There are several lots of important decisions you need to make during pregnancy that will have a huge impact on you and your babe.
When it comes to childbirth, it’s always best to be overprepared rather than underprepared. You have many options to go through to make those major choices, but we have narrowed down the ideal pregnancy checklist with 15 things you need to cross off.
This list will help make the experience a lot easier, so you can get all your prep done before the little one arrives.
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Decisions You Have To Make During Pregnancy
Where To Give Birth
No matter how early you are in the pregnancy, it is always worth thinking about where you would like to give birth.
This needs to be your first and most important decision because it impacts who you pick to be your healthcare provider. Think about whether you want to have your baby at home, a hospital, or even a birthing center.
Your obstetrician will have specific privileges at some hospitals, so you should ask them to help schedule you in for your labor.
Some midwives may not be able to deliver at hospitals, so they will need to attend a home birth if you choose this option.
Birth location is a very special and personal choice, and you will need to find or switch doctors early in your pregnancy.
Most providers can accept patients until 34 weeks, but you can rest assured knowing that you have already locked down the best doctor or midwife for your child’s welcome into the world.
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The American Academic of Pediatrics (AAP) says that new mothers should breastfeed their babies for the first six months.
Then you should balance breastfeeding with some solid foods for about a year or more. I breastfed past the two-year mark with all three of mine and that’s perfectly acceptable.
However, breastfeeding is a personal choice. Not every mother is comfortable breastfeeding a newborn, so it all depends on your own lifestyle and needs.
A lactation consultant can help answer all your questions before the baby comes, and they can give you tips on how to get your baby to latch on if you decide to breastfeed.
You should also take a breastfeeding course because contrary to popular belief breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally to mama and baby. Those first few hours are critical so it’s really important to go in knowing what you’re doing.
Milkology is a great option and it’s cheap and quick. You can see it here or you can click on the banner below.
Labor Pain Management Methods
Childbirth is not a pain-free experience. You may opt for an epidural to help manage the pain or go for an unmedicated birth.
There are a few options for you, so you should speak to your gynecologist to lock in a decision months before your due date. But you can always change your mind if you need to while giving birth. So don’t fret over it too much.
Choosing your labor pain management method will also impact where you give birth.
For instance, if you want an epidural, you will need to be admitted to a hospital.
In the meantime, try to take some childbirth classes to know what to expect. Labor can last for several hours and knowing what your body will go through will help you decide whether you want a medicated birth or not.
Some women handle the pain better than others, so this choice comes down to your personal preference.
Taking a labor course will help you make these important decisions and just like a breastfeeding course, a labor course is a super important step you should take to prepare for birth.
Here’s the best one online and you can do it at your own pace in about 3 hours’ time. You will learn EVERYTHING you need to know. Honestly, this course is amazing. You can find it here.
Finding a Pediatrician
Your newborn baby will need to get an immediate checkup after birth.
They will be taken for a routine exam in the hospital within 24 hours after being born.
This will be done by the medical staff or your pediatrician. Then your baby will need to undergo their first wellness health checkup a week after their birth.
Therefore, you will need to have a great pediatrician on speed dial before the baby arrives since you will rely on their support. Start interviewing potential doctors in your area when you are in your third trimester to ensure that they will be a good fit.
Also, read reviews. I got stuck with a terrible Pediatrician with my first kiddo and had to change. Not a fun or easy experience.
Hiring a Doula
A Doula is a birthing expert that can help you through the process. Even though you do not need to hire them, they are extremely helpful.
They are trained to provide a lot of emotional, educational, and physical support.
Doulas are not qualified to give any medical care, but they can encourage and motivate you through labor. They will go over your birthing plan and answer any questions you have.
Doulas can also guide you on the different positions for more comfort and help you practice some breathing techniques.
You can ask them to massage any aches, and they have great advice for any postpartum support you may need.
Interview reputable doulas in your area to choose the right person because you will be spending a lot of time with them.
Cord Blood Banking
This is a process where blood leftover from a newborn baby’s umbilical cord gets collected for medical purposes in the future.
This can be used to provide cancer treatment for your child down the line. I really wish I had done this for mine but I didn’t know about it at the time.
Or you can donate it for another child who may need a transplant. You can choose whether you want to store this blood from the cord in a private bank by paying a fee.
