Most of us check off our lists on a daily basis. You know what I mean, those things to do lists that help keep us organized. We carry around shopping lists, TTD lists (things to do), vacation lists and packing the kids off to camp lists. Why not make a checklist to see if you are ready to give birth? The premise of making a checklist is that it will help us to be better prepared for the event. It just makes sense that moms do all they can do to be well-prepared for one of the most important events in life – the event of giving birth.
Everyone you come into contact with once your abdomen starts protruding will try to add to your checklist believe me. After three daughters I have begun to feel that everyone thought they had the right to tell me how to get ready for my child. Little did I know that once I had my little family the advice never stops. Fortunately, there are golden nuggets thrown in there that moms can use so adding them to your birth checklist is a good idea.
Here are some of those nuggets to add to your birth checklist. If you have not started your checklist yet, well you have no excuse now do you? Get going!
INSTRUCTIONS: Take each of the below categories and use the information to construct your birth checklist.
Birth checklist nuggets:
This is one item that needs to be near the top of your list no matter how many children you already have at home. Giving birth means that there is someone else that is depending on you. This means less time to spend on you or so you think. The one thing that moms should learn right from the start is that if you don’t take care of you, there will be less of you to take care of them.
Schedule in “me time” each and everyday no matter how many minutes of “me time” you are able to fit into your busy days. You don’t even have to actively do anything during this time. It can be time to relax, breath, do nothing, read, enjoy music, watch a favorite TV program, trim and paint your nails, eat chocolates or anything else your heart desires. The only requirement is that the purpose of your activity or inactivity is solely selfish.
Any woman knows that one item that has to be on this particular checklist is the answer to the question: Are you physically ready to give birth? Your healthcare provider will help you answer this question but you are the only one who really knows what the state of your body is. Have you put nutritious foods into it so it can function to the best of its ability? Have you received adequate amounts of sleep (well as much as is possible late in pregnancy)? Are your muscles toned and in good shape because they will be doing a lot of physical work shortly, so are they ready? If you feel your body is not in the best shape to give birth then this is the place on your list where you will write in what steps you intend to take to get your body ready.
Do you have a written birth plan and is your healthcare provider aware of this plan?
If you have not started this step, do not put it off any longer. Creating a birth plan is something that you can do to insure that everyone caring for your labor and delivery understands what your vision is for this very special day. The birth plan speaks for you in the event that you are not able to verbally express yourself. No one has to guess what you want to have happen, they just have to be aware of your birth plan and read it.
Are you ready to financially support this baby? Have you met with your insurance agent to be sure your health and life insurance are updated to include the newest family member?
Are you taking all the deductions you are entitled to take when it comes to taxes and employer forms? If you are unsure schedule an appointment with Human Resources where you and your spouse work to be sure that you have this bit of financial detail taken care of.
Is there anything that you can do to increase your monthly income? Is your monthly budget under control? You do have a household budget? If you are unsure about anything seek professional financial advise from someone you trust.
Is your home baby proof?
Is every member of the family prepared for the baby to come home? This includes any pets that you have in your household.
Are you ready for the baby to live in your home?
Have you gone through every room of the house and imagined the baby living there to determine if you are indeed ready?
Where will the baby sleep? Will the baby’s needs be met for a healthy sleep?
Does the baby have enough clothes and accessories that are essential for basic baby care?
Have you carefully planned how you will feed the baby not just while an infant but also for at least the first year of life? Do you have all feeding equipment?
Will the baby be well cared for including entertainment? Play is work to a baby regarding learning about life and so as parents it is important that you plan in advance how the environment will be for your baby. This includes toys, books, music, color and other environmental stimulation. The baby is not going to want to just sit or lay all day and night. The baby will look to you for entertainment by crying which is the baby’s only way to communicate.
If you are giving birth at a hospital are you ready to go? Do you have a hospital bag packed that includes items for you and for your baby?
Are you ready for the actual labor?
Have you been on a tour of the hospital so you are familiar with where you will be laboring and where you will be giving birth?
Have you taken a birth class?
Do you have a birth coach?
Is the coach prepared and ready for the birth?
No one likes to think of emergencies occurring because we all want only good things in life to happen to us and to those we love but like it or not emergencies do happen. Are you prepared for an emergency?
Do you have a backup plan in case the person you think will take you to the hospital is not available when you are ready to give birth?
If a medical emergency should occur do you have a cell phone or some other device to summon help quickly?
Do you have all the contact information for your healthcare team that will be delivering your baby?
Do you have all medical records, healthcare insurance cards and any other medical documents on hand and ready in case you go into labor away from home? If you plan any trips (pleasure or work) during your pregnancy it is a good idea to have these items with you.
Do you know your blood type?
Have a list of all medications you take with you such as in your purse in case a medical emergency should happen and you are unable to tell the emergency personnel what medications you are taking.
Never go off on your own in the last weeks of pregnancy without telling someone just in case you go into labor.