Preparing for Labor: Your To-Do ListKatlyn Joy | 1, April 2011
After months of pregnancy you figure you'd be all set for the big day. However, when time has a way of slipping by and before you know it someone asks have you packed your labor bag or did you pre-register at the hospital yet? And you panic because you realize it's finally, really time to get ready. The big day is upon you! Labor could happen in a matter of weeks or maybe days.
It may help to break down the final checklist for Birth Day into categories, or a series of mini-to do lists. That way you don't feel so overwhelmed. Plus remember it's perfectly OK to delegate duties to your spouse or friends or family members.
Packing for the Hospital
- Pack your labor bag. This includes items needed for the labor and birth.
- Pack the hospital bag. This includes items you need for after baby arrives, for those couple or few days of your post-birth hospital stay.
- Pack your spouse's bag. Snacks, camera, change of clothes and such.
- Pre-register and take the tour if you haven't already.
- Get your doctor's final directions for when to call and when to go to the hospital.
- Have list of numbers of who to call with the big news.
- Ask hospital staff about policies on visitors, what to pack and what you should not bring. Also ask about what items are provided for you and baby so you don't pack anything unnecessary.
Preparing Your Home:
- Get the nursery all set. Clothes washed and put away, crib up and sheets on.
- Cook up some extra meals and freeze for later use when you are too tired and busy for such things.
- On a related note, have delivery menus collected in a central place.
- If you have older children, have a list written up for whoever will be babysitting explaining schedules, providing important numbers and any special instructions.
- Make sure the car always has plenty of gas and is ready for a last minute trip to hospital.
- Organize and clean up any areas you know you need to before baby arrives. Nothing is worse than staring at that pile of ironing or the Christmas decorations that never were put away while you're exhausted and nursing the baby in the recliner.
- Do the big baby proofing stuff ahead of time. You can do the more detailed baby proofing later when your little one is closer to mobile.
- Do simple stretches and Kegel exercises everyday to prepare your body for labor.
- Take walks to help keep your energy up and possibly help kick labor into gear.
- Get your hair trimmed, your nails done, and any other beauty routines that you might have to neglect for a bit. It will keep your spirits up if you don't feel frumpy.
- Read up on c-sections, pre-eclampsia and general labor and delivery so that you are more prepared. The more you know, the less frightening situations can be.
- Take a birthing class if you haven't already, even if you are not a first-timer a refresher course can be good.
- Discuss your birth plan with both your healthcare provider and your partner. Talk about measures that you think may help comfort you during labor and those which you think would annoy you. Just realize those may change when the big moment arrives. Be prepared but flexible and explain the same to your partner.
- Practice breathing, relaxing and birthing techniques daily so they become easy and natural.
- Keep up kick counts as your doctor directs. Knowing the regular patterns and movements of your little one will help clue you in more quickly to the start of labor or any possible problems.
- Have plenty of distractions available in case of prolonged labor or heaven forbid an overdue baby. Play games, go to movies, visit with friends, go to lunch and have a personal film festival at home. While you're at it, get those birth announcements, thank you's and the baby memory book in order.
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