Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.

(From before getting pregnant, to delivery)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that, as of 2010, the cost of raising a child from birth to age 17 was approx. $227,000:

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

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
  • 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.

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.,,
  • 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


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

A Norwegian study of 85,000 children found that "women who took folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy were about 40% less likely to have a baby later diagnosed with autism." More info at

Prospective Father:


  • 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:


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


  • 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 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)



  • Remind mother-to-be to do Kegel exercises


  • 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 the 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, and 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?
  • Consider developing a birth plan (for one woman’s suggestions, see
  • 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


  • 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 including any medicine they use such as the gainswave seattle

    5 months into pregnancy:

  • Consider possible names for your child:

    • 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

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 the 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 the 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)


  • Apply pressure to lower back
  • Stroke lower half of abdomen
  • Massage thighs
  • Tell her stories
  • Read to her

Before Leaving for the Hospital:

  • See packing for hospital for things to take
  • Leave note on front door, as appropriate

Upon Arrival at the 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



  • 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


  • Prepare to take pictures of the baby


Thanks for reading!