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Planning for Delivery Day

Things to plan and pack well ahead of time

If you're heading into your third trimester (or already in your final weeks), you likely have a lot on your mind. Trudging through your last uncomfortable days at work, preparing the nursery for the new arrival and deciding on medication versus a natural childbirth can consume your thoughts, and before you know it, you're at the end of the line with a long list of things to get done. Since you'll already have enough to worry about, help yourself avoid the last minute scramble with time-saving preparations and some good advice for clear and reasonable planning to make the day run as smoothly as possible.

Physical and Mental Labor Preparations

Although many women deal with considerable discomfort in the last month or two, some pregnancy symptoms in late pregnancy can actually help you prepare for the challenge ahead. For instance, the nesting instinct will prompt you to clean the house and finish off the nursery, while Braxton Hicks contractions get your body in gear for the main event. But aside from biological impulses, there are several things that you can do to calm your mind and stay in control during labor and delivery.

To begin, it's a good time to pack your hospital bag with everything from labor tools to postpartum outfits. While you're at it, install the car seat in the car so you'rebe prepared for your childs birth ready to go to the hospital -- and return home -- when the time comes. As for household preparations, pop down to the pharmacy for everything you'll need in the days following your delivery, as you'll likely be far too busy, tired and sore to skip down to the store right after the ordeal.

Knowing when and how to exercise and relax is the trick to a healthy pregnancy, and the same goes for labor and delivery. Prenatal yoga is a fantastic way to stay limber and learn how to increase your focus and control through your breathing, but any doctor-approved exercise routine will achieve similar results. Begin to include your chosen labor accessories in your workouts to get comfortable and familiar with their capabilities, and use them to tone and increase flexibility while you're at it.

Master your Birth Plan

For many women, the birth plan is an important task in the later weeks of pregnancy, especially if you intend to deliver in the hospital. Whether short and sweet or long and detailed, this plan will be your voice in the labor and delivery room -- when you will be far too busy and distracted to personally voice your concerns.

But while you may be tempted to include everything you can think of, a comprehensive list of requirements is not the real purpose of the birth plan. Instead, this is an opportunity to organize your priorities, relay your preferences and ensure that you and your healthcare provider are on the same page. Remember that hospitals have their own practices, and your demands won't override official protocol. A better idea is to find a doctor or midwife that shares your labor and delivery philosophy before committing to the partnership, and then use your birth plan to remind everyone involved of how you would like the labor and delivery to proceed.

Taking some time to go through all of your preparations with your partner will help you stay on the same page and ensure that you’ve accounted for every important detail. Most importantly, keep in mind that childbirth is ultimately unpredictable, so flexibility is perhaps the greatest virtue in the delivery room. Once you've done everything in your power to make the experience easier, it's best to open your mind and go with the flow when the big day arrives.