Holly is a former Sunday School teacher, parenting writer, and mom of two.
Ways to Stay Busy When You're Pregnant (By Trimester)
- Take up a sit-down crafting hobby
- Find a funny podcast
- Journal your memories for your new baby
- Learn to bake (or try a new baking recipe if you're already pretty pro)
- Scope out stroller-friendly walking paths
- Create an online baby registry
- Clean out your closet
- Pack your hospital "Go Bag"
- Stock up on beauty pick-me-ups
- Download a calming app
It was only a few years ago that I found out I was having my first little baby, and those three trimesters were both the most fleeting and the most arduous months of my adult life.
While I stayed a bit busier in my second pregnancy, chasing a toddler around, I still found myself annoyed by idle moments, mentally ticking off the days until my baby was to debut.
If this is you too, here are some ideas for keeping your mind and body focused on anything but WHEN WILL THIS BABY JUST BE BORN OMG.
How to Stay Busy and Avoid Boredom in Your First Trimester
Ah, the first glorious, glowy weeks of your newfound pregnancy joy! Right? Okay, not really. You're queasy, you're gassy and you have weird twinges in places you've never taken notice of before. The first trimester is most definitely time for calm, quiet, and easy activities.
Take Up a Sit-Down Crafting Hobby
This one is obvious, right? Not if HGTV is on to distract you into zoning out for four and a half hours while you obsess over a very obscure brand of spicy pickles. Turn off the TV and set yourself up with a screen-free project you can do sitting at your desk, on the couch, or even propped up in bed for those real pukey days like:
- Knitting or crocheting. There are tons of amazing, easy-to-follow tutorials on YouTube for beginner-friendly projects from simple scarfs to mask extenders.
- Embroidery. You can start with a kit or go wild culling through the virtual craft store aisles. I love scrolling the Lakadre Blog for inspiration.
- Beading. Beads! Who of us didn't take up beading as middle schoolers in the early 2000s? It's time for a comeback!
- Scrapbooking. This is a fun way to memorialize your life so far for your little one to enjoy in years to come.
- Watercolors. If you do this from bed, you can grab a cookie sheet or serving tray to keep your supplies steady and swirly paint water out of your comforter.
Why It's a Good Idea for Your First Trimester: Between gnarly waves of morning sickness, fatigue and new aches and pains, taking up a hobby that keeps your mind off of bad news and scary pregnancy anxieties while staying cozy is an important way to practice self-care—something you'll wanna have down when your baby arrives.
Find a Funny Podcast
Normally I'm in the mood for inspirational or self-help podcasts when I'm rushing through housework but in the depressing throes of everything from battling that fresh-out-of-the-shower pregnancy nausea to realizing my pants no longer fit thanks to baby bloat, I need a good laugh to keep me motivated.
Here are some of my favorite funny podcasts to indulge on tough days:
- Why Won't You Date Me? with Nicole Byer Lol. Oh man. From her croony intro to her hilarious as all H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks guests like comedian Whitney Cummings, Nicole is as fun as she is funny as she explores the burning question - why am I still single?
- Esther Club Hosted by actress Esther Povitsky of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Alone Together, Povtisky's self-debasing dry humor guides her conversations with guests like Brenda Song and Carlos Herrera.
- Really Good Advice for New Moms is anything but. Hosted by imaginary hosts Kierstin Reszka and Blandy Cobbles (played by the same person), Kierstin plays the deadpan mom to the childless Blandy in this goofy if not rough scripted satire of Mommy Culture.
Why It's a Good Idea for Your First Trimester: Watching TV or scrolling on my phone exacerbated my queasiness during my first trimesters. Popping on a podcast and staring out the window eased that for me and probably will for you too. Plus a good laugh alleviates a lot.
Journal Your Memories for Your New Baby
I wish I'd started this with my first pregnancy but alas, it didn't occur to me how awesome this would be until I was almost to the end of the first trimester with my second. Still, when my toddler was napping I found it really relaxing to pull out this journal and fill in a page or two of these interview questions.
Why It's a Good Idea For Your First Trimester: I, like almost all pregnant people, was absolutely exhausted in both of my first trimesters, and napping during the day actually made my morning sickness worse, so I tried to stay awake until bedtime. Journaling through your fatigue is a great way to chill out without passing out and when you've finished the book you'll have a wonderful keepsake of your life's memories and best stories to share with your child one day.
Learn How to Bake (or Bake Better!)
Take some cues from your grandmother's recipe book or an easy-to-follow instructional blog like Life Love and Sugar. And for the less novice (or just those with very hungry eyes), peruse baking chef Benjamina Ebuehi's recipe index on Carrot & Crumb.
Why It's a Good Idea in Your First Trimester: Believe it or not, you can do a lot of baking sitting down at a stool or dining chair. It's engaging and for most of us, carbs and sweets are the only way to go in those first few months of pregnancy.
How to Stay Busy and Avoid Boredom During Your Second Trimester
It's here! Your energy is beginning to rebound, food isn't your arch-nemesis anymore and for the first time in a while, getting out and about doesn't sound like such a chore.
Scope Out Stroller-Friendly Walking Paths
Grab your partner, best friend, or sibling and spend an afternoon tracking down the best places to lug a stroller for a dose of postpartum fresh air and sunshine.
