A 40 week pregnancy gives birthmothers and adoptive parents plenty of time to prepare for delivery day. Whether you’ve just discovered you’re pregnant or are well into your pregnancy, here are some of the best ways to plan for your baby’s arrival.

Learn About the Birth Process

Learning about the birthing process is beneficial for both birthmothers and adoptive parents. Birthmothers should become familiar with the birthing process so they know what to expect when they go into labor, and to learn different techniques that make the delivery run smoother. Depending on the delivery plan, the adoptive parents may be in the delivery room. Knowing the basics of the birthing process will help adoptive parents “coach” the birthmother through her delivery. Consider taking a birthing class, which touches on the stages of labor, pain management and breathing techniques.

Find a Doctor for Your Baby

Depending on the adoption plan and the relationship between the birthmother and adoptive parents, finding a doctor for the baby can be something they do together. Either way, the best time to start looking for a pediatrician is midway through the pregnancy. This may seem early, but the reason we suggest this is because finding a doctor that fits your family (and accepts your insurance and is taking new patients) is something you want to give yourself plenty of time for.

Talk to other Parents

The birthing experience will be different for every birthmother and every adoptive family - but it doesn’t hurt to get some insider advice beforehand. Finding honest people who are willing to share their experiences can take the edge off and help you adjust your expectations. There are also online clubs, groups and forums where moms and parents in all stages of pregnancy/parenting share their experiences and advice.

Decide who will Attend the Birth

This is a very personal decision. Some birthmothers like a full room, while others prefer as few people present as possible. With that said, this decision is entirely up to the birthmother. Give some thought to who you want, to ensure there are no misunderstandings or unwelcome observers. For adoptive parents, let the birthmother know you would like to be present, but understand she may prefer complete privacy.

Learn what to do when Labor Starts

Long before the water breaks or contractions start, birthmothers will want to create a solid plan of who to call and where to go. Doctors will provide you with a set of guidelines on what to do when you go into labor. Decide early on who will take you to the hospital, and also have a backup - just in case. Become familiar with the hospital, including where to park and at what entrance. These things may sound silly, but you will be thankful to have one less thing to think about!

Pack a Bag!

The last thing birthmothers will want to worry about when they go into labor is whether or not they have a toothbrush packed. Ease your mind by preparing a bag a few weeks before the due date. Aside from the essentials, think of other things that might make you feel more at home - a favorite blanket, your own pillow, and slippers are a few ideas. Adoptive parents should also pack a small bag, as they can expect to spend long hours at the hospital.

Preparing for the delivery of a baby is easier said than done - but if properly prepared delivery day can be a smooth experience. Depending on your adoption, birthmothers and adoptive parents are encouraged to help each other create a delivery plan that works for everyone. If you have any questions, the adoption coordinators at LifeLong Adoptions are always available to to offer extra guidance and support.