Many couples enjoy the second trimester most, since the problems that accompany the physiological and hormonal changes in the first trimester usually decline in the second trimester. As the baby grows and the idea of fatherhood becomes more tangible, you may start thinking about baby-proofing the home, naming the baby, and reviewing your financial goals and dreams. This is a wonderful time to plan for the birth and to enjoy the prospect of becoming a parent.
Each year, millions of children are victims of preventable accidents in the home. There are many precautions that can be implemented throughout your home to decrease the chance of injury for your child, both as an infant and as a toddler:
- Sharp points, small parts that can break off, cords or strings, and items with rough edges should be put out of your child's reach.
- Use lead-free paint and find furniture with smooth edges, rounded corners, and sturdy non-tip designs.
- Crib bars should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart, with no cracks in the wood, and no missing bars.
- A minimum rail height of 22 inches is required in a crib when the mattress is at its highest position.
- Bumper pads should have six ties and fit snugly against the entire perimeter of the crib.
- A bassinet should have a wide base and a stable design. Do not use a basket not intended to be a bassinet.
- A changing table should have high sides and a safety strap.
- An infant seat must have a crotch and waist safety belt.
- The sides of a playpen should be approximately 20 inches high.
- A toy should never be tied across the top of a playpen or crib so as to avoid possible strangulation.
- A stroller must have a locking device to prevent accidental folding.
- Check your home's water temperature with a thermometer. The temperature of hot water from all home faucets should not exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
Did you know?
A label from the Consumer Product Safety Commission is a good indication that the product has gone through safety certification.
The best accident prevention in the home involves supervision and planning. Some precautions, such as toilet latches or baby locks on the cupboards, may not need to be implemented at this time. Keep a checklist of things that need to be done around the house as your baby gets older, so you are clear on what needs to be done and when.
This may also be a good time for you and your partner to learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) or basic First Aid. Although most people would rather not think about the type of emergency situations that would warrant the use of CPR on their children, CPR is a very important skill to have, both for use with children and adults. Contact your hospital, physician, or local American Heart Association or American Red Cross for information about classes in your area.
Books, Books, and More Books
Most women buy a number of books about pregnancy once they learn they are expecting a baby. You might want to pick up a book as well, either about the father's perspective on pregnancy, fetal development during pregnancy, or the changes happening in your partner. You will become better informed about the changes taking place in your baby and your partner, and your partner will appreciate your understanding.
Naming the Baby
Baby naming is a common topic of many pregnancy books. Naming the baby can be a long and stressful process, but one that must be taken on by both you and your partner. It is important that you both agree on the name for the baby. Many people-family and friends alike-will try to advise you on how or what to name your baby. If you have found out the sex of the baby from the ultrasound, the process will be considerably easier. If you choose to be surprised at birth, be sure you have names picked out for both sexes.
When trying to choose a name for your baby, you may want to get a pad of paper and start by asking a number of questions:
- Do we want to name the baby after a friend or family member?
- Do we have any names that have been personal favorites?
- Do we want a religious name?
- Do we want a conventional spelling or something unique?
- Do we want a name that is culturally significant to us?
- Do we want a name that has a nickname attached to it?
Remember to say the name out loud. A first name may sound great alone, but not when paired with the last name. Make sure the name is realistic and something your child will feel comfortable ?wearing? for his or her lifetime. Someday your child may ask you what you were thinking when you were picking names. You may choose to keep your name selection between you and your partner until the baby arrives. This may reduce any pressure placed on you from family and friends after you tell them your selection. Most importantly, you and your partner must be happy with the decision.
Thinking about saving for your child's college education is probably the last thing you want to do right now. But regardless of how far into the future you look, your financial situation will inevitably change. Your expenses will go up (everything from diapers to child care costs money), and if you and your partner decide to cut back on paid work in order to spend more time with your child, your income may drop.
For many couples, money is the number one cause of stress in the relationship. To reduce stress now and after the baby is born, have honest discussions with your partner about each of your financial goals and dreams. You might consider meeting with a professional financial planner to help you figure out how to meet your goals.