Right . . . except for that thing called childbirth that comes between pregnancy and holding your new little one in your arms.
To help you feel as prepared as possible for that important day—your “labor day”—here are four tips you can put to work for you: Learn, Arrange, Pack, and Prepare.
Oh, and this one’s a bonus: Relax.
Step 1: Learn About Childbirth
Find out what childbirth is going to be like. Then you won’t have to face the fear of the unknown.
- Take childbirth classes if available at your hospital or birth center.
- Tour your hospital or birth center so it looks familiar when you’re in labor. (For the Redwood Area Hospital, you can sign up for tours here. For Renville County Hospital, learn more here.)
- Ask for free childbirth lessons through your local pregnancy center. Here at Choices Pregnancy Center, you can join our Earn While You Learn program to learn about the birth process, relaxation techniques, comfort measures, and medical interventions, so you feel confident and know what to expect. All at no cost to you.
Step 2: Arrange Your Plans
Plan now to avoid panicking when your labor begins. Make these key arrangements ahead of time, then simply carry them out when the big day comes:
- Set up care for older children. Arrange for a trustworthy family member and/or friend to be ready to pick up or stay with your children. Will one or more of those children need car seats? If so, make sure your caregivers know how to properly install a car seat and safely secure your child in it. Pack a bag for each child in case they are away from home overnight.
- Line up help at home after delivery. You’ll need to recover and adjust to your new life. So ask a few friends or family members to be ready to help out during the first few weeks after you and your newborn come home. Helpers might play with your older children, make a meal or two, or just keep your home running smoothly while you recuperate.
- List important phone numbers. Make a list of anyone who might need to know you’re having your baby: childcare providers, school officials, family members, close friends, your work, your spouse’s/partner’s work, and so forth. Keep the list with you, and have a copy to give to anyone helping you.
- Get a ride—and a backup. Make sure you know how you will get to the hospital, no matter when or where your labor begins.
Step 3: Pack for the Hospital
Pack early to relieve stress and feel prepared. Keep track of what you’ve packed and what last-minute things you (or your helper) should grab on your way out the door. Here’s our suggested list:
- Slippers with non-slip soles
- Robe so you can walk around the maternity ward
- Socks to keep your feet warm
- Lip balm and hard candies to keep your mouth moist
- Headband or hair ties to keep long hair back
- Eyeglasses (contacts will have to come out)
- Relaxing thing to do or read during early labor (cards, crosswords, baby book, magazine…)
- 3 pairs loose-fitting underwear
- Nightgown that allows nursing
- 2 nursing bras
- Nursing pads
- Toiletries: comb/brush, toothbrush/paste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, razor, cosmetics
- Homecoming clothes: Loose-fitting maternity clothes for you (your baby bump won’t disappear right away!) and for Baby (undershirt, sleeper, socks, cap, and blanket(s) according to weather)
- Clean socks and toothbrush for birth partner
- Camera and charger
- List of phone numbers to call
- Diaper bag, stocked with diapers and wipes
- Baby’s CAR SEAT—you can’t leave the hospital without one
--Click here to download your own copy of that packing list.--
Step 4: Prepare to Welcome Baby Home
Getting baby’s room ready and stocked up often happens naturally toward the end of pregnancy. Some people call this your “nesting instinct.” Do you have these things on hand? (Download the following list by clicking here.)
- Several lightweight blankets
- Crib or bassinet
- 3-4 fitted sheets for baby’s crib or bassinet
- 4-6 waterproof pads
- 2 warm blankets
- 2-3 soft terry-cloth towels with hoods
- 12 burp cloths
- 6 dozen newborn diapers (you’ll use 8-12/day)
- No-tears baby soap and shampoo
- 2 boxes diaper wipes
- Diaper rash ointment
- Sterile cotton balls and cotton swabs
- Baby nail clippers
- 4 4-oz. and 12 8-oz. baby bottles (even if you plan to breastfeed, use these to save expressed milk)
- Petroleum jelly
- Nasal aspirator
- 4 terry-cloth sleepers
- 3 pairs of booties or socks
- 4 onesies
- 2 caps
- Clothes that fit the season—warm or cold weather clothes, hat
Even more importantly, make sure you have learned about how to safely put your child to bed to prevent the tragedy of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Find out more here.
To get one-on-one training to help your baby sleep safely, come in for our free lessons through Earn While You Learn. This program also gives you access to no-cost baby supplies in our Boutique.
Yes, getting ready for your Labor Day takes some work. But once you’re ready, relax and look forward to the day you welcome your new baby into your world!
You don’t have to prepare for this journey alone.
At Choices Pregnancy Center, we care about you and your child. We’re here to answer your questions, provide encouragement and offer personal support—during pregnancy and beyond.
Contact us and let us know how we can help you.