Pregnancy is a journey that comes in phases, and each stage bears its challenges. The thought of labor and subsequent costs can bring in fear and panic. However, planning can be a real deal. It helps your mind and body to prepare in advance for the coming events.
So, how do you prepare for labor?
Here are some tips that will help you plan for your baby’s arrival.
1. Enroll in Pregnancy Class
People register for driving classes before they acquire a car. Better still, they make some effort to get a marriage counselor and sometimes obtain a certificate before moving in with someone.
But when it comes to parenting, it’s surprising how most parents will just wait for information to find them.
Parenting begins from conception. And in between, there is a whole course to undertake, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Please, start preparing for your baby by enrolling in a childbirth class. There are varied, and the best thing you’ll find them online.
Most of these classes will teach you basic relaxation techniques for pregnant moms. Which will lessen your anxiety as you move towards your EDD.
You can also learn breathing techniques during labor, pain-relieving positions, the basics of taking care of a newborn, and above all, you get a community of like-minded people to walk with you.
2. Maintain Healthy Eating
Eating healthy meals is not just for preconception and first trimesters. You should maintain throughout your last lap. In the third trimester, your fetus is gaining weight fast. The body parts are developing. It’s also full of activities such as kicking, playing, and you also need a good diet for labor, nursing, and healing.
With all this stuff happening, the food choices you make are crucial for your baby’s health. Ensure you eat lots of fruits, dark green leafy veggies, whole grains, and proteins.
Foods rich in vitamin A like carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes will help your baby’s skin and vision develop well. While vitamin D foods like egg yolk, beef liver, and morning sunlight are essential for strengthening bones and teeth for both of you.
Do not neglect vitamin B12 fortified foods for a strong nervous and rejuvenation of red blood cells.
Remember, you will lose blood during delivery. So, ensure that your diet consists of food-rich in irons such as beetroots, liver, and leafy greens. Omega-3 fatty acids folate and supplements are also critical.
3. Keep Moving
The third trimester stretches your body maximally. The fatigue is real. Not to mention heartburn, sleep challenges, foot swellings, frequent urination, and shortness of breath. We have been there, mama! You’ll overcome it. But meanwhile, keep yourself busy with some exercises.
Moving your muscles will elevate your moods and help reduce some discomfort while preparing your body and baby for the big day.
Here are some recommended exercises by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists;
- Pelvic floor exercises
- Swimming and water workouts
- Stationary bicycling
- Yoga and modified Pilates
Click here for free pregnancy and postpartum workout.
4. Your Last Antenatal Clinical Tour
Taking a tour of your preferred hospital or place of birth is very crucial. You want to familiarize yourself with the environment and get to know more about the people who will welcome your newborn. During this visit,
- You may need to do an ultrasound to double-check the baby’s position and weight.
- You may check your blood pressure.
- Your health provider may take you through what to expect in case of either virginal birth or C-section.
- You can discuss breastfeeding and formulas.
- Ask about baby items your hospital expects you to bring or the delivery items your preferred hospital can offer to avoid a double purchase.
- Check on your hospital insurance cover and the limits.
- Talk about the possibilities of labor induction and membrane stripping.
- Ask whether you can come with your gynecologist apart from the one provided by the hospital.
- Move around and check the wards and baby beds to ascertain whether that hospital is fit for you.
Having this information upfront eases anxiety and prepares your mind on what to expect on your delivery day.
5. Plan Your Finances
Pregnancy and childbirth can be unpredictable. While we usually pray and hope for the best, planning for unforeseen contingencies can go a great way to help in case of emergence.
Always ensure that you have saved something that you can depend on while on maternity.
However, this is not to say that you can not rely on your spouse or maternity allowances from your job. But, if these sources of income are cut short, you should have alternatives.
You want to avoid a scenario whereby you need to start working before you have fully recovered.
