There are so many things you need to organise, buy and sort out when you're having a baby, it's a wonder parents-to-be don't collapse in a heap with the stress of it all.
A new book out this week aims to help with all of that. Pregnancy and Birth: The Essential Checklists by Karen Sullivan is a series of 80 lists that you simply need to tick off. The aim is to help time-stretched new parents keep one step ahead of all that stuff they need to know, do and remember.
To get you started, here's Karen's checklist for the things that will make your life easier if you're juggling pregnancy and work.
Being prepared to deal with any pregnancy symptoms during working hours can help you to feel on the ball, and remain professional with the minimum of fuss. It also makes sense to organise your work and keep tabs on everything else that needs to be undertaken before the big day.
Your toolkit may include:
• An up-to-date diary of all antenatal appointments, and ensure that you advise your boss or colleagues well in advance
• Some natural remedies for headaches, heartburn and nausea, or anything else troubling you. Bach's Rescue Remedy is a good standby, and you can rub it into your temples to relieve a headache, ease tension and anxiety, and promote a feeling of calm.
• A comfortable pair of shoes to slip into behind your desk
• A cushion, heating pad or hot water bottle for backache
• Plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated and alert
• A toothbrush and toothpaste, to recover from any vomiting episodes, and because dental hygiene during pregnancy is very important
• Some decaf or herbal tea; overdoing the caffeine might keep you awake, but the jury's out about how it may affect your unborn baby
• A footstool to keep your feet up (under your desk, of course)
• Healthy snacks, such as dried fruit and nuts, good-quality, low-sugar muesli bars and fruit smoothies to keep you going
• A notebook listing ongoing projects and their status; if you need to take some time off, or baby arrives earlier than expected, your colleagues will find it easier to take over your job
• Your job description, highlighting your regular routines and tasks, for the same reasons as above
• A list of everyone you work with, and their contact details
• A master list of file names and locations on your computer, with a password set up to access all non-personal files
• Your personal 'to-do' list. Planning for your baby can be a daunting task, so breaking it into manageable chunks can make the job that much easier. Make good use of your lunch breaks and any spare moments to purchase a few essentials, research pain relief, babies' names or nappy suppliers, and even organise your 'contact' list for after the birth.
While being pregnant doesn't render you useless, it makes sense to take extra breaks now and then to recharge your batteries, or to work slightly shorter hours if that's on offer. But play it carefully. Make sure you keep up with your work, and don't demand special attention. Maintaining a professional manner will set the standard for how people treat you and your pregnancy.
Adapted from Pregnancy and Birth The Essential Checklists by Karen Sullivan published by DK priced £8.99. For further information visit www.dk.com