Alternatively, you can donate it to the public blood bank.
If you want it in your own cord blood bank, then you will need to choose the right one and get their collection kit approximately six weeks before you are due.
Let your doctor know your final decision, and they will be prepared to collect the blood for you moments after birth.
Delayed Cord Clamping
If you have decided to collect blood from the umbilical cord, you cannot delay clamping the cord to prevent clots.
This is a standard procedure that you will need to discuss with your doctor to see if this is something that they can consider without risking your health. Clamping of the cord can usually be delayed by a few seconds to 5 minutes.
Saving Your Placenta
Nearly half an hour after giving birth, your body will get rid of the placenta.
If you choose to keep the placenta for any symbolic reasons, you will need to talk to your doctor.
You may want to drink it in a smoothie or consume it in the form of pills. The placenta can be helpful with postpartum recoveries by boosting your mood and production of breast milk.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against eating the placenta because it can lead to infections for you or the baby.
If you want to save the placenta for personal reasons, tell your doctor in advance to use methods that will lower the risk of infections.
Think About Circumcision
If you are giving birth to a baby boy, you will need to think about whether you want them to be circumcised or not.
Many parents go this route for cultural and religious reasons.
However, there are also medical advantages of circumcisions to help prevent urinary tract infections and other sexually transmitted diseases in the future.
Research Baby’s Shots
Newborn babies come into this world with low vitamin K levels, which is necessary to form healthy blood clots.
A vitamin K deficiency for a new baby can be life-threatening because there is a risk of bleeding out if they cannot clot correctly.
Parents have a right to decline these shots, but it is always better to get them once they are born.
Your baby may also need a Hepatitis B vaccine.
Ensure that you do the research beforehand and are prepared to sign all consent forms before giving birth.
People in Delivery Room
Although most family members and loved ones would love to cram into the delivery room to support you, it is always best to choose who you want to be there before going into labor.
This way, you can avoid all the stress and family dramas, especially if hospitals only allow a couple of people in there with you.
You can also choose when to let someone inside. If you permit a friend and partner, they do not have to be with you the entire time if you need some privacy.
Delivery Room Experience
After picking the person you want in the delivery room with you, the next step is to think about the environment you want to set before going into labor.
Some mothers prefer curating playlists to listen to music while giving birth.
This is useful if you want some motivation or soothing sounds, especially during breathing exercises.
Alternatively, you can also bring some essential oils and a diffuser to help you cope with stress.
If you want peace and quiet, you can also hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign outside the door so nurses will know to keep their voices down.
Skin-to-skin or kangaroo care involves keeping your naked baby directly on your chest. This helps newborns regulate their body temperature and stabilize critical signs.
It can also soothe the cries of your babies and lead to healthier weight gain and breastfeeding progress.
If you want to go through this process with your child, make sure to inform your care provider even if you are undergoing a c-section.
Baby’s First Bath
Your baby will be born covered in a white and waxy substance known as vernix. This is where the baby will need a sponge bath a couple of hours after they are born.
However, some people prefer delaying the first bath for an entire day. This is because vernix can help keep the baby warm while regulating their blood sugar.
New mothers also avoid washing their babies before bonding with some skin-to-skin contact.
Unless there is a medical reason, you can delay washing your newborn baby for a few hours. Plan the best way to give them a first bath before going into labor, and let your doctor know to prevent any last-minute surprises.
Although there are benefits of using pacifiers to lower SIDS, they can lead to ear infections and other dental problems as the baby grows. Learn more about preventing SIDS here.
Research the benefits and risks of using pacifiers before deciding whether you want your child to have one. If you want to use a pacifier, you will need to think about ways to introduce it to the baby.
Some may be happy accepting it from the get-go, but others can be hesitant to take it. Some nurses in the hospital may also offer a pacifier to help calm the baby, so you should always let them know your decision before birth if you are comfortable using pacifiers or not.
In the end….
Childbirth is always full of unknown factors, even though some women may be having their third or fourth child. With each child you’ll have important Decisions You Have To Make During Pregnancy.
It’s always an unnerving experience for mothers, despite how much experience they have. Stay flexible with your choices and decisions.
That way, you will not get disheartened if something does not go your way entirely.
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