May is Pregnancy Awareness Month, so today’s post from guest blogger, Katie Moore, is in honor of all mamas-to-be. Katie’s blog, Moore From Katie, covers all things mama and baby, so be sure to check it out!
Bringing a new life into the world takes a lot more planning than simply prepping the nursery. Healthcare, both pre- and post-delivery, should be the main focus of every pregnancy. There are several standard steps you can follow to help make sure you are ready for delivery day.
Find the right doctor
It may be necessary for you to interview several doctors before finding one that has a similar birthing philosophy. Some doctors offer scheduled cesarean procedures while others opt for natural childbirth whenever possible. Be sure to research patient opinions and board certifications on any doctor up for consideration.
Decide where to have the baby
Unless you live in a rural area, there are probably several different options for birthing facilities near you. There may be a birthing center that serves your local area, a hospital with a maternity ward, or even a midwife who specializes in home births. It’s important to plan ahead with your doctor or midwife to determine the location for your delivery. Not every doctor/midwife has privileges at every hospital. Keep discussions open about the options in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises when the day comes.
Write up a birth plan
Before ever stepping foot into a birthing center or hospital, it’s a great idea for you to have a birth plan drawn up that details your preferences for labor and delivery. Generally less is more, so the plan should not be too complex but should provide a general outline for how you want your labor and delivery to be handled.
Pack a bag
Putting together an overnight bag for the hospital stay is another must. Make sure to pack a at least one change of clothes for yourself, clothing for your baby, a toothbrush, breastfeeding paraphernalia (if you plan to nurse), slippers and entertainment in the form of a book, music or movie. For a more comprehensive packing checklist, click here.
After the birth
There are some other considerations to take into account immediately after the baby is born. For example, is the baby going to be vaccinated? Will the baby be fed with breast milk or formula? Will you be collecting the baby’s cord blood for cord blood banking? Knowing the answers to these questions in advance can save you a lot of stress. Vaccinations are universally performed in the hospital, often within hours of birth. If the hospital is not notified in advance that a baby should not be vaccinated, it is likely the infant will be vaccinated almost immediately. Of course, no mother can know in advance whether breast-feeding will be successful, but you can decide whether or not you are going to try. If you decide to bank your baby’s cord blood for future medical treatments, it should be collected soon after delivery, so the hospital will need to be aware of your plans in advance. Forward thinking and early planning can help make delivery a breeze and allow you to spend the first few hours after birth blissfully cuddling your new baby rather than making stressful but important decisions.