As you approach week 40 of your pregnancy, you’re likely getting excited, nervous, and anxious about what lies ahead. You’ve already had your maternity photos done, your baby shower is in the books, and now all you have to do is wait. Ask most mothers, and you’ll hear that with enough prepping, the first few weeks of life at home with your infant will be more comfortable, albeit not without challenges.
Here are a few things you, your partner, and/or friends and family can do to help your transition from pregnancy to life with a new baby.
Get Your Maternity Photos Well Before Your Due Date
Maternity photos aren’t an absolute must, but many mothers like to take pregnancy photos to document their time before meeting their baby. It is a mistake, however, to wait until the last minute to do maternity portraiture. Not only will you have too much to do right before the baby comes, but after 32 weeks, experts recommend avoiding too much work — even light walking and photography poses.
A professional photographer specializing in maternity will help their clients plan the best time for their photoshoot based on their schedules, health, and comfort levels.
I’m a mother and a maternity photographer, so I include maternity photos in pre-labor prepping. However, there are many more technical aspects to pre-labor prepping that will help you, your partner, and your newborn out in the long-run.
One of the things you can do that will help you out, in the long run, is to pre-register at the hospital of your choice, should your birth plan be to give birth at a hospital. In Austin, there are a few hospital choices, the most popular being St. David’s Medical Center (with a location North of Downtown Austin and one South of Downtown Austin, as well) and Ascension Seton Medical Center. Once you’ve decided on a place to give birth, most places will offer a pre-registration option, which saves time on the day of your labor.
We live in the time of cell phones, so we often neglect to think about the days of maps and mapquest. But having a printed version of directions from your house to the place you plan to give birth is useful in case of emergency. Print it off now and pack it in your hospital go-bag, just in case!
It is also essential to let your hospital or birthing center know who will be present with you during your labor as support. This will not only help keep you comfortable, but it will set up boundaries for your family and friends, which will help doctors, nurses, and your birthing support help attend to you the best.
Even though you will be present for post-birth care for you and your infant, another vital part of pre-labor prepping is having a care plan during birth and post-birth. I can tell you from experience; it gets chaotic. Write out whether you intend to use pain relief, are open to the use of forceps or an episiotomy in the event of a tricky birth, and how you would like the nurses and doctors to work with you during and after labor.
Not everyone has other kids, but if you do, finding childcare for them last-minute can be tricky. Of course, no one knows precisely when their newborn will arrive, but having a plan for around your due date will make everything much smoother.
If you don’t have a family member who can stay with you the days before labor (for a quick and easy childcare plan), you do have a few options. Postpartum doulas are often perfect for arranging quick childcare at the moment of labor. Neighbors and friends are also an option — have them on standby the days before and after your due date if they are willing. Finally, if none of those are viable options for you, resources like care.com let you interview qualified help before the due date, and you can work out plans for your childcare with hired help before then.
The go-bag will be your best friend on this wild, multi-hour journey through childbirth. Here are some essentials to include in yours:
Of course, no matter how hard you plan, you should always expect the unexpected! That is one of the coolest things about maternity and childbirth — it’s a unique experience every time.
Want to schedule a newborn session for the newest member of your family? Let’s chat.