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Pregnancy is exciting, but it can also be stressful there is a lot to prepare for! What are some of the most important things on your pregnancy to-do list?

Your labor and delivery

Women who are enjoying a healthy, low-risk pregnancy have many different options when it comes to labor and delivery. Homebirth, birth center birth, and various variations on hospital birth may all be available to you. Now is the time to think about what your preferences are, and why. While you are still pregnant, you will have the chance to read up on the risks and benefits of all your options, to discuss your preferences with your partner, and to interview different healthcare providers.

Remember that the way in which you give birth can really affect how you feel during your postpartum period, and that the circumstances of your baby's birth could even impact bonding significantly. Your choice of birth location and healthcare provider are the most important, but you may also like to consider who you would like to be present at your birth, and how you feel about pain relief (this will partly depend on your birth location, but you do have a lot flexibility!)

How about maternity leave and beyond?

Women who had the status of a permanent employee during their pregnancies will also, generally, be guaranteed the right to maternity leave AND the right to have their job back after maternity leave is up. Now is the time to check the laws in your jurisdiction and to make plans accordingly. If you think your employer is not going to react to the news of your pregnancy very nicely, you have even more of a reason to look into the legal side of this. Before you tell, make sure you know what you are entitled to and what you are not. In most cases, you will be able to count on your trade union to give you relevant advice both with your pregnancy announcement and in the case you run into trouble with your employer.

Life after baby

Are you planning on returning to work after your maternity leave is up, or would you prefer to stay at home with your baby (for a while)? If you are not currently employed, what are your plans for after the baby gets there? Whatever your personal preferences are, your choice is likely to require a lot of planning financial and logistic planning. There is a reason why pregnancy lasts nine months! Use your time to prepare for the future. Those moms who are going back to work shortly after their baby is born will need to look into childcare options while they are still pregnant. You may like to read Daycare vs Grandparents: Who should look after the kids while you work?. Those who are hoping to be stay at home mothers may need to work on their post-baby household budget now, in order to make ends meet after the baby gets there.

Your parenting philosophy

Believe it or not, many couples spend months trying to conceive without ever discussing their views on parenting. It may be hard to imagine that the person you love enough to want to have a child with could possibly have totally different opinions than you on this topic. But it can happen! Don't assume that your other half will agree with you on everything, just because you love him. If you have no talked about your opinions and feelings about how to raise kids so far, now is the time to start. You can begin with things that will come up during infancy, like breastfeeding, where the baby will sleep, whether you will "cry it out", whether a boy should be circumcised, and even your baby's name. A little later on, stuff like spanking and school choices will become potential hazards. Better to talk about it now, so that you have enough time to work on a compromise if you need to.

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