6. Get Ready with Your Maternity Hospital Bag
The essence of packing your hospital bag earlier is because you may not be able to predict your baby’s arrival date accurately. He may come sooner or later than expected.
Always ensure that your hospital bag is ready and accessible to other family members.
What should be in the bag varies depending on your preferred hospital. However, the following checklist should act as a guide on what you need to include;
- Antenatal clinic progressive records or book
- Insurance card and ID
- Some cash or access to credit card just in case
- A robe or loose dress, commonly known as Dera in East African, is necessary, and you can wear it before and after delivery.
- Toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair clips, comb, bath towels, and deodorant.
- Heavy-duty maternity pads. This will serve as additional to the ones provided in the hospital.
- Underwear; ensure you have some cotton underwear
- Nursing bras
- Phone charger
- Nursing Pillows
- Drinks and snacks
- Clothes for going home
- A leso or kanga-African fabric for tying around your waist
Hospital maternity bag checklist for the baby
- Baby diapers
- Shawls and a blanket
- Going home outfit
7. Mobilize for Help
Reaching out for help is crucial during pregnancy, especial in your last trimester and subsequent months after delivery.
Sometimes pregnancy can take you through an emotional rollercoaster. Hence, you need a strong team for physical, moral, and emotional support.
You may need to employ a domestic manager or nanny for your house chores during the maternity period. Remember, the first forty days are very crucial, and you need rest to heal.
Do not try to play a super mommy, as you can quickly sink into postpartum depression due to prolonged bleeding, back pains, and baby blues. You may also think of hiring a Douala for moral support during labor.
8. Stock Up on Supplies
Stocking up what you may need in days to come is an excellent way of preparing for your baby’s arrival.
This will not only save your time and sanity, but you also ensure that you get to personally shop for your favorite items as opposed to relying on helpers. Some items you may consider stocking include.
- Groceries for non-perishable kinds of stuff
- Freezer meals like meat
- Baby stuffs like diapers, pillows, blankets, swings, shawls, feeding bottles.
- Hygienic and medicinal kinds of stuff like sanitizers, garbage bags, surgical spirit, pain relievers, stool softeners, sitz bath basin, or perianal bottles
9. Organize Your House
As a way of nesting, house organization in the third trimester happens almost naturally. But you should also add deliberate effort as you envision the larger picture of your family.
Remember, your family is expecting an additional member, so you should create more room for the baby.
Also, think about your baby’s safety, hygiene, and of course, visitors who may come to welcome the newborn. All these factors will guide you to see the relevant adjustment you need to make before your baby’s arrival.
10. Create Some Me-Time
After you’re done being mindful of everyone and everything around you, it’s time to reach out for your body.
Consider visiting your favorite nail spa for some excellent pedicures and manicures. After all, it’s almost nine months, and bending is a problem. Get those legs scrubbed and nails polished for a great look.
You may also think of having an easy-to-manage hairstyle for maternity. Just strive to look your best; pregnancy is not madness.
11. Resting and Relaxation
Having some good sleep in your final trimester is an excellent way of helping your body prepare for delivery. The baby is developing faster, and probably you can feel his weight in your abdomen. The worst thing you want to do is strain your muscles.
Please find some time during the day to lie down and rest. Incorporating pregnancy pillows will provide much-needed comfort for your legs and tummy if you find it tough to sleep.
Also, use some relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation to declutter your mind and help you focus on positivity.
12. Create Memories
I believe you’ve been taking photos for memory, and in this final lap can’t miss it either.
The last trimester comes with many changes to your body. Stanford Children’s health covers so much on this subject, but the main visible difference is your protruding tummy.
You may want to capture this look for future reference. You can also take professional photos for birth announcements and family moments.
Preparing for delivery can be a hectic yet exciting activity. You may want to start early to get everything right. However, if things do not go according to your expectation, you shouldn’t worry. Stay calm and allow God to take control. Do not walk the journey alone, as it can be overwhelming. Instead, learn to accept help and advice from people who have been there.