No matter how many times you’ve given birth, there’s a good chance you’re going to be at least a little nervous about labor and delivery. That’s because every labor and delivery experience can be different, and that means it’s always important to do all you can to prepare for your big day.
At his practice in Newburgh, Indiana, Paul Morrison, MD, helps moms-to-be get ready for labor and delivery with prenatal support and guidance focused on each woman’s unique needs. In this post, learn a dozen things you can do to help you get ready.
1. Exercise daily
Making physical activity part of your daily routine is important for your overall health, and it can help reduce your risks of diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), and other potential pregnancy complications. It’s also a great way to manage stress and improve your sleep patterns. Plus, regular exercise — like a daily walk — enhances your stamina, potentially making it easier to withstand the rigors of labor and delivery.
2. Don’t skip appointments
Prenatal doctor appointments are important throughout pregnancy, and they become even more important during the weeks leading up to your due date. Visits happen more frequently during these weeks as we monitor the baby and ensure both of you receive optimal care before your delivery date.
3. Sign up for childbirth classes
Childbirth classes help you prepare physically and emotionally for delivery. That’s important whether you’re a first-time mom or you’ve had children in the past. Be sure to register early, since classes can fill up quickly.
4. Tour the maternity ward
Many hospitals provide parents-to-be with tours of the maternity ward, helping you understand what to expect throughout your stay. Scheduling a tour helps you feel more confident about your big day, and it’s also a great opportunity to ask the staff any questions you might have, including what to pack, what type of car seat you’ll need, and other neonatal topics.
5. Prioritize rest
It’s not always easy to sleep when you’re in your third trimester — but it can get even harder once your baby is here. Take naps when you can, stick to a regular sleep schedule, and use pillows to prevent discomfort while lying down. Being well rested can help during delivery, too.
6. Develop a birth plan
There’s no way to know for sure what your labor and delivery will be like, but it’s still a good idea to have a plan. Having a plan in writing helps you communicate your needs to your team at the hospital, and it also helps you feel more confident. You can find a sample birth plan here to serve as inspiration.
7. Practice relaxation techniques
Stress and anxiety cause muscle tension, and when you’re in labor, you want to do all you can to help your muscles relax. Practicing relaxation techniques, like breathing exercises, meditation, or visualization exercises, can help a lot once your delivery date arrives.
8. Find out about breastfeeding
If you plan on breastfeeding, working with a lactation consultant can be an empowering experience, especially if you haven’t breastfed before. Breastfeeding classes are another option, helping you learn techniques about latching on, breast care, and other topics.
9. Pack your hospital bag
It’s true — most hospitals do provide some “starter” supplies to new moms. But you still need to pack some clothes for yourself, a “going-home” outfit for your baby, and some other toiletries and supplies. Not sure what to include in your hospital bag? This list offers some suggestions.
10. Get your home ready
Whether your baby has their own nursery or you’re placing a crib in the corner of your own room, you’ll want to have your baby’s sleeping area prepared before you head to the hospital. Stock your freezer and your pantry with simple meals and staples so you don’t have to stress over meal time in the first couple of weeks. You might want a sitz bath and extra sanitary pads, too.
11. Have some help lined up
Having a baby takes a lot out of you, and caring for a newborn can pose some challenges, too. Having a family member or other loved one on hand to run errands, do simple chores, and even take on an occasional feeding can be a big help.
12. Find a pediatrician
Even though your baby isn’t here yet, it’s still a good idea to think about their pediatrician. Choosing a pediatrician now means you’ll have time for a meet-and-greet appointment where you can ask plenty of questions about newborn care, immunizations, and other concerns.
If you have questions about your labor and delivery, we have the answers. Call 812-490-5200 or book an appointment online with the practice of Paul W. Morrison, MD, today.