Having a baby can turn your life upside down in amazing ways, but with these changes comes a lot of decisions that impact the future of your child and your family. It’s important to take time to plan out these decisions ahead of time to avoid rushed decisions and to allow for more time to enjoy your pregnancy.
When you go into labor, most of your focus will be on the actual birth process. This is why developing a birthing plan before you go into labor is so important. This plan lays out your preferences for the entire birthing process, from who you want in the delivery room to pain management options. Keep in mind that your medical team may need to digress from your plan, so you’ll need to maintain some amount of flexibility when needed. Check with your hospital or birthing center to see whether they offer pamphlets or worksheets to help you develop a birthing plan within their specific offerings and services.
Finding a Pediatrician
Your child’s pediatrician plays an important role in their health and development. In fact, children often can stay with their pediatrician all the way to the age of 18 or longer, depending on the doctor and your insurance coverage. While you can change your doctor at any time, your choice of pediatrician during the first few months of a child’s life is particularly important, as it’s their expertise that can help discover any early health issues. The earlier problems are detected, the less impact they’ll have on growth and development.
If you’re employed while pregnant, another important decision you’ll need to make is how much maternity leave you plan to take. Part of this decision may be made for you, depending on the type of benefits you have with your employer and the family and medical leave laws in your state. The other part of this decision is based on how much leave you feel you can afford within your family’s budget. If you’re married, you may also want to discuss potential paternity leave for your spouse.
Prenatal checkups are essential for a healthy pregnancy. Work with your doctor to decide how many prenatal checkups you’ll need up until your delivery date. Generally, you’ll only need to have an appointment once a month for the first six to seven months, unless your doctor has concerns about your pregnancy due to past history or current health problems. In that case you would need more frequent visits with specialists like those at Mercy. At month eight, your doctor will most likely want to increase prenatal checkups to once every two weeks. In the final month, checkups are once again increased to weekly until you actually deliver.
One of the hardest pregnancy decisions you’ll make is how to budget for your new baby. Babies can dramatically increase your expenses, but creating a budget can significantly reduce both the stress and overall cost of having a child. Many parents-to-be go over the top, buying the top brand names in strollers, clothing and accessories. On the other hand, infants actually need very little in their first year. Providing quality but affordable necessities like a safe place to sleep and appropriate car seat, as well as basics like diapers and clothing can be done on a budget. It’s up to you to decide what you feel is more important and what budget you’re comfortable spending.
Sitting down and planning out these decisions early on in your pregnancy can not only help keep you organized up to your delivery date, but it can also reduce stress levels. In the end, you’ll get the ultimate satisfaction of spending more time bonding with your baby once they arrive.