Pregnancy and Birth: Putting the Practical “P” in Planning

Pregnancy and birth can be intimidating to say the least. Some of the stress and anxiety of childbirth can easily be relieved by a little practical planning. Read below for some ideas on what to do before you get pregnant, what to do while you are pregnant, and a few things that you will definitely want done before the baby arrives.

Before You Get Pregnant

Before you experience pregnancy and birth, you need to prepare your body for the pregnancy. These may include some serious lifestyle changes. If you are a smoker, you need to quite smoking before you go through pregnancy and birth. In addition, getting in shape and losing weight are often important steps to take before becoming pregnant.

As you may not know the exact moment when you conceive, it is also a good idea to stay away from alcohol as you are preparing for pregnancy. Increase your intake of folic acid through foods such as orange juice. Also, have your doctor or OBGYN prescribe pre-natal vitamins and take them!

While You are Pregnant

While you are pregnant, there are several things you need to plan for. On the one hand, you must still maintain yourself physically, with good nutrition and light exercise. This is also the time when you start thinking about the nursery, and creating a little nest for the baby to come home to after the pregnancy and birth. If you don’t know or don’t wish to know the gender of the baby, plan neutral colors that will work for both.

Now is also a good time to create a birth plan. This is basically a written outline of how you expect and want the birth to occur. The items of the outline focus on labor, medications, delivery, and after delivery.

These plans explain what type of pregnancy and birth you wish to have, whether or not you want medication and who you want to cut the umbilical cord. Should you choose a method such as Lamaze or Bradley, you will want to use this time also to take advantage of pregnancy and birth classes.

Before the Day of Birth

Before the birth day, there are several things that you will want to make sure you know and items on your to-do list you need to check off. These include installing a car seat and practicing swaddling techniques. If you are choosing to give birth in a hospital or birthing facility, be sure you know the length of hospital stay that your insurance will cover and when that coverage begins. Getting everything ready in advance is certainly beneficial, because proper planning leads to successful parenting.