Get Ready for Baby: Join a Prenatal Care Tod
Preparing for the arrival of your child can be an exciting adventure! To ensure a smooth birth experience, there are a few key things you should do prior to its due date.
Create a birth plan. Include who you would like present, the best method of pain management and whether or not skin-to-skin contact after giving birth.
Preparing Your Home
Your home will soon become the center of activity as your new baby arrives, yet getting it ready can be a monumental task. Even tidy homes can quickly become disorganized as prams, moses baskets, changing mats, toys and bouncers accumulate – so take this opportunity to declutter and reorganize before baby comes.
If you own items you no longer use such as bicycles, hobby equipment and CDs that you no longer require – such as bikes or CDs – consider giving or selling them off in order to clear out space for all the new baby stuff and eliminate clutter. This can free up valuable storage space.
Preventative care includes stockpiling essentials like nappies, wipes and cotton wool. You might also consider investing in a baby changing mat or bassinet so you have somewhere safe and comfortable for changing your child when necessary.
Be sure to choose your baby’s healthcare provider early so they have all of your medical history during gestation, can meet all of your specific needs, and can answer any questions as you near the final trimester.
Your GP can recommend doctors specializing in pregnancy care who can also advise you which prenatal tests may be necessary in your situation.
Your doctor will perform both a physical exam and pelvic (internal) exam during this appointment. They will test a sample of urine for protein, sugar and infection and perform a pap smear if required; additionally they may measure your tummy to assess how the baby is developing as well as listen for its heartbeat.
As your due date nears, it is recommended that you begin engaging in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week – at least 30 minutes should suffice – as part of an overall fitness regime to help prevent complications, ease labor pain and prepare your body for labor. If you do not already have one in place, now may be an opportune time to establish one with your prenatal care class provider; certain exercises could put pregnant women at risk of complications or injury to themselves and/or their unborn babies.
Getting Your Finances in Order
An infant will certainly change your life, but it’s easier if you prepare financially for their arrival. This includes budgeting for new expenses while reviewing current costs; for instance, diaper costs could add up quickly! In addition, you might stop other spending habits, like paid entertainment services or gym memberships, until after giving birth has occurred.
Establish an emergency fund so you can prepare for unexpected expenses that might arise after giving birth, such as replacing restaurant meals with home-cooked dishes and forgoing going out at clubs or bars. Consider restructuring some current expenses to free up money for this goal, such as opting for less frequent dinner reservations at restaurants.
Many pregnant women also find that friends and family show their generosity by showering them with gifts such as baby clothing, cribs and strollers. If you want to save money when purchasing these items, try shopping second-hand stores or social media marketplaces for gently used pieces. It may be worthwhile opening a 529 college savings account now with contributions from family and friends deposited directly into it.
As your due date approaches, it’s advisable to discuss with your employer time off for maternity leave as well as reassessing child care or daycare plans. By setting these plans earlier than later, you will feel more prepared and secure.
When it comes to selecting a pediatrician for your newborn, make sure you select one as soon as possible if necessary. They’ll be the one examining them at the hospital and it is important for both of you to feel at ease with them. Also contact your health insurance provider as soon as possible with regards to adding them onto the policy – usually 30 days from birth is sufficient time but getting ahead can save hassle in later.
If your parents or other family members plan on visiting after your baby arrives, be sure to prepare the guest room by cleaning it and placing fresh linens on the bed. Install locks on lower cabinets; check or install smoke/carbon monoxide detectors; purchase outlet covers; as well as freeze meals so they will be available when the time comes and they won’t have the energy or stamina for cooking themselves after giving birth.
Choosing Your Doctors
Selecting healthcare practitioners who will best meet your preferences and goals regarding birth is of utmost importance. Finding an OB/GYN, midwife, family doctor or maternal-fetal medicine specialist that meets those criteria will be key.
Start your search by researching what providers and practices are covered under your health insurance plan. Most health insurance websites provide searchable lists of in-network doctors and hospitals, or you can contact your insurer for this information. When you’ve identified several potential medical practitioners, schedule an introductory appointment so that you can see if they are right for you.
At your initial appointment, your healthcare provider will ask about any prior health conditions or circumstances that could compromise pregnancy, such as high blood pressure. They’ll also inquire into any prescription you are currently taking (such as vitamins, herbs or supplements) which could pose any harmful interactions between medications and pregnancy.
Once your first trimester has concluded, you’ll begin having regular checkups with a healthcare practitioner that include regular testing to monitor the health of your pregnancy. These appointments provide an ideal chance to express any questions or voice any concerns, and even plan for its birth.
Your obstetrician or midwife will listen to your baby’s heartbeat from around the 12th week, taking your weight, blood pressure, urine test results or ultrasound images as needed to assess its development.
For higher-risk pregnancies, it may be important to work closely with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. If your pregnancy is low risk, midwives or labor and delivery nurses can help ensure its safe course. Based on personal preference and how the pregnancy is progressing, doula support may also provide invaluable assistance during labor and delivery.
Getting Your Nursery Ready
No matter where your creativity may lie, planning and preparing your nursery early on will ease stress later and give something exciting to look forward to once your pregnancy progresses further.
Keep these key considerations in mind when creating your nursery:
Make Your Baby’s Room Complete: Start by setting up a changing station with drawers for baby clothes to be stored away as they grow, or purchase a changing pad cover and mat set that makes changing easier for both of you. Consider also adding a rocking chair or glider into their room for feedings and late-night cuddling sessions.
Stock Up On Essentials: Preparing to welcome a baby can be tough on sleep and energy levels; stocking up with toilet paper and household cleaners before they arrive can help ensure you’re prepared. Bulk purchasing or using subscription services such as Amazon Subscribe & Save can save money, with schedule deliveries set for as often as once every six months allowing for cost savings.
Make Sure Everything Is Cleaned Before Their Arrival: Before your new little one comes home, remember to wash their onesies, sleepers, and hats thoroughly with detergent that’s free from dyes and perfumes as well as specially formulated for infants.
Decorating Your Nursery: There are multiple approaches you can take when decorating the nursery: you could opt for neutral hues or go all-out with bolder themes that you find captivating, such as hanging some whimsical wall art that you find appealing or adding mobiles or changing table decals that make the room more welcoming.
Before your baby arrives, remember the most essential task is taking care of yourself. While juggling work, family, and a newborn may seem overwhelming at first, try relaxing as much as possible and enjoying time spent with your partner before the big day arrives – don’t hesitate to seek assistance when needed!