A pregnant woman stands near a sun-lit window in her house holding her stomach.

Finalize Small Details Prior to Labor

Final Preparations Before Labor

For most women about to have a baby, the 40th week of pregnancy is traditionally considered to be the last week of the third and final trimester of pregnancy. This is typically the week when most women will take care of last minute items with the knowledge that they may go into labor at any time within the next several days. This guide will provide information about things to keep in mind so you are prepared for the oncoming pregnancy and ready for motherhood.

Safety for the baby

One of the most important things to take care of during the last week of pregnancy is the installation of a car seat in your car, minivan, truck, or whatever you drive. If you forget to pack anything else besides your birth bag, you should not forget this. It is so important that the majority of hospitals will not even allow you to leave the hospital with your baby unless you have one installed. If you will be driving your own vehicle to the hospital, you should put the baby seat in ahead of time so you will not be in a rush to make sure it is installed correctly and ready to go. If you plan on taking a taxi to the delivery room, it is still a good idea to practice installing a baby seat in your vehicle a couple of times so you will have familiarity with the installation and removal process.

Essential Equipment

Another way to save time and energy and put you in a calmer state of mind during the exhausting and exciting days after your baby is delivered is to travel to the local drugstore to pick up a number of essential comfort and baby items. For example, it is a good idea to stock up on maxi pads, as you will have to deal with a number of discharges in the days and weeks after the pregnancy is completed. Of course, you will also want to pick up plenty of diapers for your coming newborn, as well as baby wipes that are alcohol free and a good amount of laundry detergent.

Additional comfort items that are frequently recommended by veteran mothers for the post partum period include gentle stool softeners or laxatives, as you might have trouble going to the bathroom immediately after your pregnancy. Your obstetrician gynecologist will be able to recommend you good brands. You should also pick up rubber gloves that you can fill with crushed ice; these are great to help cool down sore spots on the body. You will also want to look into gauze pads and witch hazel, both for easing any post partum soreness you experience, as well as a donut pillow for those days where it hurts to sit.

Food for thought

It is also a good idea to make sure you are well stocked with food before you leave for the hospital. It is understandable to have a strong nesting instinct in the final days before the delivery. A good way to channel that energy is to cook several meals that are easy to freeze so you can heat them and eat them when you find yourself too busy to make food once the baby arrives. Additionally, while you are in the grocery store, it is not a bad idea to stock up on snacks that are easy to grab and eat on the go, such as granola bars, healthy cereals, and fruits like apples, bananas, and oranges. These will help keep you going on the days when you just don't have enough time to sit down and prepare a full meal for yourself and any others around the house.

Help around the house

Finally, consider gathering people who can help you out during the first couple of weeks after your newborn baby arrives. Try family members if you have any available.

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