This is the trimester when you need to be ready to roll, and roll quickly. Take the time to prepare so that by the last month you have no worries.
❑ Pack your bag and have it ready at the door by week 37. Include socks and slippers, robe, nursing bras, a going-home outfit for you (your maternity clothes may still be required) and for baby, a swaddling blanket, pacifiers (just in case), toiletries, reading material, and a list of phone numbers to call to share the happy news.
Most hospitals provide gowns, which will be your uniform while there, and “underwear,” a disposable, fish-net-like undergarment to which you will affix gigantic sanitary pads to absorb postpartum lochia (bleeding, and lots of it). So save room in your suitcase for baby’s first teddy bear and leave your pretty nightgowns and extra undies at home.
❑ Consider a separate tote bag for gear you may want to bring along, including music, pillows, therapy balls, brushes, massage lotions and tools, aromatherapy items, photographs of beloved pets or other images that will trigger a sense of calm, snacks for those who are allowed to eat, change for vending machines, and camera or recording equipment.
❑ Buy and install a rear-facing car seat suitable for a newborn.
❑ Pick labor coaches. Confirm how many support team members are allowed in the delivery room. If you have more than allowed, consider rotating them in and out of the room.
❑ Figure out contact strategies for family and friends. Do you want your entire family in the hospital waiting room? Do you want them there only after the baby has arrived? Do you want some but not all? Some may want to visit when you are rested and settled. Be clear about who will be in the delivery room and who will have to wait outside. This is your time to call the shots, and if someone gets offended just blame it on “pregnancy hormones.”
From the Pregnancy Instruction Manual by Sarah Jordan with David Ufberg MD Published by Quirk Books.
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