You may be getting your head around the emotional side of becoming a mum – but what about the practical?
1. Have you done a hospital test run?
Even if you’ve already visited your hospital or birth centre for antenatal appointments, you should still do a trial run of the route to work out how long the journey will take even in rush hour, where you’ll park and where you need to go once you’ve arrived. Don’t forget to keep your petrol tank topped up and have plenty of loose change for parking meters and drinks machines.
For information on roadworks and traffic jams, download The Highways Agency’s free iPhone app.
2. Is your home ready?
You’ll want everything clean and tidy, which could mean lots of nesting (but hey, scrubbing floors is great for getting your baby in the right position for birth) or finishing all those DIY jobs.
The super-organised can create a changing station upstairs and one downstairs with cotton wool, cream, wipes and nappies, and find the perfect spot for feeding your baby when he arrives. Kit it out with magazines, your iPad or laptop, TV remote and music player, so you can settle in for long stretches.
It’s also worth setting up an online shopping list with your favourite supermarket, so you can get all your usual essentials delivered in a few clicks.
3. Have you finished your birth plan?
Things will not go exactly to plan, we can promise you that. But, even when things change during labour, the process of writing a plan is useful as it can help you work out (calmly!) how you feel about your birth choices.
Keep it as close to one page of A4 as possible, make multiple copies and consider laminating it, so it’s less likely to be torn.
4. Is your birth partner prepared?
Q. Is your man likely to faint at the sight of blood? If the answer’s yes, think about having someone else as your birth partner while he hovers about changing the music and rubbing your back.
And, whether you choose your man, mum or best friend, talk through your pain relief preferences, your hopes and fears, and what you want if it comes to intervention. You need to make sure your birth partner can communicate your wishes to medical staff if you’re unable to.
5. Do you know how everything works?
You’ve bought the kit, but it’s not until you’ve opened the box, plugged it in and tested it that you’ll know how to use it. Practise opening and collapsing your buggy and try on your baby sling – working these things out when you’re tired and have a crying baby is never a great idea.
The same goes for night lights, mobiles and baby monitors.
6. Have you planned the announcement?
Once your baby is born, you’ll want to spread the news. Rather than having to scroll through the whole of your contacts list and send individual texts, create a ‘friends and family’ group on your phone, so you can just send one announcement.
Or prepare a draft email, so all you need to do is fill in your baby’s details, attach a photo and send.