By the time you're in your third trimester, the chances are that you have a good idea about your preferences regarding childbirth, and that you have also discussed your options with your healthcare provider. Now is the time to look at your options once more, and to make any arrangements you need to make. If you are going to give birth in a hospital, preregistering usually makes that much easier. When you are driving there to do so, time how long it takes to get there so you have an idea when you go into labor. Many women feel much more at easy if they have already taken a tour of the maternity ward and know what to expect.
Checking your insurance policy is also a wonderful idea. Women who are going to give birth at a birth center or at home, find out all about your insurance coverage or your out-of-pocket expenses. Ask what items you may need to provide yourself like a birthing pool for a homebirth, if you would like to use one. Women who are giving birth at home, or are going for a birth center delivery may also want to check which hospital they would prefer to transfer to in case of complications look for the best neonatal facilities. Looking into the time it takes to transfer from your chosen birth location to a fully equipped hospital is something else you want to have on your list.
Clothes, a crib, a stroller, diapers... When it comes to shopping for the baby, parents to be are much more likely to overdo things rather than to be under-prepared. Shopping for your baby is one of the most visual things you can do to prepare for your baby during your pregnancy, but remember that you can always buy things you're not absolutely sure you want or need after the baby is born. You should sure have your basics covered, though. In their most Spartan form, those are:
- Clothes that fit your newborn and are season-appropriate.
- Diapers, cloth or disposable.
- A place for your baby to sleep, along with bedding. This can be a crib, a moses basket, a cosleeper or in some cases a family bed.
- A way to get baby from A to B. If you drive a car or will ever be driven around in someone else's car (including a taxi), you will need a car seat for your baby. Most parents get a stroller, and baby carriers are another item to look into.
- Stuff to keep your baby clean. You don't really need lots of bath products for your baby, but a good soap or bath gel that doesn't irritate your baby's skin is essential. You may want to purchase a baby bath, but you can also safely wash a newborn in a basin or big bath tub.
Healthcare for your baby
Now is the time to interview pediatricians for your baby. Of course, insurance issues are going to limit your choices somewhat. Do interview at least three different pediatricians if at all possible, and ask as many questions as you can. You will want to question potential pediatricians about their opening hours and emergency services, as well as their general views about baby care and development. Wherever you can, you'll want a pediatrician you actually like, and one who has similar views on medical care and childrearing as you. You also want a pediatrician who is always available, or at least has reliable backup. For more ideas on what questions to ask, read: Interviewing pediatricians a list of questions to ask.
New parents are bound to be exhausted in the first few weeks after the baby's birth, and it will take a while to settle into a new routine(ish). Having prepared meals in the freezer will really help you. The last thing you want to worry about is having healthy food on the table! Getting someone else to cook for you is even better of course. If you have a nice mom, mother in law, friend, or relative... don't be embarrassed about asking them to help you out with cleaning or baby stuff in the first week. Many new parents have a grandmother or sister stay with them for a little while. This can be of great help, but only if you are certain you can stand the person in question for a week or so!