Pregnancy & Delivery | Pregnancy | Preparing for Birth
Preparing for Baby Birth
If this is your first pregnancy, chances are you will be interested in reading books about pregnancy and what to expect during your 40 weeks of carrying your baby. Note: 40 weeks as most doctors now count from the 1st day of your last period. With my first pregnancy, I enjoyed reading I'm Pregnant
by Regan. I also received Your Pregnancy: Week by Week
by Curtis although since this book was similar to the I'm Pregnant
book, I primarily read the I'm Pregnant
book. I had a friend that stopped reading the pregnancy books because they caused her to worry too much about the pregnancy which is why you have to do what you feel comfortable with.
You may also want to sign up at BabyCenter.com to receive weekly updates on how your baby is developing. I enjoyed reading these updates both with my first and second pregnancy.
You may want to read some general baby care books prior to the baby's birth (as once the baby is born your time will be much more limited) or at least read some books on helping your baby develop good sleep habits. I read the following two books prior to the birth of my first baby and I'd recommend both:
- Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissblugh, M.D. offers good advice on how to establish healthy sleep habits for your child. I did not necessarily agree with everything in this book but it did give some good tips.
- Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby by Tracy Hogg with Melinda Blau. I enjoyed reading this book as it went along with my parenting philosophy to truly listen to my baby. Please refer to the "Secrets" article for more information on this book.
Another good baby book to have on hand prior your baby's birth is
- The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby - From Birth to Age Two by William Sears, M.D., and Martha Sears, R.N. with Robert Sears, M.D., and James Sears, M.D. I enjoy reading information written by the Sears family since they offer real-life practical advice with the added benefit of the information being written by medical professionals.
Lastly, you may even want to read books like The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child by Robert W. Sears, M.D. since you should be asked before you deliver (some hospitals automatically give the hepatitis B (hep B) vaccination) if you want the hospital to give your baby the hep B vaccination at birth. What I like about this book is that it presents both the pros and cons of all vaccines. I do think it is evident from the book that it is extremely important to vaccinate your child. Although, I think Dr. Bob also does a great job trying to educate everyone that although we should continue vaccinating our children more research does need to be done to ensure vaccines are made as safe as possible. The book also provides an alternative schedule if you want to delay giving your child certain vaccinations like the hep B vaccination which is primarily "transmitted through unprotected sex...by the sharing of IV drug needles, or an accidental stick with an infected needle" (Sears, 47). Note that hep B can be passed to a baby from an infected mother during the birth process although most women are tested for hep B before delivery of their baby. Please refer to the "Pregnancy & Delivery Resources" article for a full list of resources.
Pre-register for Hospital
Most hospitals require pre-registration, sometimes 60 days before expected delivery date. In addition, to pre-registering you may want to take a tour of the labor and delivery area of the hospital. Generally the hospital tour is free. My hospital recommended doing a tour in your 6th or 7th month and when I went online to schedule the tour when I was 18 weeks pregnant the tours were already booked up for the next few months. I was still able to book the tour for my 7th month (based on a 9 month scale) or my 6th month based on the full 40 weeks. You may also want to look into birthing classes which is discussed below.
Or maybe you do not plan to deliver in a hospital. The following websites discuss how you could have a more natural childbirth - http://www.happyhealthybirth.net and hopethroughlove.
Preference for Delivery?
This is something that I initially thought I wouldn't care as much about and whatever way my baby arrived I would be happy whether it was a vaginal birth or a C-section. I didn't understand why some women that were advised to have a C-section for medical reasons were disappointed until I was in that situation. I'm not sure why but part of me really wanted to be able to deliver my baby vaginally but ultimately after 39 hours I realized that I needed a C-section and by that point I accepted it and was happy and ready to finally meet my baby. Please remember that you have to do what is best for both you and your baby.
The only thing I would change about my first delivery was that I would push more to not be induced early. I was induced a week early since I had the label of gestational diabetes. My gestational diabetes was completely controlled with diet and every time I tested my sugar my scores were excellent; I just failed the routine glucose sugar test done on pregnant women. The one doctor was concerned that my baby was going to be really big over 10 lbs and when my baby was born he was 7 lbs 10 ounces which seems to be a fairly average weight. When I was induced I was showing no signs of being ready for labor, my baby's head was floating and not close to being engaged so my chances of having a successful induction were low. At the time with no knowledge of the situation I listened to the doctor and allowed him to induce me early and everything worked out well I delivered a healthy, beautiful baby boy.
I'm not trying to say that being induced early isn't a good thing many women medically require to be induced early; all I know is that in my situation at the time looking back I now feel that medically I do not believe I needed to be induced and if I had waited another week I may have been able to have my baby naturally. That said, I'm not a medical professional which is why I listened to my medical professional's advice and decided to be induced early in the case that there was a chance it was better for my baby to be delivered early. My main reason for writing the above information is if you are set on a natural delivery you may want to discuss with your healthcare professional if it is really necessary to be induced or is it ok if you wait for the baby to be delivered naturally. Based on my personal experience and other friends' experiences it seems there is a higher chance of having a C-section if you are induced rather than letting the delivery progress naturally.
Most hospitals offer various classes including topics on childbirth preparation, baby care, breastfeeding, infant CPR, and new mom groups. There generally is a fee for the classes. With my first pregnancy the cost of the birthing class was around $150 and with my second pregnancy the cost of the class was around $60. The first time we actually just rented a video from the library rather than doing the class.
If I had a third child and went the more natural route, I would definitely be interested in a class like that offerred by http://www.happyhealthybirth.net and hopethroughlove.
