*Pregnancy* Last-Minute To-Dos

Last-minute to-dos before you give birth and bring baby home:

Before you reach the last few weeks of pregnancy, you should take care of a few last-minute to-dos. This way, you won't have any loose ends to deal with when you go into labor.

Use this checklist to help you get ready.

  1. Visit the hospital or birthing center. Make sure you know how to get there, where to park, and where to check-in. Find out if you can preregister so that your insurance information will already be in the computer when you arrive.

  2. Develop a birth plan and discuss it with your doctor or midwife, and doula. A birth plan is a tool used to communicate how you want labor and delivery to go. Some things you might want to include in your plan are what support people you want in your labor room, your wishes for managing pain, your desire to hold or nurse your baby right after birth, and concerns you have about any routine policies or procedure at the hospital or birthing center. Write your birth plan out so that you can bring it to the hospital when you go into labor. Find out how to reach your doctor or midwife when you go into labor. And ask her or him at what point in labor should you call. Consider the value of a Birth Doula and hire one to attend your birth!

  3. Arrange maternity leave with your employer, and discuss who can cover for you during your time off.

  4. Arrange for a neighbor or family member to take care of your pets or other children while you are in the hospital.

  5. Talk to family members and friends about what kind of support will be helpful to you when you come home with your newborn. You will need lots of support and help so that you can focus on healing and bonding with your baby. On the other hand, don't plan for too many out-of-town visitors all at once. Ask family members and friends to be flexible.

  6. Consider the value of a Birth and Postpartum Doula and hire one to support you during and after the birth!

  7. Pack a bag for the hospital. You will want to pack items for yourself and your baby.

Before you bring baby home:

  1. Check the safety of your baby's crib and other baby items. Many new parents welcome hand-me-down baby items from family and friends. Although it's wise to save money, some products could be unsafe if recalled or if parts are missing or loose. Unsafe cribs and other items can put your baby's life in danger. Most brand new cribs and mattresses purchased in the United States are safe. Make sure the crib conforms to the current government safety standards. Also, check to see if hand-me-down items, such as bassinets or portable cribs, have been recalled. Check for recalls and get information on buying a safe crib and mattress at the U.S. Consumer Product Information Safety Commission website. Or call them at 800-638-2772.

  2. Remove pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals from the crib to prevent your baby from suffocation.

  3. Check to see that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home are working. Place at least one smoke detector on each level of your home and in halls outside of bedrooms. Have an escape plan in case of fire.

  4. Put emergency numbers, including poison control, near each phone. Have at least one phone in your home connected by land line. Cordless phones do not work when the power is out, and cellphone batteries can run out.

  5. Make sure your home or apartment number is easy to see so fire or rescue can locate you quickly in an emergency.

  6. Make sure handrails are installed and secure in stairways. Always hold the handrail when using stairs, especially when holding your baby.

Source: Office on Women’s Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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