Pregnant at Christmas? Be prepared

Everything you need to know about pregnancy and going into labour in the holidays

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If you’re due any time in December or January, there’s a greater chance of going into labour on one of the days your midwife is on holiday. Your baby doesn’t know that it’s Christmas so if she decides to come late, early or bang on time when you were banking on a few extra days, there’s nothing you can do to stop her.

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Being due around Christmas might add some extra stress to the holiday but having a new baby around for the new year is guaranteed to bring a dose of magic to the holiday period. And if you’re well prepared, there’s nothing to worry about.

In your last few weeks of pregnancy

Pack your hospital back. Even if it seems a bit early, you don’t want to be running round trying to find what you need when all the shops are closing early. Find out what essential items you’ll need in your overnight bag for hospital.

Stock up on medicines. Many shops and pharmacies will have different hours over the holiday period. Either, make sure you know what these are or, better still, stock up on any medicines and vitamins you need as well as any soothing creams or cold presses you might want to use after giving birth.

Essential phone numbers. Whether you’ve decided on a home or a hospital birth, make sure you have contact numbers everyone you could possibly need. Although you have every chance of achieving your birth plan, there’s no harm in being prepared for last minute changes.

Numbers you’ll need:

  • Midwife
  • Midwife out-of-hours or alternative. Check with your midwife about her availability and what your options are if you cannot contact her.
  • Local hospital ward. Also take the number for other local hospital – both their switchboard and their labour wards in case you can’t get through.
  • Your GP surgery’s out of hours line – for any last minute queries or concerns.
  • NHS direct is another useful one

Also give a copy of these to your birth partner and ideally leave them near the phone.

Getting to the hospital

If you are planning a hospital birth get the car ready. Pack towels and blankets and even snacks and water in case you get stuck in traffic or are held up by bad weather. Speaking of weather, keep an eye on the forecase in case we are due more snow and plan your route to the hospital with this in mind.

Once you get to hospital, although some of the staff will be on holiday, shifts are in place to make sure there are enough nurses and consultants in the building. Non-essential procedures, operations and appointments are scaled back over this period so while there may be fewer nurses on the wards, there should also be fewer patients.

What happens if you go into labour

Once you recognise the signs that you are in labour, your birth should go ahead as any anywhere, whether its 1am on Christmas morning or at a more convenient time!

Baby essentials to get in early

If you’re bringing your baby home on one of the few days of the year that the major supermarkets are closed many of the items your baby will want need to be in your home already. This will also help you settle in and bond as a family as you won’t have to send dad out on a dash in the cold to grab another pack of Pampers.

Stock up on:

  • Nappies
  • Baby wipes
  • Blankets
  • Towels
  • Nappy rash cream
  • Talcum powder

Buy (and build if necessary):

  • Cot
  • Buggy
  • Car seat (also install this in your car for the trip home from hospital)
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Babies need lots of things so you’ve probably already bought the majority during your pregnancy.  In case you’ve missed something, now’s a good time to check out our essential buys for before your baby arrives

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