It may seem like your pregnancy will go on forever, but you’ll get to meet your new baby before you know it. In the meantime, take advantage of the long wait to prepare as best you can for the changes ahead. A little advance planning now will make it easier to relax and enjoy your pregnancy as your due date nears.
Here are some helpful ways to prepare for your baby’s arrival:
Learn about the birth process
The prospect of giving birth can be daunting, and you may be tempted to put it all out of your mind until it happens. But Glade Curtis, obstetrician and coauthor of Your Pregnancy Week by Week, advises against this strategy. “In my experience, women who learn about birth ahead of time are more active participants in their own birth process, which leads to better outcomes,” he says.
Consider taking a birth class to learn about the stages of labor, options for pain management, breathing techniques, and medical equipment that may be used during your delivery. It’s a good idea to start looking into classes midway through your pregnancy to make sure you can get into one you like – and have time to take it!
You can also learn about different ways of giving birth by watching videos of actual deliveries, including natural birth, water birth, birth with an epidural, delivery by c-section, and more.
Once you’ve done your research, you might want to list your preferences in a birth plan. But keep in mind that being well informed and armed with a birth plan doesn’t mean your labor and delivery will go exactly as planned.
“There are so many twists and turns that labor can take, and no one can predict how it will go,” says Dianne Randall, a childbirth and lactation educator at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns in San Diego.
Find a doctor for your baby
You may want to start looking for a pediatrician or family doctor for your baby midway through your pregnancy. That may seem early, but you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to find a physician who will be a good fit for your family – and who is taking new patients and accepts your insurance.
Talk to your health insurance provider to find out how to add your baby to your policy, and see which local doctors are covered. Make sure you understand how your insurance plan works, especially regarding your benefits for labor, delivery, and maternity care.
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