You’re about to embark on one of the most challenging, beautiful, and life-changing events you will ever experience: bringing a child into the world! Even though you are pretty excited and fairly tingling with anticipation of dreams fulfilled, a part of you is probably feeling a little overwhelmed – not to mention overstimulated as soon as you step into a baby department store!
You know you have things to do and plans to make, and at Annapolis Area Doulas, our mission is to help you enjoy your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum with as little frantic Googling as possible. To that end, we’ve created your Pregnancy Timeline of Events, to help you feel more in control of your to-do list!
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If you aren’t already, start taking a prenatal vitamin. A good prenatal vitamin should be food-based, contain nutrients like folate, and be free of dyes and artificial flavors. You can take prenatal vitamins for optimal health all throughout your childbearing years!
Select a provider for your prenatal and delivery care. You can meet a few doctors and midwives to ask questions and see if you “click”, as well as get a feel for how their office functions. Depending on what kind of practice you go with, you might still have time to think about where you will actually deliver your baby.
Start doing a little research on birth options, so you’ll have an idea of what kind of birth plan you would be comfortable with. You can watch documentaries about birth, as well as read informational articles and books that offer an unbiased, evidence-based look at pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. Here is one of our recommendations for books about pregnancy and birth: https://www.amazon.com/Pregnancy-Childbirth-2016-5Th-Washington-Children/dp/1501112708/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517629226&sr=8-1&keywords=pregnancy+childbirth+and+the+newborn+by+penny+simkin&dpID=51NsOhrFnnL&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch
Will you do a gender reveal? Decide whether or not you will find out the sex – and if you do, if you’ll announce it to the world. You’ll soon be able to have an anatomy scan, so if you want to come up with a cute idea for your family and friends to find out, start “pinning” now.
Sign up for a childbirth class! A good class will equip you with invaluable knowledge on the processes of pregnancy and birth, as well as teach you and your partner some skills and tricks for comfort during labor, and caring for your baby. If you take your class earlier on in pregnancy, you’ll be able to plan ahead better since you know all of your options for birth planning.
Hire your doula. This is early enough that they won’t have any trouble saving you a spot, and plenty of time to get to know each other and enjoy their support as pregnancy starts to come to an end. Setting up your consultation with a potential doula around this time will ensure that your prenatal meetings with them won’t be rushed.
Set up your baby registry! You can register at as many stores as you’d like, but most moms choose one or two of their favorites to save time. If someone is throwing you a baby shower, be sure to let them know where you are registering so they can put it on the invitations. It’s always a great idea to bring your doula or an experienced mom along so they can let you know which items are really useful to register for!
Create your birth plan. With the knowledge from your researching and your childbirth classes, combined with the expertise of your doula at your prenatal meeting, you can create an awesome birth plan that is attractive, to-the-point, and clearly delineates the choices that are most important for you and your partner during labor.
Start putting away some freezer meals here and there. You won’t want to be on your feet cooking after you give birth! Every time you cook a nice meal for the next few weeks, double the recipe and freeze half.
Pack your hospital bag. There are tons of checklists online but you really don’t need a whole lot – an outfit for you and baby to come home in, toiletries, phone charger, and other important personal items are the main things to remember. If you’re planning a home birth, consider packing a small bag with these essentials, in case of an unexpected hospital transfer.
Now is the time to relax and wait for labor to begin. You’ve packed your bags, the nursery is decorated, the birth plan is printed out, and there’s food in the freezer. You are a little nervous, but ultimately educated and prepared for the task ahead. Enjoy your last days of just you and your partner – do some fun and relaxing activities together. You might even want to get a little fancied up for labor if that’s your style – have a spa day and get a prenatal massage with a little waxing and a pedicure.
Now that you know the expert-recommended time frames for your big prenatal preparations, you’ll be able to feel more secure and in charge as a new parent – and Annapolis Area Doulas is here to support you all the way throughout this journey.