It's now the third trimester and your due date is fast approaching. Along with packing your bags and arranging the nursery, prepare yourself and your home for your new baby's arrival.
Step 1: Take a tour Take a tour of the hospital to see the labor and recovery areas. Ask about special birthing options, such as a labor tub, and inquire about available childbirth, newborn care, and breastfeeding classes.
Step 2: Pack your bags Pack your hospital bag at least a month before your due date and include toiletries and baby clothes. Also include comfortable clothes for your postpartum recovery such as a robe, pajamas, nursing bras, and socks.
TIP: Make a list of phone numbers for friends and family members you plan to call from the hospital to announce the birth. Tuck it into your hospital bag for safekeeping.
Step 3: Fill out and submit paperwork Fill out and submit your hospital paperwork in advance and you won't be filling out forms during your actual, painful labor.
Step 4: Examine the fine print Examine your health insurance plan and review how long your hospital stay is covered, if visiting nurse services are allowed, and what your well-baby coverage is.
TIP: Stock your freezer with frozen convenience items and keep a handy checklist of nearby carry-out venues for easy meals after the baby arrives.
Step 5: Keep gas tank filled Keep your car's gas tank full as the due date nears. Also make sure your driver is familiar with the route to the hospital, and find out where to park ahead of time.
Step 6: Research car seats Research the available car seats to determine which one is best for you -- you'll want a federally-approved car seat. Familiarize yourself with its installation.
Step 7: Arrange the nursery Arrange the nursery before the baby arrives. Include a crib or bassinet, diapers, clothes, bibs, blankets, and bottles and nipples if not nursing. Talk to experienced mothers to determine what items are truly needed. Now, get ready to wait.
FACT: About five percent of babies are born on their estimated due date.