You’re counting down the weeks as you anticipate the arrival of your baby, and preparation is key. Try tackling these tasks a few weeks prior to your due date (or at least before labour hits!).
Pre-register at the hospital where you plan to deliver. It saves time and avoids chaos when labour day arrives.
Plan a Route
Schedule a grand tour of the hospital where you plan to deliver. Plan your route on the way there. Time how long it takes you to get there, look at alternate routes and take into consideration:
Which entrance you use at the hospital depends on time of day. The emergency entrance is typically used during the night and the main entrance throughout the day.
If you are planning a home birth, arrange a tour of the hospital closest to you should the need arise for a transfer.
Charge Your Batteries
Make sure your partner can be reached by phone at all times. Carry a pager if a phone is not always possible. Have a ‘plan B’ in place, especially if your partner’s job takes him far away. Arrange for someone else to be available as back-up.
Dig Out Those Notes
Review what you’ve learned during childbirth classes. Compile some of the materials that you might want readily available to refer to during labour.
Get All Hands on Deck
If you’re thinking about additional support during labour, now is the time to enlist some help. Consider hiring a doula. A doula is trained to support the labouring mom and partner physically and emotionally throughout labour and birth. Alternately, your support team might consist of a close friend or family member.
Find Happy Helpers
Consider arranging for additional help when you get home, especially if you’re having a planned caesarean. You may need help with baby care, housework or care for your other children.
Nothing really readies you for life with a new baby, but you can prepare all the baby essentials. Attempt this prior to the birth rather than after, when time and energy might be limited. Set up the baby’s room and stock up on blankets, diapers and toiletries.
Learn About Breastfeeding
Speak to your prenatal instructor or to other breastfeeding mothers. Get tips on feeding positions and address any concerns you might have about the process.
Pack Your Bags
Pack one bag for the labour and birth, and another for your postpartum stay. This way you’re not lugging around everything but the kitchen sink as you go to deliver.
Stock the kitchen with nutritious (yet easy-to-prepare) foods. Both you and your partner should cook and freeze meals ahead of time.
Review your birth plan together. A birth plan outlines how you would like to be cared for during the labour, birth and the postpartum period. Remember to keep it short and concise. Be open and willing to accept any change in plans should it become medically necessary.