Welcoming a new baby into the world is one of the most exciting times in a parent’s life. Over the course of several months, the nursery has been painted, the wardrobe stocked with tiny clothes, the crib assembled, and the infant car seat adjusted—and readjusted. Sometime in the eighth or ninth month, the hospital bag is packed and eagerly placed by the front door. Everything is ready for the big day. Or is it? There are many things to prepare for when expecting a baby, not the least of which being the actual day of delivery.
Visit Your Hospital
One of the first things to consider when preparing for delivery day is hospital or birthing center protocol. Most medical facilities offer tours to future patients. This helps to ensure that the patient knows where to go when it comes time for admission, as well as to offer peace of mind regarding what to expect during their stay. Taking a tour also provides an opportunity for expecting parents to ask any questions they may have. This would be an ideal time to inquire about pre-admission registration forms, which are often available for pregnant patients to submit well before their due date. This is an excellent idea, as it eliminates having to fill out paperwork and submit medical insurance information while in the throes of labor.
Cord Blood Banking
Another important matter to consider is what to do with the baby’s umbilical cord blood. In the past, the umbilical cord—and the unique blood it contains—were simply discarded after birth. Today, cordbloodbanking makes it possible for a family to save this valuable resource to potentially help treat potential illnesses such as some cancers and immune diseases. In order to ensure that cord blood is properly handled and stored, the Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation advises parents to choose an accredited cord blood bank in advance since cord blood can only be collected immediately after your baby is delivered.
Making a Birth Plan
A common concern of many pregnant women is what to expect during labor and delivery. While this varies from woman to woman, it is often reassuring to have a birth plan ready. Birth plans can have as much or as little detail as the expecting parents choose, and include the mother’s wishes regarding pain medication, medical interventions, and whether the mother wants to hold or feed the baby directly after birth. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health recommends discussing your birth plan ahead of time with your doctor or midwife. Although it is a good idea for a pregnant woman to know how her ideal birth would go, it is important to keep in mind that unexpected circumstances may arise, in which case some flexibility may be necessary.
Nine months of excited anticipation leads up to the very rewarding experience of bringing a baby into the world. Whether everything on delivery day goes exactly according to plan or something unanticipated pops up, the key to a positive experience remembering that whatever it takes to safely deliver the baby is well worth it.