If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or seek care at an emergency room.
If you’re pregnant, you may have some questions about what’s next. Many women feel a mix of emotions, which is why it’s important to have a care team to guide you every stage of your journey to a healthy delivery.
In part one of the 10 things to know when getting ready for baby series, I shared a few ways you can feel prepared to grow your family, whether you’re already pregnant or just starting to plan for a baby. Here are five more things that can help you feel ready to handle motherhood.
6. Outline what you’d like to include in your birth plan.
At some point in the second trimester, it’s helpful to start thinking about a birth plan. Ask your doctor questions to help determine what you want and don’t want, including:
- Who you would like to be a part of your labor and delivery.
- What kind of environment you prefer (lighting, music, etc.).
- Whether or not you want pain medications.
- How you would like to move around during labor.
- What position you’d like to push in.
- Who you want to cut the umbilical cord.
- Whether or not you want to bank the cord blood.
- Any other special concerns or preferences.
7. There are classes, groups, and specialists to support you at every stage.
As you’re getting ready for baby, hospital and community classes can help you know what to expect throughout labor, delivery, and the first few weeks of caring for a newborn. Consider enrolling in a newborn class to learn tips for diapering, feeding, and understanding baby cries. And, from Lamaze to hypnobirthing, childbirth-education classes can help you prepare for a positive labor and delivery experience. Many classes are offered virtually so you can safely get the information you need while minimizing exposure to others.
While you’re pregnant, it’s also helpful to identify a lactation consultation or nurse who can help you breastfeed during the first two weeks after the baby’s birth when it’s the hardest. Some hospitals also offer lactation consultants, but if yours doesn’t, consider finding one that offers in-home visits. There are also various postpartum and breastfeeding groups that can ensure you feel supported after the baby’s arrival.
8. Put these things on your registry—and choose a retailer with affordable shipping.
In the second trimester, it’s a good idea to start researching strollers, bassinets, and other items that will get the most use. Perhaps your most important purchase will be a car seat, which you’ll need in order to leave the hospital after delivery. Having these items ready to go will help you feel prepared in case the baby decides to come early.
If you’re using a registry to let family and friends know how they can support you with gifts, it’s helpful to choose a retailer that offers free shipping for your loved ones, especially if they’re ordering from a different city or state.
9. Understand how COVID-19 may affect your pregnancy and birthing experience.
While there aren’t any known risks related to COVID-19 during the first trimester, as your belly grows, your lung capacity will shrink. That means that your risk of COVID-19 complications increases as your pregnancy progresses, and this risk is elevated if you have other comorbidities. You can minimize your risk of exposure by attending as many appointments as you can virtually, maintaining social distance, and wearing a facemask.
COVID-19 may affect who and how many people can support you in the hospital and at home during and after labor and delivery. Ask your doctor if your partner can attend, and if they can’t, be prepared to plan for virtual support so you’re not alone. Since babies are born with very little immunity, consider how you will handle visits from your support network once you bring your baby home. It’s also a good idea to have a designated person and plan to help you care for the baby if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19.
Pregnant and wondering how #COVID-19 may affect childbirth? Visit the #LiveWellHealthy blog to see what OB/GYN Dr. Wexler thinks you should know, plus how to get ready for baby amidst a pandemic: https://bit.ly/2EDe28S.
10. Know the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety ahead of time.
Postpartum depression can actually start before the baby arrives, so it’s important to know the signs. Depression and anxiety look different for everyone, but common symptoms include:
- Tunnel vision
- Pounding heart
- Difficulty sleeping
- Intense irritability
- Persistent feeling of overwhelm and sadness
- Trouble concentrating
- Changes to eating patterns (e.g. overeating or not eating enough)
If you’re feeling stressed, try these five tips to manage pregnancy stress with the help of video visits with your doctor. Talk to your OB/GYN about how to differentiate between the baby blues and postpartum depression so that when the baby arrives, you’ll know how to seek help if you need it.
By getting ready for the baby ahead of time, you can rest assured that you’ve done everything you can to prepare for the transition to motherhood. And when you have questions, we’re here for you in-person and virtually so you don’t have to worry about the “what if’s”.