Welcome to the last weeks of pregnancy—that beautiful time when you feel overwhelmed, excited, totally terrified and amazingly calm all at once. Take a deep breath. Use this final checklist to get those ducks in a row before it’s “go time.”
- Fill out your birth plan.
- Babyproof the house. Your baby will go from swaddle to toddle in the blink of an eye. Cover the safety basics now—smoke detectors, safety gates, cabinet locks, etc.—while you still have time to think it through.
- Take a birth class, if you haven’t already. Information reduces anxiety. Misinformation amps it up. Gift yourself the peace of mind that comes from knowing the facts.
- Get that baby gear together. Welcome to the circus, friends. From monitors to car seats to strollers to swings, babies come with a ton of stuff. Assemble and adjust it all now.
- Preregister with the hospital. When labor pains are cranking, you don’t want to be hunting for your insurance card.
- Tour the hospital. Get familiar with the sights and sounds of the place. You’ll be more relaxed during labor and delivery if you’ve seen it all before.
- Pack your bags. Planning to deliver on your due date? Your baby might have other plans. Be prepared. This birth plan has a great checklist of things to include in your hospital bag.
- Pick a pediatrician. Take your time interviewing different doctors. Remember, you’ll be spending a lot of time together over the next 18 years.
- Install your baby’s car seat. You can’t take your baby home without it.
It takes a village to get through those first few weeks at home.
- Assemble a baby first aid kit. Think thermometers, nail clippers, suction bulbs and ibuprofen—all the things you might need if your baby gets sick.
- Wash your baby’s clothing. Not all of it. Some of it. You might want to return a few things if your baby comes out bigger than expected.
- Prepare where your baby will sleep. A nursery is fine. So is a cradle in the corner of your bedroom. Do what works best for you.
- Grab some extra zzzzzz’s. Go to bed early. Take a power nap. Rest. You’ll have fewer opportunities for uninterrupted sleep after your baby comes. Tip: Sleep on your left side if you can. It encourages blood circulation that feeds your placenta and nourishes your baby.
- Line up your postpartum help. It takes a village to get through those first few weeks at home. Identify the areas that will stress you out the most (meals, cleaning, etc.) and ask for help. Your family, friends and doula can make a wonderful support group.