The main thing to remember with pregnancy and delivery although I agree it is important to be as prepared as possible, remember that what you have in your initial birthing "plan" may not go as you planned and to remember the most important thing is a healthy delivery of your baby.
Deciding the name for your baby is probably one of the biggest and hardest decisions before the birth. Please refer to the "Baby Names" article for more information on deciding your baby's name. The article also discusses whether you want to share your baby's name with others or keep it to yourself prior the birth.
Breastfeeding, Bottle Feeding, or Both?
To breastfeed or not to breastfeed is definitely a personal question you have to answer yourself. Please refer to the "To or Not to?" article for more information and also how you can combine breastfeeding with bottle feeding. If you decide to breastfeed you may want to also read the following articles: "About," "Accessories," "Pumping," and "Tips." If you decide to bottle feed, please refer to the following articles "Bottles," "Formula," "Formula Transition," and "Nipples" as you will have to decide what type of bottles and formula you will use for your baby. Please also refer to "Comfort Chair," "Feeding Tricks," and "How Much" for more information on feeding your baby.
You may also want to read some books on feeding your baby such as:
- Feeding Baby Green by Alan Greene, M.D. - a "spokesperson for the green baby movement."
Or you may want to read a specific book on breastfeeding such as:
- The Breastfeeding ANSWER BOOK by Nancy Mohrbacher and Julie Stock published by the La Leche League International or the The Breastfeeding Book by the Sears Family.
Please refer to the "Baby Registry List" article for more information on what you'll need to get ready for your baby's birth. In addition to buying all of the baby supplies it is fun to get your baby's room ready for him. For our first baby we enjoyed picking out the theme for the baby room, which ended up being from the Guess How Much I Love You book by McBratney. Here are some pictures or our son's baby room:
You may receive a lot of baby clothes prior your baby's birth. Someone recommended me to wash all of the clothes ahead of time so I didn't have to worry about it once the baby was born. So I did wash everything! Next time, if I receive as many clothes as I did with my son I'll probably hold off on washing some of the clothes as based on timing some of the really cute outfits our son didn't have an opportunity to wear and if I hadn't washed them I may have taken a few of the items back. One thing you generally cannot have too much of is the onesies/ sleepers either with or without leg and arm coverings depending on the weather.
Please refer to the "MOMMBY Amazon Store" to purchase baby products.
Choose a Doctor for Baby
This is something I didn't give much thought but should have prior to the birth of my baby. We got a referral from a coworker on a good family practice and so we decided to go there. I didn't do a pre-interview to find out if I liked the doctor. Once our baby was born I was disappointed in the care we received. Like most new parents I tended to have several questions for the doctor at each visit, like how much should my baby be eating? And the doctor's response to basically every question was, I would only know that answer if I was God. I understand all babies are different but there is a general range of what most babies eat and sleep. In a way, the doctor's lack of response helped me create this web site as I realized I would have to do the research by myself.
I also didn't feel the doctor took note when I explained my son seemed to be extremely constipated and then at 4 months when my son didn't want to breastfeed or drink his bottle the doctor didn't give much guidance. I was able to find ways to help my son drink better but he didn't seem to enjoy drinking his bottle like he did prior to the 4 month mark. Please refer to the "Feeding Tricks" article for more information. I finally switched pediatricians when my son was almost six months old and at that time my son was diagnosed by the new pediatrician with reflux. That doctor felt it was evident based on my son's refusal to eat that he was suffering from reflux.
Now anytime I need to find a new doctor, I do more investigation prior to scheduling an appointment. I do think asking a friend for a referral is extremely helpful but I also now read the doctor's bios and if the office allows (which many do) I schedule a consult meeting with the doctor prior to scheduling an appointment. Many doctors will allow a free consult to meet them.
In addition, trust your gut. My gut told me from day 1 that I was not thrilled with our son's initial doctor and I should have switched. I am happy that I did finally switch and I was able to get my son properly diagnosed with reflux and we were able to start treating him for it.
In addition, if you are considering doing an alternate vaccination schedule (one that varies from the recommended CDC schedule) you may also want to consider looking for a "vaccine friendly" doctor. For example, if you want to postpone the hep B vaccination given at birth, at 1 month and at 6 months since hep B is primarily a sexually transmitted disease then you may want to discuss with the doctor whether he/she will be understanding of that. It is my understanding that doctors cannot and should not dismiss patients solely if the parents of the patient do not want to fully vaccinate or want to vaccinate on an alternative schedule but that doesn't mean the doctor won't make the appointment a fairly unpleasant one. In general doctors are taught "that diseases are bad and the shots are good" but they "learn very little about vaccines..." (Sears xv). The article on "Vaccinations" is coming soon.
You will also want to find out if your baby's pediatrician will have privileges at the hospital you are delivering at. With the birth of our daughter our pediatrician did and it was nice to develop a relationship with the doctor from the very start of our daughter's birth.
Install Car Seat
I believe it is required by all hospitals for you to transport your baby from the hospital in an installed car seat. To see if your car seat is installed properly and to find a certified passenger safety technician in your area, visit www.SeatCheck.org or contact Child Safety Seat Inspection Station Locator. You can call 866-SEAT-CHECK (866-732-8243) or 888-327-4236 or you could also call your local police or fire departments (NON-EMERGENCY) lines to find out if they offer car seat checks. Our local fire department had sessions you could stop by and they would check that the car seat was installed correctly. We went before our son was born and they were very nice.
Please refer to the "Car Seat" article for more information.
Things to Take to the Hospital
As your baby's delivery date approaches, you generally start thinking about packing a bag to take to the hospital. Please refer to the "Things to Take to the Hospital" for the complete article.
Sears, Robert W. M.D., F.A.A.P. The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child. New York:
Last updated: January 2011; May 2010