The birth of your little bub is going to be one of the most exciting and memorable times of your life. And if you’re like most new mums, it’s probably also going to feel incredibly overwhelming at times, especially when you start thinking about everything you have to do before bub arrives.
While none of us can ever really be 100% prepared for a new baby’s arrival, there are a few things you can do to help you feel more prepared and relaxed as the due date gets closer.
- Health experts recommend that women who are trying to become pregnant or are in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy should take 0.4mg of folate every day.
- Follow a healthy diet
- Cut down on caffeine
- Try to avoid drinking alcohol
- Give up smoking
- Consider enrolling in exercise classes for pregnant women such as yoga or aqua natal
First trimester checklist
1. Boost your confidence at antenatal classes
Pregnancy can be a daunting journey, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the changes going on around you – and in your own body. Attending antenatal classes (sometimes called birth and parenting classes) are a great way to help you and your partner get ready for labour, birth, breastfeeding and caring for your newborn baby.
Antenatal classes teach you about:
- how to prepare for labour
- the signs of labour and when to call the hospital
- the different stages of labour
- different birthing positions
- relaxation and breathing skills to use during labour
- early parenting
- newborn baby behaviour
Sharing your experiences with other expectant parents just like you is one of the major benefits of antenatal classes, and it’s reassuring to know you’re not alone.
Most birth and parenting courses run for about 12 hours over several weeks and are designed to suit the schedules of busy parents.
Classes often fill up quickly, so it’s a good idea to book at around 20 weeks. You should aim to finish the course by the time you are about 36 weeks pregnant, or earlier if you are expecting more than one baby.
2. Get to know your healthcare team
Antenatal care throughout your pregnancy will not only help both you and your baby stay healthy, but it’s also great for your general peace of mind knowing everything is going along as it should.
Even if your pregnancy is going well and you’re feeling well, it’s important for you to schedule antenatal appointments as soon as possible with your GP or midwife so that any potential risks can be identified and prevented or reduced.
Know the date of your last period and take along this information to your first appointment to see your GP/midwife, who will arrange your antenatal care for the next 8 months.
3. Check out your local maternity hospital
Second trimester checklist
1. Keep your baby body fit and healthy
After all the busyness of the first trimester, this is a good time to really focus on your own health and emotional wellbeing. Eating well and staying active is good for you and your baby, so consider light-to-moderate exercise such as walking, swimming, yoga and stationary cycling in your second trimester
2. Start shopping for maternity clothes
Even if you’re not visibly showing signs of your pregnancy, your clothes will probably be starting to feel a little tight. So, now’s the time to start ‘dressing for comfort’. Luckily these days, this doesn’t have to mean buying clothes that are unfashionable or shaped like a tent. In fact, you can find some amazing designs that will flatter your new figure and make you feel good about your new body – and feeling good is what every mum-to-be should be feeling!
A good place to start is to choose a few maternity wardrobe staples such as good quality maternity jeans, basic black leggings and a few longer tees and tank tops that stretch over your bump. Pair these essentials with your existing jackets and tops for an instant pregnancy wardrobe. You may even want to splash out and invest in a couple of versatile dresses or pieces that can be dressed up or down and take you from day to night. Remember that you will still be wearing some of your maternity clothes for a while after the birth.
3. Consider buying a maternity bra
While it’s not necessary to wear a maternity bra during pregnancy, some women find them more comfortable.
If you choose to wear a maternity bra, it’s a good idea for it to be professionally fitted to support your breasts and make you more comfortable.
Third trimester checklist
1. Get your ‘nest’ ready for baby
Now you’re over halfway through your pregnancy, your urge to organise everything may well be in high gear. This is commonly known as the nesting instinct.
To bring your baby safely home, you’ll need to arrange a properly-fitted car seat. You should also think about what you need when you bring your baby home – what will you buy, what can you borrow from family or friends? If you’re feeling up to it, consider cooking up double portions of food and fill your freezer so you’ll have an array of healthy, ready meals available for when things get busy – and they will get very busy!
2. Pack your hospital bag
Nightshirt x 2 – Nursing bras – Breast Pads – Disposable briefs – Comfy full briefs – Maternity Pads x 2packs of 12 – Toiletries, tissues and toothbrush etc. – Hairbrush – Dark towel, face cloth – Lip balm – Slippers and comfy dressing gown – Reading material – Camera – Snacks/water for you and your partner – Money/change for the carpark and vending machines.
3. Pack baby’s hospital bag
Sleepsuit x 2 – Wrapover vest x 2 – Scratch mitts x 2 – Cotton Wool – Nappies x 8 for first 4 hours.
4. Get ready to go home and enjoy your baby bubble
When its time to enjoy your new baby at home, don’t forget: Infant car seat – Comfortable clothing for you and baby on the drive home – Cotton hat for baby – Baby blanket.
Last but not least, remember to enjoy this special time with your loved ones before your baby arrives.