It’s natural to get nervous before the arrival of your first baby. Having a baby is the biggest life-changing event that you could ever experience. It takes lots and lots of things to fully prepare for the newest addition to your family. Here are a few tips that will help you in getting ready for baby, dealing with newborn baby-stress, and preparing for parenthood.
Table of Contents
How to prepare for a baby before pregnancy?
1. First Trimester
Go with the flow
Most humans like to do things at their own convenience, like having babies at a certain age, during a proper leave from work, and season, too. But, most of the time, your baby-to-be doesn’t care about any of those things or your schedule.
Take care of your health
It is vital to get your health in order when you are trying to conceive. Your eating habits affect fetal development. According to research, it is recommended that you are better off not smoking, not drinking, and taking multivitamins with folic acid when you are trying to conceive (Source).
Consult with your OB
You should stay in contact with your Obstetrician, especially during your first trimester, often around eight weeks. Your OB would run some sensitive tests to establish viability, such as listening for a heartbeat, confirm the number of fetuses, fetal development, etc. You can question your OB about things that you don’t understand if this is your first time.
Sleep and eat
Exhaustion is common during early pregnancy. We say sleep as much as you want! When your body is tired, listen to it! You won’t get much rest when the baby comes. Cravings and morning sickness are common symptoms as well, but you don’t have to stress over them. These symptoms may indicate a nutritional deficiency, so it’s a good idea to call your doctor right away.
Thinking about childcare before your baby comes is a good idea because most daycares can be fully booked by the time your baby arrives. If you live somewhere where there is a high demand for daycare centers but very few providers, it would be a good idea to begin your search as soon as you get pregnant.
2. Second Trimester
Have a second-trimester screening
As your second trimester begins, get your multiple marker screening done. This blood test performed by a doctor is given between 15 and 20 weeks to check for HCG, alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), estriol, and inhibin-A. This screening is to check elevated risks of several defects in the fetus, such as down-syndrome, spina bifida, and anencephaly. In case of abnormal results, you will need additional tests, possibly including amniocentesis or CVS.
When to tell your boss
For some women, revealing their pregnancy to their boss and coworkers is not easy. Most women do it during the second trimester when their baby bump becomes too apparent. This is the time when the risk of miscarriage declines, and they are more comfortable and confident about sharing this exciting news with other people.
Have an ultrasound
Around 20 weeks in your pregnancy, you can get an ultrasound done by a doctor to assess your baby’s growth and proper development of his/her organs. This is typically when you find out the sex of your baby if you choose to do so.
Buy maternity clothes
Some women love buying maternity clothes, and others only buy them they can’t fit into their old, pre-pregnancy clothes. Either way, shopping for maternity clothes becomes essential during the second trimester, especially for a first pregnancy when your belly takes a long time to pop.
Start your baby registry
Parents-to-be start dreaming about their baby’s nursery as soon as they learn about the pregnancy. The second trimester is a good time to start setting up your baby’s nursery. Mom-to-be is comfortable with the pregnancy during this time and can give her best energy in the preparations for the newborn’s arrival. If you start in the second trimester, you have quite some time to make the changes you need if something doesn’t go well with the nursery preparations and to do the shopping without getting exhausted.
Organize your home
Organize everything while you have the energy and time because during your third trimester you may not have enough energy to do so. And, when your baby arrives, you won’t have time to focus on anything else other than your little one.
3. Third Trimester
Gestational diabetes testing
Some doctors recommend a glucose challenge screening around the 26th week of pregnancy unless you are overweight or have a history of diabetes. In that case, you should do it earlier. If your test results are positive, you will have to undergo a glucose tolerance test as well. If you have gestational diabetes, it can cause the overgrowth of the fetus and several other complications. Your doctor may prescribe oral medication or insulin. Although some women manage to control this condition with nutritional changes and exercises.
Find a pediatrician
Begin your search for a pediatrician by the 28th week of the pregnancy. Consider a few things like their location, availability hours for the weekends or in the evening, and recommendations, etc.
Get a car seat
Installation of a car seat may seem like an easy job, but it isn’t always straight forward. Many studies report that more than 80% of car seats are installed improperly. While these seats are supposed to provide safety and protection for infants and children, incorrect installation is a leading cause of the deaths of children aged one to 13 in-car crashes (Source). Make sure to inspect your car seat before taking your baby home from the hospital. Check your local police or fire station for free clinics on proper car seat installation.
Group B Strep screening
This screening is for the bacteria that are harmless to the mother but can be lethal if passed to the baby. If Group B strep bacteria are present, you will be prescribed medication during labor to prevent the transmission of these bacteria to the baby.
Choose a baby name
Parents sometimes struggle to choose a perfect baby name that is equally unique and beautiful, and that both parents like. Earlier than the second trimester and you might suffer through weeks of struggle, and even later than this, you might be arguing about names in the recovery room. Rest assured that it will come to you and your baby won’t go nameless. There are many baby naming books and websites to help in the process. We recommend writing out potential baby names on paper to get a feel for them and learning their meanings as tools for decision making.
Most women choose to keep working right until the moment they go into labor. They do this in order to save their maternity leave for when the baby arrives so that they could spend more time with their little bundle of joy. Consult with your doctor and see if you need a week off from work before your due date, and if you don’t, then you are good to go to work for another week.
Go on dates with your partner
Go on dates with your partner and enjoy each other’s attention while you can because once the baby comes everything will be different and you won’t have enough time to enjoy yourselves. So, take some time for the two of you before you become three.
Pack your hospital bag
Pack every essential thing that you think you will need during your time in the hospital. Items for your comfort, such as a pair of soft slippers or socks, a phone charger, snacks for you and your partner, a pair of clothes to go home wearing, and a cute outfit for the baby.
Sit back and relax
Now that you have done everything that you needed to do for your baby’s arrival, you can sit back and relax. Take care of yourself, find a comfy chair, put your hand on your stomach, and enjoy the rest of your days before you go into labor.
4. How to prepare for a baby financially?
Here are a few things you need to consider on the question of how to prepare for a newborn financially:
- Review your health insurance policy to see if you are covered for the expenses of your newborn’s arrival. Even then, you will be faced with some out-of-pocket expenses. For that, you will need to start saving up as soon as possible.
- Register early for gifts so that you can figure out which things you will need to spend on later. Your friends and family will help with most of your baby’s essentials, which will help you cut expenses.
- Set up a baby savings account to save for your baby gear. Not only diapers and sheets, but for the bigger stuff such as furniture, childcare, or a car seat as well. You can put your money away in that account to use it when your baby comes. You can set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your baby’s savings account. This way you don’t have to think about transferring money on every payday. Hence, when your baby arrives, you will be ready for additional expenses.
- Create a new budget by keeping all the big changes in your mind. This new addition to the family will impact your finances significantly.
- Acknowledge your debt, which means figuring out how you will manage to pay your debt. Debt as in car loans, mortgages, or student loans while keeping the newborn expenses in the picture.
- Purchase life insurance and create your will so your child is covered in case of an accident. You’ll have someone to inherit your assets after you. It is essential to prepare for these things as a worst-case scenario.
In conclusion, we have given you several tips on how to prepare for a baby. Remember babies are with you for the rest of your life, so it’s important to think about their future long after they are born. We also recommend that you speak with your financial advisor for further tips and tricks.