It may seem like your pregnancy will go on forever, but you’ll get to meet your new baby before you know it. In the meantime, take advantage of the long wait to prepare as best you can for the changes ahead. A little advance planning now will make it easier to relax and enjoy your pregnancy as your due date nears.
Here are some helpful ways to prepare for your baby’s arrival:
Learn about the birth process
The prospect of giving birth can be daunting, and you may be tempted to put it all out of your mind until it happens. But Glade Curtis, obstetrician and coauthor of Your Pregnancy Week by Week, advises against this strategy. “In my experience, women who learn about birth ahead of time are more active participants in their own birth process, which leads to better outcomes,” he says.
Consider taking a birth class to learn about the stages of labor, options for pain management, breathing techniques, and medical equipment that may be used during your delivery. It’s a good idea to start looking into classes midway through your pregnancy to make sure you can get into one you like – and have time to take it!
You can also learn about different ways of giving birth by watching videos of actual deliveries, including natural birth, water birth, birth with an epidural, delivery by c-section, and more.
Once you’ve done your research, you might want to list your preferences in a birth plan. But keep in mind that being well informed and armed with a birth plan doesn’t mean your labor and delivery will go exactly as planned.
Find a doctor for your baby
You may want to start looking for a pediatrician or family doctor for your baby midway through your pregnancy. That may seem early, but you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to find a physician who will be a good fit for your family – and who is taking new patients and accepts your insurance.
Talk to your health insurance provider to find out how to add your baby to your policy, and see which local doctors are covered. Make sure you understand how your insurance plan works, especially regarding your benefits for labor, delivery, and maternity care.
Prepare essential baby items
Ahead of your baby being born, it makes sense to ensure you’ve bought all of the things you’re going to need for at least their first few weeks, preventing a last-minute supermarket dash once they’ve arrived.
The must-haves to stock up on before your newborn arrives include:
Nappies, baby wipes and nappy sacks
Formula milk or a breast pump
A baby bath or bath support
Soft baby towels
It’s also important to pack a hospital bag ready for the big day. Babies rarely arrive on schedule, so it’s important to be prepared to head for the hospital at a moment’s notice. Your bag should contain things like:
Pyjamas, nightgown and slippers
Toiletries, including toothbrush and hairbrush
Comfortable, loose clothing for the journey home
Advice for Mother
Every woman is different. Our bodies are different, our babies are different and no 2 births are the same.
That’s why it’s useful to find out more about labour and birth. Understanding more about your options, and the pros and cons of each, can help you feel more confident in making decisions about how you want to deliver your baby.
Prepare your mind
Try not to listen to horror stories about labour as these are really unhelpful if you’re feeling nervous. Try to remember that for every bad experience, there is a mum out there with a positive story to tell.
This can be hard, especially if you’ve had a bad experience yourself. But try to think positively as much as possible. Lots of mums tell us it really helps to have a positive outlook.
Prepare your body
Labour often requires strength and stamina, so it’s important to prepare your body for it. Exercise during pregnancy can also be a great way to de-stress.
You could try finding out about antenatal exercise classes near you. For example, a pregnancy yoga class can be really helpful. It will help you get your baby in a good position for birth, teach you positions to help you through labour, and provide some relaxation and breathing techniques to help you stay calm. Any type of exercise is good though. If you don’t have the time or money to join a class, just going for a walk in the park will be beneficial.
Practise relaxation techniques
Using breathing techniques can help calm your nerves (before and after labour) and control the pain. You can practise all the way through pregnancy to ensure you’re comfortable using them when labour starts.