Three trimesters is a long time to be pregnant, and at some point, you might even swear that time has slowed down. But once the baby is here, you’ll realize that it wasn’t nearly enough time to prepare. So, take good care of yourself, stay connected with your partner, and learn everything you can about how to plan for the birth of your child.
Read the Classics
Loved ones have probably already loaded you up with books that helped them when they were pregnant: “What To Expect When You’re Expecting,” for instance, or “Mayo Clinic Guide To a Healthy Pregnancy.” It’s a lot to take in, so if you’re overwhelmed, choose a book that tells you what’s happening inside you week by week or even day by day.
It’s worth educating yourself about other topics like postpartum depression, too. No one expects it to happen to them, but you should know what symptoms to look for. And don’t forget to read ahead to what will happen after the birth, in a book like “What To Expect the First Year.” Once the baby arrives, not only will you have no time to read, but you probably won’t be able to muster up the concentration, either.
Learn in Other Ways, Too
Of course, not everyone’s a reader, so you can educate yourself however you learn best. Take classes. Watch instructional videos. Listen to an audiobook when you’re resting. Interview the other moms in your family. Don’t be afraid to ask friends to be honest about their birth experiences—not everything is going to sound like a fairy tale, but it’s better to be ready for it. You could even videotape this learning process as a record of this special time in your life.
You should manage your emotions as well as your body, so writing in a journal can be helpful in these last months. If you prefer, you could write your thoughts to your unborn baby in a letter and give it to them when they’re older. Writing things down can help clarify what you feel, and you’ll want to remember what you were like before you were a mom.
Take a Babymoon
You probably think this is just an indulgence cooked up by the travel industry to make money. That’s entirely possible, but it’s still a good idea—and it doesn’t have to cost much. The idea is to take some time to focus on your partner before the due date arrives. If that means a month in Cabo, we support you. If it means a quiet weekend at home together with your phones locked in a drawer, that sounds good to us, too.
Bringing a new life into the world is a huge endeavor, and if two parents have a solid, loving relationship, the baby’s chances are even better. Use this time to discuss your philosophies on child-rearing. You can also just rekindle the spark between you. Your lives will soon change in every way. If you have a partner who you love, respect, and trust, you don’t have to feel like the burden is entirely on your shoulders.
Make Some Decisions
Give yourself plenty of time to gather information, process it, and make decisions well ahead of time. You can put everything into a birth plan and let your doctor and loved ones know of your wishes. You should answer certain questions sooner rather than later. It might not go exactly how you hope, but at least your preferences will be clear.
- What pain medications do you want?
- Who do you want in the delivery room?
- Do you want your partner to help you during the delivery?
- Do you want photos and videos taken?
- Who do you want to visit afterward?
- What will you name the baby?
- Do you want to circumcise?
- Will you be breastfeeding? For how long?
- Do you want to store your baby’s umbilical cord blood and tissue?
- Do you want your partner to cut the cord?
- Do you want the staff to give your baby a pacifier?
- Will you raise your child in a certain religion?
Ask for Help
Does it take a village to raise a child? At least. You might even have to reach out to the entire tri-state area before the baby is grown. You’ve probably envisioned some calm alone time at home to bond with your newborn, and you can still do that. But by the time the lack of sleep catches up with you, you won’t be in any condition to schedule backup.
If friends and family are offering to help, take them up on it—you can always cancel, and they won’t mind. You can let them know how they can help you through those first few months in tangible ways, so they can prepare, too. That casserole or bulk box of diapers might show up just when you need it most. Let volunteers know how and when they can help with:
- Preparing meals
- Caring for pets
- Breastfeeding support
- Your transition back to full-time work
Roll With It
It’s not possible to over-plan for the birth of your child. The more you prepare, the easier your time will be in the delivery room. But that said, things may not go according to plan. If you’re used to being in charge of every aspect of your life, you’ll have to adjust your expectations. The day the doctor puts your baby in your arms, brace yourself—the adventure begins.
Do your best with the things you can control, like choosing to store umbilical stem cells and tissue. New England Cord Blood Bank specializes in cord blood processing and storage for future health issues. You can’t plan for everything, but this decision can help fight about 80 diseases and potentially many more. Your dearest wish for your child is to have a long, happy, and healthy life. Even if your plans change in ways you can’t foresee, cord blood storage is a gift to your child that they can count on.