Preparing for birth is a crucial part of pregnancy. Since there’s a good chance that you’ll get overwhelmed during the first few months after your baby’s arrival, you need to prepare some things you might need during labour and immediately after.
Although people around you will be able to help, there are some important tasks you’ll want to have a hand in, including choosing your baby’s crib or packing your hospital bag.
If you’re not sure what you must do, this article offers a list of six tasks you need to deal with before going into labour.
1. Create your Birth Plan
A birth plan serves as a summary of your wishes during your baby’s delivery. It guides the medical team and support people through the things you want to happen even while you’re incapable of making your decisions known verbally.
Birth plans can range from one to two pages and include various details like:
- Where you intend to give birth.
- The kind of environment you want.
- The people you wish to be in the room when your baby arrives.
- What pain management methods you want to get.
- Whether or not your partner should cut the umbilical cord.
- What you prefer in terms of after-birth skin-to-skin contact.
Aside from giving the document to the medical team, you also need to talk to the team and your support person about the plan. Besides letting them understand your wishes better, discussing the plan will also help determine what is safe and feasible during the delivery based on their advice.
2. Take Important Classes
As a new mum, you would need to learn several things before you go into labour. Below are some examples of the important classes you may need to take before delivery:
Birthing classes help answer most of your questions about labour and delivery. These classes also offer useful tips on:
- How to distinguish actual labour contractions from Braxton-Hicks contractions (false labour pains).
- How you can work through the contractions.
- What strategies you can employ to manage pain.
Typically offered at birthing centres and hospitals, these classes also provide you with a support group of ladies going through the same things you are.
Breastfeeding may look easy, but most first-time mothers have a hard time adjusting to the task. These classes are organized to teach you:
- How to have your baby latch properly.
- The safest and most comfortable breastfeeding positions.
- How to know whether your baby is getting enough milk.
Like birthing classes, you can get lessons on breastfeeding from the hospital or a local support program where you live. It also introduces you to experts on the matter, specifically a lactation consultant.
Many first-time mothers get support from their families and advice on how to raise children. However, certain matters are best discussed with experts, including:
- What to expect for every stage of growth and development.
- Best practices on keeping your baby safe.
- Dressing and changing your baby.
- How to spot a medical emergency.
3. Select a Paediatrician for your Baby
Foetal medicine is another crucial matter you need to attend to while pregnant. You’ll need someone you can trust to take care of your little one upon delivery, so make sure you select a paediatrician way ahead of your due date.
Paediatricians are doctors who specialise in children’s health and are usually on standby during birth. They also conduct your children’s first health exam and would be most familiar with their overall condition.
Because of this, it’s ideal that the paediatrician you choose to be present upon your baby’s delivery will also be the one who’ll monitor your little one during the early years of development. They can also be a valuable resource for all things concerning your baby.
4. Pack your Hospital Bag
Only five per cent of babies are born when they’re expected to be due. This means there is a big chance that your child will come earlier (or later) than you expect.
To make sure you’re ready, pack your hospital bag at least three weeks ahead of your due date. If there are certain indications pointing to preterm labour or early delivery, you can pack your stuff up sooner.
Just remember to avoid overpacking, as many hospitals and birth centres already provide some of the things you’ll need. Call ahead to be sure, though most of them will likely have the following items ready for you and your baby:
- Hospital gown
- Cups for ice and water
- Grip socks
- Basic toiletries (e.g., soap, shampoo, toothbrush, and toothpaste)
- Disposable underwear
- Sanitary pads
- Pillows and blankets
- Baby wipes
- Swaddle blankets
- Hospital-branded onesies
- Knit hat
Of course, if you need other things and have specific preferences, you can always bring your own things. Just know that some items need to be left home, like jewellery, gadgets, and other items you’ll miss or lose.
Don’t forget to bring important documents (ID and medical insurance papers), medications (or a list of what you could need, if any), birth plan, comfortable clothes, and going-home outfit.
5. Prep your Baby’s Gear
Besides what you’ll bring to the hospital or birthing centre, you’ll want to prepare the things your baby might need on the way home, like a properly installed car seat.
Unless you plan on co-sleeping, you also need a nursery for your baby, complete with a bassinet or a crib. You’ll find a decent selection of these in any mall’s baby section and furniture shops in Dubai, so shop around before you reach the stage when you can no longer walk for long periods.
You can also research other items that help make parents’ lives easier, like changing tables or baby swings and have those assembled in advance.
6. Get a head start on baby-proofing your Home
Though this won’t be necessary until your child learns to crawl or walk, baby-proofing your home before birth could be a wise decision.
Time flies by so fast after giving birth. One day, you’re always carrying your baby in your arms; the next, you’re chasing them around.
To avoid missing anything, get started on the task before you go into labour.
Be Prepared for Your Peace of Mind
While it may seem like you have plenty of time, welcoming a child into your family could leave you with very few moments to think about what needs to be done.
Things to prepare before you go into labour ahead of your child’s birth will not only ensure that you and your baby have everything you need, but also give you peace of mind to enjoy every precious moment when your little bundle of joy finally arrives.