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It's Time To Get Ready For Your Baby's Arrival
It's Time To Get Ready For Your Baby's Arrival
Getting Ready for Baby
It may seem like you’ve been pregnant forever, but your baby will be coming soon. Start planning now, so when your baby is born, you’ll be ready. It will make the birth and first few weeks at home more enjoyable for you, and your baby.
Planning for Your Baby's Birth
If you are getting care from a doctor or nurse midwife, talk to them now about the birth of your baby. Your health care professional will help you get in touch with the hospital or birth center before your baby is born. You can get ready by filling out paperwork now, taking a tour of the birthing center, learning which entrance to use, where to park, and other things to take some of the stress out of baby’s arrival. You should also map out the route you’ll take to get there and note how long the trip will be.
Your Delivery Plan
You can also talk to your health care professional about what to expect during delivery. Think about whether you want to use pain medications during labor, who might be with you, and what happens if you need a Cesarean section or an unexpected procedure. There’s no way to predict how your baby’s birth will go, but having information ahead of time will help you make decisions and feel less anxiety.
Sign up for a childbirth education class and learn about labor and birth. Many classes teach ways to make delivery more comfortable and enjoyable using breath control, massage, and other techniques. Plus, you’ll meet other expectant parents and be able to share your experiences and tips. Consider other classes, too, like breastfeeding, caring for your infant, home safety and CPR. Check with your doctor’s office, or ask other new moms for a list of classes.
Other Ways to Prepare for Baby
Pack a Bag
Babies don’t pay attention to due dates, so you’ve got to be ready when they are. Pack a bag to take to the birth center at least a month in advance. Think about what items you’ll want to help you stay comfortable during labor, and for your time afterward. Common items include:
- Hair ties or accessories
- A book or magazine to read
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- A robe or gown
- Slippers or cozy socks
- Lip balm
- Phone charger
- Face wipes
- Glasses, if you wear them
- Your own pajamas that you can nurse in, if you are breastfeeding
- A going home outfit for you
- A going home outfit for baby
- Baby blanket or cover
If You Have Other Children at Home
Here are some things to do if you have other children at home:
- Make plans to have someone stay with them while you are at the hospital
- Have a backup person, in case you can’t reach your designated caregiver and need to get to the birth center quickly
- Talk to your children about what to expect when you come home with a newborn
- Ask them what they think it will be like to be a big brother or sister
- Read some children’s books together to help them learn what it will be like to have a new baby in the house
Preparing for When Baby Comes Home
Going home from the hospital with your new baby is an exciting time. If this is your first baby, you will be faced with a number of other first-time events, like securing your baby in a car seat for the trip home. Install a rear-facing seat and have it checked by a safety professional. Many public safety departments offer car seat checks for free.
Feeling sad, or overwhelmed, even when you think you should be happy, is common after the birth of a baby. Many women have a bout with postpartum depression. There are many changes happening in your body and your life and it can be a lot to handle. If feelings of sadness last, or you have trouble taking care of yourself or your baby because of it, call your health care professional for help.
Help Getting Health Care
Maternal Infant Health Program
Pregnant women with Medicaid can receive free care at home from the Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP).
A nurse and social worker will work with you to provide support during your pregnancy and after your baby is born. Through MIHP, you’ll learn the skills you need to stay healthy and have a healthy baby. It’s like having a personal care team to coordinate with your doctor, your health plan, and other providers in your community.
The Nurse-Family Partnership program guides young, first-time expectant mothers from early pregnancy through their child’s second birthday.
A trained nurse partner will work with you to offer help and advice throughout your pregnancy, visit you at home and answer questions about infant care, and give you the support you need to raise a happy, healthy baby and create a stable, secure future for you both.
More Resources for Parents-To-Be
Stay Healthy During Pregnancy
Find information on what you can do to stay healthy during pregnancy from the Center for Disease Control.
Get Nutrition Tips
Get tip sheets on meal planning, exercise, and more from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Get Pediatric Advice
HealthyChildren.org has helpful advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics.