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Adoption    Babies    Breast-feeding    Child care    Childproofing    Children    Parents   
BEFORE MOTHER STARTS TRYING TO GET PREGNANT:

PROSPECTIVE MOTHER:
____ See a doctor to ensure you're in good enough health to get pregnant and that you have no risk factors for a problem pregnancy
____ Get dental work taken care of
____ Take blood test for HIV
If you test positive for HIV:
____ Consider not trying to get pregnant, or, strongly consider taking AZT - partly to reduce risk to fetus

____ Learn to swim - so you can save your child if he/she falls into deep water and so you can teach your child to swim

PROSPECTIVE PARENTS:
____ Review goals, financial situation, etc.
____ Ensure you have health insurance which covers pregnancy and birth - some insurance providers consider pregnancy to be a pre-existing condition and some have a waiting period
____ Determine how much maternity/paternity leave you're eligible for and whether you'll be paid for any of it
____ Determine what your options are regarding taking sick leave, vacation time and/or maternity/paternity leave and decide in what order to use them
WHEN MOTHER STARTS TRYING TO GET PREGNANT:

PROSPECTIVE MOTHER:
____ Avoid drinking any alcohol
____ Reduce consumption of caffeine (e.g., coffee, some sodas, chocolate) - it can affect the fetal heart rate
____ Don't bleach your teeth (until after you finish nursing baby)
____ Consider possible names for your child (to review possible names, consider using books, computer software (e.g., Namease) and/or web sites (e.g., parentsoup.com, babynames.com))
____ Learn CPR (especially CPR for infants)
____ Learn to swim - so you can save your child if he/she falls into deep water and so you can teach your child to swim

Regularly:
____ Ensure you get enough folic acid (e.g., take supplements, drink orange juice)

PROSPECTIVE FATHER:
Avoid:
____ Wearing jockey shorts (wear boxer briefs instead) - to increase sperm count
____ Riding bikes - to increase sperm count
____ Avoid using hot tubs, spa's, jacuzzi's, etc.
AFTER MOTHER IS PREGNANT:
120x60ExpectingaBaby?
MOTHER-TO-BE:
As soon as feasible:
____ See a doctor:
____ Tell doctors if you do or don't want to know the sex - it's nice to know the sex before birth so you can buy the right color clothes, etc. - it's nice to not know the sex before birth so you can experience the traditional surprise at birth

Regularly:
____ See a doctor:
____ Pelvic exams
____ Sonogram (ultrasound)
____ Non-stress test
____ Eat properly - good nutrition helps speed up labor and helps you get through labor without getting exhausted
____ Take pre-natal vitamins
____ Posture - keep ear, shoulder and hip in vertical line
____ Kegel exercises - can help you relax during labor
____ Exercise - can lead to shorter labor
____ Approx 5 times a day, while sitting or standing, rotate shoulder blades forward (be aware that after the third month of pregnancy, doing exercises lying on your back could compress major blood vessels and restrict circulation due to the weight of the enlarging uterus)
____ Exercise video
____ Decide whether to breast-feed your baby (see breast-feeding)

FATHER-TO-BE/COACH:
Regularly:
____ Remind mother-to-be to do Kegel exercises

PARENTS-TO-BE:
____ Be aware that miscarriages are fairly common, so consider holding off telling most people and making permanent changes until later in the pregnancy
____ Pick a doctor:
          - When is doctor on duty and how would you be able to get ahold of him/her at different times, e.g., weekends, at night
____ Put reminders on bathroom mirror, refriderator, over sink, in car, etc. to do Kegel exercises
____ Take childbirth classes - can help reduce the pain experienced during childbirth and/or help you deal with it better - even if you plan to have an epidural, it won't be administered until 5 centimeters dilations, so you'll have to deal with the first half of first-stage labor no matter what - an epidural usually won't entirely remove the pain...just dull your senses - will usually reduce the length of labor
____ Pick a hospital:
          - Is an anesthesiologist available around the clock?
          - Is neo-natal care available around the clock?
          - 15 minutes or less to surgery?
          - Blood transfusions readily available?
          - Monitoring equipment available?
          - Lab services available around the clock?
          - Is staff well-trained?
____ Learn CPR (especially CPR for infants)
____ Buy:
          - Supportive bra (for use before and after birth)
          - Baby clippers
____ Get to know your neighbors and join groups - so you will have people who can help you during your pregnancy (e.g., advice) and after the birth (e.g., babysitting)
____ Consider hiring someone to help with watching the baby, laundry, meals, answering phone, etc.
____ Ensure you have adequate term life insurance on you (the parents-to-be), especially incoming-producing parents (consider getting approx. five times the parents' annual income for the first child, plus an additional four times for each additional child or dependent, up to a maximum of approx. 12 times)
____ Make arrangements for child care for when you go back to work and/or for emergencies
____ Invest money for your child's college education, e.g., in an aggressive growth fund
____ For a customized, day-by-day calendar that provides you with helpful information about your pregnancy and describes how your baby is developing, visit parentsoup.com

Regularly:
____ Ensure baby gets plenty of stimulation (touching, sound (e.g., talking, music)) - to stimulate the growth of nerve cells in baby's brain

If considering an abortion:
____ Consider having the baby instead and putting the baby up for adoption

If you move during your pregnancy:
____ Get medical records from hospital/ obstetrician/ pediatrician
5 MONTHS INTO PREGNANCY:

____ Consider possible names for your child:
          - See NAMES
          - Consider using computer software (e.g., Namease) to review possible names
6 MONTHS INTO PREGNANCY:

____ Rehearse labor procedures:
          - Coach says: "Contraction begins"
          - You automatically totally release any tension in your body
          - Coach check for tension
          - Gradually add distractions (i.e. TV, radio) to practice sessions
____ Discuss with baby's father, etc.:
          - Who you'd like to have at the hospital and at the house (if they're available)
          - Who to call after birth - list by priority - include hours it would be okay to call
7 MONTHS INTO PREGNANCY:

____ Plastic on bed (under sheet), in car, etc (in case water breaks - it breaks before labor in approx 15% of pregnancies...it's most likely to break, and result in a large amount of discharge, while lying down)
____ Take plastic with you on trips, etc.
____ Eat less, more often
After eating - sit up for approx 1 hour - may help to avoid heartburn
____ Wear supportive bra
____ Read to baby in womb
____ Play music for baby in womb
____ Stop riding bike (easy to lose balance)
____ Tour of hospital - birthing rooms, nursery, lounge, etc.
____ Explain to family and friends what kind of assistance you might like during labor and delivery, in hospital, and after getting home
____ Make arrangements to have your other kids, pets, plants, etc. taken care of when you go to hospital
____ Give your other children a doll to practice on
____ Let your other children help prepare for the new baby
____ Avoid having your other children go through big changes at same time new baby comes home i.e. changing from crib to a bed, changing rooms
____ For a a customized, day-by-day guide with information about your child's growth and development during his/her first year, visit parentsoup.com
8 MONTHS INTO PREGNANCY

____ Wash pet toys in baby soap approx. 1 week before bringing baby home
____ Make arrangements with doctor and hospital regarding:
          - Admitting procedures?
          - Through Admissions Office during day?
          - Through Emergency Room at night?
          - What's needed for admission?
          - Pre-register (pre-admit)?
          - Enema?
          - Discuss what is done with the baby after birth:
          - Father cut cord?
          - Tests
          - Taken away right away?
          - Bean bag chair available?
          - Mirror for her to see birth?
          - Who can be present (i.e. husband, family members) if C-section is performed?
          - Scrub suit(s)?
          - Drinking and eating in labor/delivery room?
          - Fetal monitoring (i.e. heart)
          - How will contractions be monitored?
          - Pelvic exams
          - IV - In what cases would it be used?
          - Antibiotics (i.e. for prolapsed heart valve)
          - Options for induction of labor?
          - Epidural (or retain option of having epidural) - an epidural may slow down or even stop labor (contractions) - statistics indicate that you're more likely to have a C-section if you have an epidural (1/5 of births are C-section, which is considered very safe, but natural birth is considered safer) - an epidural results in almost no pain and reduces the chances of experiencing so much pain that it negatively influences your beginnings with your baby
          - Nubain (takes the edge off)
          - Whether other medication(s) might be advisable, e.g., antibiotics for prolapsed heart valve
          - Administering synthetic hormones to speed up labor (i.e. if epidural slows it down)
          - Stay in one bed and one room for labor and delivery?
          - Positions for labor
          - Drinking and eating in labor/delivery room?
          - Episiotomy
          - Forceps?
          - Suction device?
          - Alternative birthing procedures i.e. LeBoyer, water immersion?
          - Rooming in?
          - Early discharge policy?
          - Pediatrician:
          - Recommendations?
          - Will hospital call pediatrician at appropriate time?
          - Visiting hours?
____ Make arrangements for pediatric care:
          - Schedule consult(s) with pediatrician(s):
          - Breast-feeding - it may help protect against diarrhea - Battery-driven breast pumps are good (electric are expensive...hand-driven are too hard)
          - Vaccinations
____ Pack things to take to hospital:
          - Bean bag chair?
          - Wash cloth (for wiping face and relieving thirst)
          - Paper bag (to breath into to prevent hyperventilation)
          - Lip balm
          - Radio and/or tape player
          - Cassette tapes: ___________
          - Video equipment
          - VCR
          - Video camera
          - Video tape(s)
          - Camera, film, flash
          - Snacks, drinks, ice chips, cooler, sandwich for husband
          - Something to focus on during contractions e.g., a picture or memento
          - Something to wear:
          - During labor
          - During delivery
          - On trip home
          - Nightgowns
          - Robe
          - Slippers
          - Bra's (nursing)
          - Heavy socks
          - Baby clothes
          - Clock and/or watch
          - Baby book - for foot prints, etc.
          - List of things not being kept in dedicated bags
          - List of phone numbers of people to call soon after birth
          - Birth announcements
          - Addresses
          - Champagne
          - Baby clippers
WHEN MOTHER EXPERIENCES CONTRACTIONS:

____ Be aware that it is probably false labor if the contractions are irregular and go away with physical activity or changing position
____ Be aware that it is probably true labor if the contractions are regular

If contractions are believed to be true labor contractions:
____ Make each breath quicker and less deep until height of contraction
____ Stop eating solids
____ Shower
____ Notify the people that you would like to have at hospital during labor
WHEN MOTHER'S WATER BREAKS:

____ Call your doctor
____ Make arrangements for your other kids, pets, etc.
____ Take a shower
____ Go to hospital (once the plug opens up, there's a greater risk of infection, etc. for the baby)
DURING THE EARLY STAGES OF LABOR:

____ Read book
____ Play music
____ Call doctor when contractions are approx 10 minutes apart (or as instructed by your doctor)

FATHER/COACH:
____ Apply pressure to lower back
____ Stroke lower half of abdomen
____ Massage thighs
____ Tell her stories
____ Read to her
BEFORE LEAVING FOR HOSPITAL:

____ See
packing for hospital for things to take
____ Leave note on front door, as appropriate
UPON ARRIVAL AT HOSPITAL:

____ Determine how to operate bed
____ Obtain ice chips
____ Locate K basin
____ Set up video camera
____ Have still camera(s) ready (i.e. loaded with film)
DURING LABOR:

____ Consider changing positions regularly - sometimes is good to change positions to help baby rotate:
          - Hands + knees
          - Walk around
          - Squat
          - On your side
          - Use a bean bag chair

COACH:
Regularly:
____ Check for tension during and between contractions - remind her to relax - mild massage
____ Remind her to urinate often (i.e. once/hour)
____ Comfort measures:
          - Lollipops
          - Ice chips
          - Wipe face with cool damp cloth
          - Massage
          - Back rub.
          - Lip balm
          - Change positions
____ Provide encouragement:
          - "You're doing great"
          - "Keep up the good work"
          - "Our baby is almost here"
          - "It's all going to be worth it"
          - Count breathing during contractions
          - Use bathroom often
          - Start video camera
____ Remember:
          - The pain you are experiencing is not evil; it is a natural, normal aspect of expelling a baby from the womb"
          - It's going to hurt
          - It's going to be hard
          - This is like a grueling sports event, e.g., the final stretch of a marathon
          - 3-14% of women experience no pain during labor and delivery (even without breathing techniques, etc.)
          - 10-20% of women in childbirth classes report having felt no pain
          - Women with irregular periods with acute cramps at the onset tend to have significantly more childbirth pain
WHEN IT'S TIME TO PUSH:

____ Blow out for count of 6

COACH:
____ Prepare to take pictures of the baby
For more info:
____ Check women.com
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