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It's Time To Get Ready For Your Baby's Arrival

expectant mom meditating

It's Time To Get Ready For Your Baby's Arrival

mom sitting on bed leaning over baby in bassinet

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.

dad with expectant mom getting ultrasound
expectant mom talking with doctor in office

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.

Childbirth Classes

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. 

expectant mom in childbirth class

Other Ways to Prepare for Baby

expectant mom going over checklist for overnight delivery bag

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:

  • Lotion
  • 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
toddler touching expectant mothers belly

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
smiling child being strapped in baby seat

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.

Get Car Seat Information

Feeling Sad?

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.

Learn About Postpartum Depression
mom sitting down holding baby to chest and leaning head on baby's head

Help Getting Health Care

If paying for medical care is a concern, there is help available for qualified moms-to-be. Here’s information on two programs.
expectant mom at home on couch smiling as nurse holds stethoscope to her belly

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.

Find an MIHP Provider
mom holding infant as nurse gives baby a shot in the leg

Nurse-Family Partnership

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.

See if You are Eligible

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 has helpful advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics.