When you are trying to get pregnant, or have just started your pregnancy journey, the endless questions, tasks, and lists of to-dos can seem overwhelming. Not only do you have your own mental checklist but everyone also wants to tell you what you NEED to do. But what are the things you should make your priority?
As doulas, we have a few items that we consider high priority during pregnancy. Here are five important check-boxes you may not have considered. And as a bonus, we included a practical check list for your entire pregnancy to download at the bottom of this post! Check it out!
Ask yourself if your care provider is the right one for you
You may have been seeing your obgyn for a long time, never considering whether you actually envision them as the one you want assisting you in the delivery of your baby. Talk to your provider and see if you are on the same page about the goals you have for your birth. If they do not seem supportive of your desires, it is never too late to find someone new. You deserve to have a provider who supports you and wants to see your achieve the birth you desire.
Research and sign up for classes
This may seem like a given, but there are many expectant parents who forego classes because reading books and talking to your provider makes you feel adequately prepared. We are here to tell you that, nothing will take the place of actually taking a class. Discussing the stages of labor, learning what is normal, hearing the protocol for your own hospital or birth center is extremely important. If you plan to breastfeed, getting as much preparation as possible will be invaluable. Even as a seasoned parent, being reminded in a class about routine newborn procedures may remind you to update your birth plan!
Consider baby registry alternatives
You may be really excited about your baby shower, and who wouldn't be! Cute clothes, a new bassinet, and all the baby "must-haves" help you to prepare your home and your head. These days however, there are TONS of places to buy used baby items, some brand new, for cheap. This gives you the freedom to be non-traditional with your registry. You can ask for contributions towards funds for your doula. You could ask people to contribute to a college savings fund or to help you save for your "babymoon". Consider options that help you outside of actual "things."
Plan for recovery
We spend a lot of time preparing for labor and bringing baby home, and we often forget that postpartum time is difficult. Recovery is important for your body and your mind. The last thing you're going to want to do is cook, so take time before baby arrives to plan your food. Make freezer meals or set up a meal train. You're going to need supplies for postpartum bleeding and soreness. Prepare "padsicles" and stock yourself with tucks pads. Remember that your baby needs you, so you need to take care of yourself as much as you take care of baby.
Research and plan for childcare
If you are going to be a working parent, you will need childcare. This is not always easy to come by, for infants especially. Start planning now. Your 6 or 12 weeks home after baby arrives may seem like enough time to figure this out, but it simply is not. There are waiting lists, minimal spots for infants, and varying open hours for different facilities. If you have your heart set on an in-home daycare, you may need to find and interview several before you feel comfortable with your choice. Leaving your baby to go back to work is difficult in and of itself, so take plenty of time to plan for childcare and find the right provider for you.
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