Things to look out for in a great stroller path are:
- Convenient parking. If you're not strolling in your neighborhood, find a trail, path, or sidewalk with easy parking. It's hard to drag a stroller through a parking garage and across rows of parking spaces in a crowded parking lot.
- Well-lit walking area. During the warmest months, you'll be inclined to walk during the early morning hours or evening. Choose a path that's well-lit and not secluded.
- Benches. Especially as you're easing back into life outside of pregnancy, you'll want a place to sit to take a breather or feed your baby.
Why It's a Good Idea in Your Second Trimester: You're starting to get your energy back and you're ready to show off your bump! This is a great thing to do as you approach your due date and make plans for socially distanced activities and exercise.
Create an Online Baby Registry
Sites like BabyList make it super convenient to add items from all different brands and stores including Amazon, Target, and Meri Meri in one place.
Don't know where to start? Here are 5 things every new parent should have on their gift registry:
- Alcohol-free skin ointment. For fragrance-free, I like Aquaphor Healing Ointment and for a really soft, honey scent Burts Bees Baby Multipurpose Ointment takes the cake. Both can be used anywhere on your baby, from their diaper area to their scalp and you'll use them too to revive your dry skin from all that hand washing you're about to do between diaper changes and feedings. Register for more than one—you'll want one to keep with your diapers and one to throw in your diaper bag.
- Muslin swaddle blankets like these. I used mine with both babies for everything from a nursing cover at restaurants (my preference - my babies got distracted if they could see while they nursed) to car seat covers when I was hauling them from door to car to pediatrician and back again. They're machine washable, get softer over time, and can be used as blankets as your baby becomes a toddler. I love multi-use products.
- Unscented laundry detergent. Yep, add it, someone will get it for you and between diaper blowouts and exorcism-level spit-up attacks, you'll be going through jugs of this stuff for, well, the rest of your life.
- A forehead thermometer. I bought mine years ago and still use it regularly for both my kids, my husband, and me. It's the quickest way to grab a temp from a sick, squirmy tot and they're no-joke expensive, yet essential, so if you can get it as a gift, all the better.
- NoseFrida and saline drops (I've always relied on Little Remedies) Yes! You must! Ignore the ick factor, whether you're dealing with normal newborn congestion or a case of the sniffles, these snot suckers really work and are sturdy and washable. They're so important that after getting rid of mine (Marie Kondo, she's a bad influence..) I quickly regretted it and sent my husband back up to Target to grab another one for our sniffling preschooler.
Why It's a Good Idea in Your Second Trimester: Adding things to your registry too early means you run the risk of giving your baby shower guests a list full of out-of-stock items and creating your registry too late (like into your third trimester) means those eager early gifters won't have a point of reference.
Clean Out Your Closet
Okay, I know I just dissed Marie Kondo but really, she's a queen. Use her method to pare down your closet and make room for your new-mom wardrobe.
Why It's a Good Idea in your Second Trimester: You've got a lovely surge of energy and you're ready to nest. How is this not the best time? Plus you'll be more relaxed as you lose steam in your third trimester if your environment is tidy.
How to Organize Your Closet With Marie Kondo
How to Stay Busy and Avoid Boredom in Your Third Trimester
Holy waistline, Batman! It's gone! Like for reals gone. And so are the days of gazing longingly at your calendar, wondering how you'll fill each hour until you get to meet your baby whose arrival is soon approaching. Get ready!
Pack Your Go-Bag
You'll need two to three bags actually. One for you, one for your baby, and one for your partner or whoever is accompanying you to the hospital.
Why It's a Good Idea in Your Third Trimester: Babies are surprising and anything goes with them! You don't want to be caught off guard. I should know, my second baby came three weeks earlier than they were expected and I found myself stuffing random nursing bras and granola bars into bags through contractions while yelling for my husband to call the hospital. FUN TIMES.
Pregnant Doctor Mom on What You Actually Need in a Hospital Bag
Stock Up on Beauty Pick-Me-Ups
Once your baby has arrived there won't be a lot of time (or energy) for pampering yourself, but taking a little time to freshen up can really do a lot for postpartum confidence. A few things you should throw in your bathroom drawers before the baby arrives are:
- Teeth brightening strips. Slap a pair on while you feed your newborn and by the time baby's full your teeth will be slightly less coffee stained.
- Peel-off face masks. I like to buy individual packets from the drugstore or Target. I can slather it on before breakfast and have it peeled off before the toast pops up.
- Dry shampoo. Can't manage a shower until tomorrow? Spraying down your greasy spit-up hair with a mist of this will do wonders for your self-esteem.
- Hair fragrance. Pacifica Beauty has a line of travel-sized hair and body mists that I like to throw in my diaper bags and spritz before running into the grocery store. They're only lightly scented and won't irritate you or your baby.
Why It's a Good Idea for Your Third Trimester
As you gain on your due date, you'll have less time or energy between doctors' appointments, second breakfast, and those long pre-bedtime naps. The sooner you stock your beauty drawers for a hard day, the better.
Download a Calming App
This comprehensive list by Kaiser Permanente will give you the lowdown on the best calming, meditative apps. Being pregnant is stressful and so is becoming a mother. That constant stress will no doubt wear on you, as it does all of us, but it doesn't mean you should just put up with it. You're worth more than that!
Why It's a Good Idea for Your Third Trimester: From long waits in your OBs office to breathing through labor contractions, having a calming app at the ready will help you re-center yourself.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Holly Howard