5 Ways to Prepare for your Due Date

dr. lori gore-greenImpending parenthood is often a time fraught with a unique blend of excitement, anxiety and a whole host of other emotions. And while many claim that no one is ever fully prepared for parenthood, there are some concrete steps that expectant mothers and their partners can take in the days leading up to delivery. Below are some of the easiest ways to relieve stress related to the delivery process, simply through preparation.

Make a Go Bag

While this may seem fairly obvious, make a point to pack a bag that includes comfortable clothes that are easy to get into (think zip up hoodies, yoga pants, a warm shawl or fleece that you can wrap yourself in) without much movement or effort. I wouldn’t suggest bringing much in the way of jewelry or makeup. Instead pack simple, fragrance free products. The most important thing to include in your to go bag are any medications that you are currently taking or may need to take. Also, don’t forget to include your folder of important documents (outlined below) and extra pairs of underwear . 

Contingency plans

Whether you are having an induced labor or going the natural route, it’s important to have a plan in place for getting to the hospital, but it’s equally important to have a backup plan, and to have a plan for your other responsibilities. If you have another child or other children, make sure that they also have a go bag so that they can stay with a trusted babysitter or relative while you are in labor and recovering. Discuss the time frame for your expected delivery and make sure that this works with the guardian for your child. Create a document with all relevant information for your child, and for you. Do this well in advance so that you don’t have to worry about it when you are focusing on the delivery, and make a point to email a copy and give this guardian a printed copy. 

Automate Bill Pay

A month or two before your expected delivery date, make a point to automate or take care of any bills coming up in the next few months. While automated bill pay is a convenience that you may already take advantage of, if you haven’t started, now is a great time to try it. This way, you won’t have to worry about bills getting paid on time while your focus is elsewhere. You can always change this option once you are home, but the more things that you can automate while you are focusing on this birth, the better. Also, consider sharing your bill pay or “errand” calendar with your partner or a trusted confidante if you don’t have time to finish these tasks prior to delivery.

Important Documents

While this may seem like the last thing on your mind as you approach your labor day, this is something that will reduce paper-work related-stress, and will serve you well even after the birth of your child. Early on, I recommend that you create a folder that includes copies of all important documents including a copy of your government-issued ID, a copy of your Health Insurance Card(s), a sheet that lists all of your current doctors and medications that you are taking – as well as any allergies. Additionally print out a sheet that includes your emergency contacts and their information. Also keep an updated copy of your will and any pertinent instructions regarding end of life care. Keep this information in a folder in your go bag, and leave a copy at home or in your safety deposit box and/or with your partner or family member(s). Make sure your partner or hospital companion keeps an eye on this folder once you arrive. While this may seem like a somewhat somber set of documents to procure in the midst of your pregnancy, it is all a part of being responsible for both your health and the health of your child. Talk to your doctor and ask if there is any other information that would be relevant to have on hand, or if there is any way to share this information beforehand (to cut back on the number of items you bring with you).

Be Kind to Your Body

Although this means different things to different people, there are certain things that you should do for yourself throughout your pregnancy. Finding ways to exercise regularly (from yoga, to walking to more aerobic workouts, always make sure you consult with your doctor and listen to your body). Make a point to meditate. Drink lots of water and eat healthy whole foods. Visit your doctor regularly, and never be afraid to ask any questions. And most importantly, find ways to de-stress your daily life.

There are a number of other ways that you can prepare for your child’s arrival. Preparing your home before you go to the hospital or birthing center is also a huge component of preparing for the birth. For more information on how to prepare, do your research and talk to your doctor.