You have nine months until baby’s grand debut, and your to-do list feels like it’s growing faster than your belly bump. As a new soon-to-be mama, you’re not even sure where to begin. Before the baby gear starts flying into your home and the avalanche of advice (both welcome and unsolicited) hits, check out what you really need to know and do during every stage of your pregnancy. Don’t worry, we won’t overwhelm with all the info in one big, unsurmountable chunk; we’ve put together a trimester-by-trimester guide to make this whole preggo situation as easy as possible.

First Trimester

Pregnant woman drinking tea

1. Visit the doctor. First things first: You want to make sure that you are in fact pregnant. You may have taken several pregnancy tests and you’re pretty sure the results are positive, but you still need to see a medical professional, such as an OB or certified nurse midwife — there’s just no substitute for professional advice. The medical pro will give you a basic exam, talk about testing, and prescribe a prenatal vitamin.

2. Start taking your vitamins. Speaking of vitamins, you’ll need to start taking them right now. Even if your diet is super healthy, your doc (or midwife) will recommend a vitamin that gives you the added nutrients needed during pregnancy. Some of these nutrients, especially folic acid, are very important early on.

3. Review your health insurance. Don’t go into this pregnancy with financial blinders on. Maybe you’re not completely sure what your insurance covers and what it doesn’t, or what your copays, deductibles, and limits are. Instead of paging through your policy or trying to puzzle out complicated benefits tables online, call your insurance provider. Talking to an actual human being will enable you to find out everything you need to know about your benefits and coverage.

4. Quit any bad habits. You’ve been meaning to stop that once-a-week smoking habit that’s a remnant of your college days for ages; now is the time to finally call it quits. Smoking is something you’ll definitely want to put the kibosh on STAT. Research is mixed on substances like alcohol and caffeine, so if you count these among your habits, definitely talk to your doctor.

5. Review your meds. Along with quitting bad habits, you need to make sure that any beneficial meds or prescription drugs (including antidepressants as well as over-the-counter products such as cough or cold medicines) are okay to continue taking. Talk to your doctor or midwife about what you’re currently taking or what you might take in the event of an illness. It’s possible that you may need to make some changes, depending on what you currently use and the safety or risk factors.

Second Trimester

Pregnant woman holding stomach

1. Check out daycares. Do you plan on going back to work after having your baby? If so, now is the time to secure a spot at the child care center of your choosing. Even though you have months to go until baby gets here, it’s never too early to visit and start the selection process. Keep in mind, popular daycares may have waitlists that are several months or longer.

2. Spend time with friends. Chances are the waves of morning sickness of the first trimester have passed. And you aren’t yet at that so-uncomfortable-you-don’t-want-to-move phase yet. Take advantage of this time to hang out with your friends and get in lots of bonding with the special people in your life whom you may not see for a while once the baby arrives.

3. Go on vacation. Again, the second trimester is prime feel-good time for many women. If this is you, it’s time to take a babymoon. Don’t wait until you’re too uncomfortable to enjoy a quick getaway or your doctor restricts your travel.

4. Find a prenatal exercise routine. The better physical shape you’re in, the easier labor will be. Remember: You’re prepping for a marathon, not a sprint. Talk to your OB or midwife about what types of exercise are right for you, your body, and your individual health needs. There is no one-size-fits-all prenatal exercise regimen that works for every mama. What you choose, or are able to do, depends in part on your pre-pregnancy fitness level, any pregnancy-related conditions, and your current physical goals.

5. Buy maternity wear. Even though your belly might not be busting out yet, it will pop soon. In the meantime, most maternity stores have faux bellies to wear while trying on clothes. This will help you make the right picks for your body now and later on too.

Third Trimester

Pregnant woman

1. Decorate the nursery. That spare room you’re slowly filling with baby gear needs to take shape now. From the paint on the walls to the crib and changing table, everything needs to come together. Use these last three months to gradually build your design dream, decorating baby’s room in a creative, inspired way that comes from your heart.

2. Get breastfeeding products in order. Nursing bras, nipple cream, pads, and pumps are all items you’ll start using soon. Have these ready to go well before baby gets here. In addition to securing all the items you’ll need, take a breastfeeding class or visit a lactation consultant for the lowdown on the mechanics of how to make it all happen.

3. Take a tour of the birthing facility. Learn more about where you’ll give birth. If you’re taking a childbirth class, the tour may come at the end of the program. If not, schedule a tour on your own to check things out.

4. Finalize a childbirth plan. By now you’ve had the chance to explore your options and form a plan, in your mind at least. Write it out, but be sure to leave room for what-ifs. Childbirth doesn’t come with certainties, meaning it may not go exactly as planned; you need to have several different options.

5. Organize everything. The pile of onesies your BFF gave you and the boxes of diapers you received at your shower aren’t going anywhere. Organize all of that stuff before your little bundle of joy arrives. This will make it easier to adjust during those first few weeks — and you won’t be surrounded by piles and piles of clutter.

6. Pack your bag. Have your hospital bag ready and waiting. Think about what you’ll really want and need during your two day or so stay. Pro tip: Skip the silky PJs and pack your comfy sleepwear.

7. Just relax. As you conquer your to-do list, don’t forget to calm down, de-stress, and relax in these last few weeks before baby gets here.

What’s on your pregnancy to-do list? Let us know on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)