Giving birth is no easy task, hence the term “labor”. The expectant mother has most likely read tons of material for preparing for the birth of their first child, but sometimes a quick checklist is the most helpful way to get ready for this life-changing event. Preparing ahead will help you feel more confident and in control. These five ways to prepare for your first can do just that.
Follow a Schedule of Prenatal Visits
Make a doctor’s appointment with your OB-GYN or specialist as soon as you think you are pregnant. They will be able to confirm your pregnancy and check your health as you progress. Expect a schedule that begins with monthly check-ups and ends with weekly ones. The doctor will check the growth of the fetus and perform special tests that can detect problems like high -risk symptoms early. These visits are important to avoid any complications that may arise with your pregnancy. If you are having a high-risk pregnancy then visits with a maternal fetal specialist, like Dr. Gilbert Webb, are all the more important.
Pre-register and Practice Checking In
Most hospitals and birthing centers are more than happy to have expectant parents pre-register for the event. This allows them to take care of your paperwork and insurance matters in advance. It is a good time to also find out what you should do to have the new family member added to your health insurance policy. Ask for a tour of the birthing area and nursery. Ask about your options. Scope out parking and entrances. Pretend it is 3 a.m. and you have just arrived!
Stock up on Supplies
Cooking up a few meals for the freezer will save you and your family time and energy once baby is born. Heat-and-eat meals will allow you more time to rest and be with your baby. Don’t forget easy-to-grab non-perishable healthy snacks like granola bars and dried fruit.
This is also the time to decide whether you are going to breastfeed or put your baby on formula. If breastfeeding, purchase a couple of comfortable nursing bras and a breast pump. For formula feeding, get a case of formula and your choice of bottles. Disposable ones will make life easier in the beginning.
Stocking up on plenty of “incidentals” will cut down on errand-running after the baby arrives. Don’t forget maxi-pads, baby wipes, a gentle stool softener, and, of course, newborn diapers.
Recruiting Outside Help
Friends and family will be invaluable during those first few weeks of new parenthood. Now is the time to ask and recruit. Have a cleaning service come right before your due date. Bringing home the new baby to a clean and neat home will feel good. Enlist the cleaners on a temporary basis while you get established as a new mom. It may sound like splurging, but you will find that it’s worth it to save your own energy for being with the baby.
It’s never too soon to purchase and install a proper infant car seat. Hospitals won’t allow you to leave without one. If you must take a taxi, practice installing it in another car a few times. Make sure the car has gas, or if you are using a taxi service, decide on which one and have the number in a handy spot. Plan out the best route from home to hospital. Consider possible traffic jams at certain times of the day and any road construction that is in progress. Together with your partner, take a few practice runs.
Waking up at 2 a.m. with labor pains or having your water break while at work or lunch are not the times for packing your bag for a hospital stay. At least two weeks before your due date, pack up and put your bag in an easy-to-spot location. Pack a comfy gown and robe, slippers, and personal items you will need. Don’t forget a coming-home outfit for you and the baby.
These tips can help first-time mothers feel in control. And being in control can help you relax and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience,
A great guest blog from our friend Brooke Chaplan!
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