go make me feel more confident?
  • How will I feel if I need a planned C-section?
  • What about an emergency C-section?
  • How will I feel if I go past my due date and need an induction?

Take a deep breath, mama! These are BIG idea birth questions. But they’re here to get you thinking and help you make a plan to go into birth as confident as possible. Once you’ve got an idea of what you want from your birth and where your insecurities lie, you can choose the right childbirth education to get you there!

Take a look at our online birth classes to get an idea of what I can offer you! I keep the price low compared to other online options because I want EVERY mama to access and benefit from the impact excellent childbirth education can have on birth.

You’ve got this second trimester!

All right, mama, feeling ready to take on the second trimester. As you can see, as far as to dos, this trimester is a lot of focusing on your healthy habits and getting the planning-type tasks out of the way.

In the third trimester that nesting instinct will kick in just in time to get the organization and set-up tackled, followed by birth and baby prep galore! And we can’t wait to be there with you for every step of the way.

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Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

As a labor and delivery nurse, I’ve spent countless hours with women who felt anxious — even fearful — about giving birth. I want you to know it doesn’t have to be that way for you!

Are you ready to have an even better birth?

Everything in your hospital’s childbirth class – plus so. much. more. Get the knowledge and tools necessary for a positive birth experience – no matter how you deliver!

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Start here if birthing without an epidural is your goal!

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Let go of fear and feel fully prepared for (and unafraid of!) your epidural birth.

Start here if you know you want that epidural – or you’re not sure what your birth goals are!

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Release anxiety and gain a sense of control for your C-section birth.

Start here if you have a planned C-section on the horizon. You deserve birth education too!