When we are first-time expecting mothers, we are usually a bit nervous about not forgetting anything that may make the birth-day perfect!

We actually focus so much on the birth-day that we tend to forget to get ready for what’s coming next. Who can get ready for that anyway, right? Well here are 15 things I did -and some of them I simply regret not having done- that may turn the birth and postnatal period into a smoother and more enjoyable experience. They  will surely give you more time and energy to better bond with your baby:

1. A birth plan. Of course you can’t control a birth! Obviously not. And that’s why at the beginning I was skeptic about this point; but when I ended up writing a birth plan with my husband, it allowed us both to check on our options, ask questions to our doula and doctor and be informed on what possibilities were available if things didn’t go as we were planning and dreaming. At the moment of the birth, decision-making became easier since we were well informed. I handed a copy of the birth plan to the nurse at the hospital. I made it as precise as I could. From things like: “Don’t talk to me but to my husband in case you have any question”, or, “I want the light half off”, “the possibility to get up from my bed and walk”, “please cut the umbilical cord after it has stopped pulsating”, etc. etc. Imagine to have to say all your preferences while you are pushing or in the middle of your idyllic affair with your cutie. No way. Besides, a birth plan is a fantastic way of visualizing your birth. –The birth plan I made and used is in our program Blooming Together. You can use it  just as a reference to write your own. It’s an excellent way to ease the communication with your birthing team you will be surprised how seriously doctors and nurses take every point of it.

2. Consciously choose who will be present during the birth. This seems obvious, but sometimes we forget. Maybe your mother wants to be present or your sister, and that stresses you. Or you want a special friend to support you and not family. Be clear, with no pity. You have to be as comfortable and emotionally relaxed as you can. Don’t negotiate this. Go for it as you wish to have it.

3. Know that you will be delivering the placenta just after giving birth. My doula only talked of it as a detail not to be too concerned about. And it’s true, nothing to be worried about; but for me it was completely unexpected and quite uncomfortable. So if you are a first time mom know that you will have the placenta (weighting in between 1 to 2 kilos), coming out your birth canal just after your baby. Just relax so the doctor can pull it out smoothly.

4. Placenta. What are you doing with your placenta? Well, if you are going to ingest it in any form, pills, food, etc. (It may sound disgusting to many, but know that the placenta is one of the most nourishing organs that exist, why waist all that power?), be sure to have an ice-box with some ice and have a plan of where you will take it after. And write it in your birth plan so the nurses know what you want and what to do.

5. Have a postpartum snack ready. Just after the birth I was really hungry and had planned no food for that moment. The nurse kindly brought me hospital food…no way. My friend Aerin had to run to the grocery store to buy some snacks. They felt so good… Prepare revitalizing food so you can nourish yourself just after the birth without having your family to rush or you to starve.

6. Plan ahead for your postnatal home team, the people that will help you after the birth once in the house. Your mother, or sister, or cousin or best friends. Believe me, at one point you won’t have time to even take a shower. It’s better to plan and schedule with them and cancel the appointment if you feel you don’t need them, than finding yourself alone, depressed and tired, with your husband working and no one to help you. Take at least 40 days to nourish yourself and keep it easy. And the advice that we almost never follow: Sleep when your baby sleeps so you can be in better shape. Do it, it will make a difference.

7. Take a breastfeeding class or talk  to your doula so you can learn what to do when milk doesn’t come out or it engorges and your breast are hurting. And plan a breastfeeding healthy diet so your body can keep up with all the energy it needs.

8. Prepare food beforehand and store it in the fridge so for the first  two weeks after the birth you and your partner don’t have to cook. Just heat and eat!

9. When you buy the diapers before the birth, also buy super big pads for you. You will have a bit of bleeding and that is something you almost never plan.

10. Do some shoulder stretching a few times a day. You will be carrying your baby a lot and your back tends to start to slouch. To avoid this do some shoulder stretching every morning, and evening. (Little video on this in our next blogs).

11. Buy that changing table, it will protect your back in the long term. (There are great second hand choices, don’t let the money stop you on this).

12. Learn to relax. You will need this most of all once you give birth. For this, you can check our weekly meditations. We have a postpartum meditation to help you recover from the exhaustion after the birth. Check it out at Blooming Together.

13. Check if you have postpartum depression. I am not talking about “postpartum blues” that is short and common, around 85% of mothers suffer from it after the birth. The “blues” can cause mood changes, irritability, anxiety, confusion, crying, and changes in your appetite. Postpartum blues usually last from 2 to 14 days.

The postpartum depression on the other hand can last months, can be emotionally debilitating and have lasting effects on mother and baby. So be aware, if you have a family history of depression, financial problems or no support from your partner or family members, you should talk to your doctor to follow up in your emotional mood changes after the birth. This can make a whole difference in how you experience the first year of motherhood.

14. Be easy with yourself concerning sex, you may not feel like being with your partner the weeks or first months after the birth. It’s normal, explain it  clearly to your partner in a loving way, he will understand. Do create space and time to share together in other ways. We often overlook this and focus only on the baby, and the relationship may end up being affected. The consequences may be seen a year or two later. Being aware will allow you to make better decisions.

15. A very practical tip: keep the receipt of every purchase you make, so you are able to return any of the baby and mommy stuff you will be buying, if you end up not needing it .

Is there anything that you are doing or planning to do after your birth that you would like to share? Write it in the comments below!

That’s all for now. We will be going deeper on all these points in our next videos and blogs, so make sure to sign for our newsletter in the box below, if you want to receive it directly in your inbox.

❤ Thank you for reading. We wish you a wonderful birth and a very happy first year of motherhood.