Parenthood is an amazing time full of new experiences, love, and learning. But becoming a parent also comes with a lot of responsibility. Before you bring your bundle of joy home, it’s essential to take some time to prepare both physically and emotionally for the big change.
The average cost of delivering a baby in the US is about $10,000, and while your health insurance may cover some of the costs, you’ll still likely be responsible for co-pays, deductibles, and any additional services not covered by your plan.
Pregnancy and childbirth can be overwhelming despite the excitement of planning for a new arrival. To help you feel more confident and prepared, we’ve put together a list of things to do before giving birth.
1. Choose your care provider and birthing facility
One of the most important decisions you’ll make during pregnancy is choosing the right care provider and birthing facility. Do your research and ask around for recommendations. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, schedule a tour of the facility and meet the staff to get a feel for the environment.
The hospital and your care provider should align with your birthing preferences. If you’re planning a natural childbirth, ensure the hospital or birthing center you choose supports that. Also, be aware of the facility’s pain management and induction policies.
Another common concern for new parents is the negligence of medical staff. If this is a worry for you, look for facilities with low rates of interventions and cesareans and positive reviews from past patients. In the case of an unfortunate event, you may also consult professional assistance from a medical negligence lawyer. To find out more, visit childbirthinjuries.com to learn about your legal options.
2. Create a birth plan
A birth plan is a document that outlines your preferences for labor and delivery. It includes everything from who you want in the delivery room to your preferences for pain management.
Creating a birth plan is a great way to ensure your voice is heard and everyone involved in your care is on the same page. It also helps to reduce stress and anxiety surrounding the birthing process. For instance, if you’re worried about the potential for cesarean delivery, including that in your birth plan will help put your mind at ease.
3. Take a childbirth class
Investing in a quality childbirth class is one of the best things you can do to prepare for labor and delivery. Childbirth classes cover a wide range of topics, from the stages of labor to pain management techniques.
Most classes are available in a group setting, which is a great way to bond with other couples going through the same experience. And you’ll likely make some new friends in the process. In addition, many hospitals offer private classes for an additional fee. However, these classes tend to fill up quickly, so it’s necessary to register as early as possible.
4. Pack your hospital bag
Once you reach your third trimester, it’s a good idea to start packing your hospital bag. This way, you won’t have to worry about it when you enter labor.
Some of the essential items to pack include:
- Comfortable clothes to wear
- Nursing bras and pads
- Breast pump (if you’re planning to breastfeed)
- Phone charger
- Insurance information
- Birth plan
- Comfort items for labor (e.g., music, pillow, massage oil)
5. Stock up on baby supplies
If you’re planning to breastfeed, you’ll need to purchase a breast pump and some nursing supplies. You’ll also need to buy diapers, wipes, and other baby essentials. It’s a good idea to stock up on these items before the baby is born, so you’re not scrambling to do it all at once. Next, consider which big-ticket items you’ll need, such as a crib, car seat, and stroller. You can start researching these items and add them to your baby registry.
6. Choose a pediatrician
Choosing a pediatrician for your child is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a new parent. This person will provide routine care and be there to answer any questions or concerns you have about your child’s health.
When choosing a pediatrician, finding someone you’re comfortable with and who you can trust is crucial. Most importantly, make sure they’re someone who shares your parenting philosophy.
7. Make a postpartum plan
After you give birth, you’ll need time to recover both physically and emotionally. And this is why it’s essential to have a postpartum plan in place before the baby arrives. If you’re planning to breastfeed, you’ll need to pump and store your milk. You’ll also need to establish a sleep schedule and figure out how to manage daily tasks like cooking and cleaning.
If possible, it’s helpful to have someone else help you during those first few weeks. It could be your partner, a relative, or a close friend. If you don’t have someone who can help, several postpartum support services are available.
8. Set up a nursery
If you plan to set up a nursery for your baby, now is the time to do it. Choose a room in your home that’s peaceful and calming. Then, start painting or installing any furniture or storage items you need.
Be sure to childproof the nursery before your baby arrives. It includes installing child safety locks on all the cabinets and drawers and covering electrical outlets. You’ll also want to remove any small or sharp objects from the room.
9. Take care of yourself
It’s essential to take care of yourself during pregnancy and postpartum. It means eating a healthy diet, getting enough rest, and staying active. Exercise is imperative for pregnant women as it can help reduce the risk of complications.
If you’re feeling stressed, try to find healthy ways to cope, such as reading, journaling, or spending time outdoors. It’s also important to talk to your partner or a friend about how you’re feeling. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
10. Enjoy your pregnancy
Pregnancy is a beautiful time in a woman’s life. It’s important to enjoy it and savor every moment. Take the time to connect with your baby and bond with them. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so make the most of it.
The most important thing you can do before giving birth is to educate yourself on the process and what to expect. It includes learning about the different stages of labor, pain management techniques, and what to do in an emergency. It’s also essential to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. It means eating a healthy diet, getting enough rest, and staying active. Finally, be sure to enjoy your pregnancy and savor every moment.