Follow our checklist to make sure you are prepared for your little one's arrival. By Sister Burgie Ireland
Your baby will get bigger and stronger, move more often and sleep for longer periods during the third trimester. Your body, mind, soul and spirit are preparing for the birth and over the next three months, worldly worries will become less important as you focus more on yourself and your baby.
Like all mammals, a mother wants everything to be perfect for her baby. Don’t wait for the urge to build, paint, clean and organise to hit you in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Now’s the time to organise what you haven’t done.
Packing for hospital
Use the guide from the hospital for what you and your baby will need. Remember, you’re not going on holiday – so you will only need a small bag for yourself and another for your baby. Pack a ‘goodie-bag’ for the labour ward with nice-to-have items like energy sweets, hair bands, a hairbrush, wet wipes, socks, lip-ice, massage cream, disposable panties, tissues and anything else you can think of.
Preparing for the birth
Birth is unpredictable, so you can’t plan it like a holiday. The hospital has their way of doing things with the mother and baby’s safety and best interests in mind. Expect the unexpected. Ask your healthcare provider about pain relief options, skin-to-skin bonding, breastfeeding, rooming-in, birth registration and visiting policies.
Antenatal exercises and classes
These help to prepare your birthing muscles, teach you relaxation and breathing techniques and explain what labour and birth is all about. It’s important to understand what’s going to happen to you and know how to deal with it. These exercises, although simple, are effective. They will get harder to do as you near the end of your pregnancy, so do them religiously while you’re still comfortable.
At your check-up this month, you may have a 3D scan, which means you’ll be able to see what your baby looks like. Put this appointment date in your partner’s phone to make sure he is with you on this special occasion.
Your last pit-stop! Don’t be surprised if you feel emotional, forgetful and clumsy!
Daily to-do list
Your hormones are softening cartilage and ligaments in preparation for the birth. Unfortunately, this is not confined to the pelvis – it affects all other joints in your body and turns your brain to mush. Let your diary or your phone take charge – jot things down as you remember them.
You may find that small, frequent, non-fatty, non-spicy meals are easier to digest than three big meals. Have some warmed milk with honey (or Ovaltine) before you go to bed at night to help you relax and sleep.
Book daycare for your baby
Facilities with a good reputation fill up quickly, so make sure your baby is registered for the time when you go back to work. Visit the centre when they’re not expecting you, make sure that it is registered with the local health department, check the number of babies per care worker and make sure the staff are friendly and cooperative before you pay the deposit.
Also find out where your local baby clinic is where your baby can be immunised and weighed.
To-do list for your partner
- Men are not as connected to pending parenthood as women are. This means that it usually hits him like a tsunami in the delivery room when he holds a little human (who looks just like him) in his arms for the first time.
- To make sure he keeps the home front running in your absence, make a list and leave it on the fridge.
Wash and pack these into the nursery drawers. Have a nappy bag or generous square basket for disposable nappies and buy a nappy-disposal bin. Put finishing touches to the nursery or where your baby will sleep.
Have a massage, pedicure and manicure (clear varnish will be necessary if you’re having a C-section) and a wax.
Healthcare provider visits
These will be weekly or more often if necessary.
Practise squatting, kneeling on all fours, breathing, relaxation and focusing techniques you have read about or learned in birthing classes.
After weeks of apathy and lethargy, there will come the day when you find yourself bouncing
off the walls with energy. Use this progesterone boost to do the things you’ve been too lazy to do for a while.
The final countdown
- Have emergency numbers on your phone and make sure your partner is on stand-by to take you to the hospital when your contractions are regular and about five minutes apart.
- You will have episodes of false labour. When you think you’re in labour, have a warm (not hot) relaxing bath. True labour will be enhanced and contractions will get stronger. If this is a false labour, the warm bath will relax you and contractions will go away.
- Have your hospital bag waiting at the front door, and make sure you have all the paperwork you need.
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