15 Things Couples Need to Discuss Before Mom Gives Birth

Michele Zipp | Jul 30, 2018 Pregnancy
15 Things Couples Need to Discuss Before Mom Gives Birth
Image: AleksandarNakic/iStock

pregnant couple in bed

Preparing for baby's arrival can be a magical time. Maybe you're designing a nursery, picking out the cutest onesies, or reveling in the awe of your ever-growing belly and your ability to create a life. And please do revel in all those things. But there are some serious topics that need to be discussed with your partner -- and these are things you want to hash out before you get into the labor and delivery room

Some of these topics may be no-brainers, and perhaps you already know where you both stand on them. But there also may be some topics you didn't think about, and it's vital to get on the same page (or inch toward it) so you can start parenthood with confidence in each other, your abilities, and the future. 

A few things explored here are decisions on baby names and working out child care, as well as where is baby going to sleep. And maybe those answers come more easily for some. But other topics may take more research and time devoted to fully understanding the scope of the topic and your decision about it. Take for example: cord blood banking or if you face an unexpected medical emergency. Do you know where the other person stands here? Delving into these topics together will not only allow for a more informed choice, but it can help you bond and become a stronger family unit.

Check out this list of the things you should talk to your partner about before you give birth. And then have the necessary conversations to ensure you can move forward in parenting with a bit more confidence.

  • The duties.

    pregnant couple

    Who is going to change the diapers? Who is going to be awake for the 2 a.m. feedings (even if choosing to breastfeed)? Who will master the art of swaddling first? These topics -- though they may seem more of a "figure out as it happens" type of thing -- are actually really important to hash out before. Waking at 2 a.m. to a crying baby and disagreeing with your partner at the same time is miserable. Work these details out beforehand.

  • Sleeping arrangements.


    Maybe the crib is all set up in the nursery, but when baby gets home, will you co-sleep? Will baby bed share? How does this change your typical sleeping arrangements? The more you talk about your sleeping arrangements -- from newborn and into baby years and beyond -- the better your flow of communication about your child will be ... and the better your relationship will be.

  • Discipline.

    couple pregnant

    There are many incredible books and articles devoted to the topic of how to best discipline your child, along with strong facts how they way you may have be disciplined as a child isn't a healthy way to parent. The more you arm yourself with the best information out there to make informed decisions as a couple, the better.

  • How to advocate for each other.

    pregnant couple talking

    Once you get into the labor and delivery room (if that's where you are giving birth), sometimes things can get hectic or stressful. They don't have to be. While you don't want to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about "what ifs," it's important to open up the topic so you both know how to react in an emergency or when things deviate from what's expected. What will you do if a nurse is pushing for something you don't want to do? What if your doctor isn't there and you have a different doctor who isn't listening to your wishes and concerns? This would be the time your partner will need to be your strongest advocate and ally.

  • Banking cord blood.

    couple feeling baby kick

    Cord blood banking may be an option you'll want to consider and there is a wealth of information online and through your doctor to look into to see if it's right for you.

  • Medical choices.

    couple at obgyn

    There are many medical decisions that need to be made concerning your child as well as your labor and delivery. Circumcision, c-section, the use of labor-inducing drugs like Pitocin are just a few but major choices you will need to make concerning your body and your child's. Also include what you would want to do (if anything) with your placenta. 

  • Religion.

    pregnant couple talking

    Not only do couples need to discuss how they want to (or not want to) incorporate religion into their child's life, it's vital to discuss what happens when other family members get involved. This conversation may be best had prior to baby's arrival with any and all necessary family, but starting with the two of you first.

  • Social media.

    pregnant couple

    Whether or not your baby will have a social media presence is a very important topic to discuss. There are valid debates for and against, but the main thing is that the two of you agree.

  • Your relationship with each other.

    pregnant couple

    Having a baby is going to change a lot -- as you've probably heard over and over again ad nauseam. Still, it's important to continuously check in with each other, to continue to nurture your relationship, in order to be great parents together. This includes continuing and strengthening communication and keeping connected with intimacy.

  • Child care.

    pregnant couple putting crib together

    Depending on your family leave situation, you may need child care right away or a couple of months after giving birth. (Until, of course America's family leave practices start to reflect the needs of families.) Will one of you be a stay-at-home-parent? Will you hire outside help or are able to enlist family? What about preschool, when that time comes? 

  • The future. 

    pregnant couple at house

    Becoming a parent means facing ongoing challenges and changes (and a slew of beautiful, amazing moments). In order to stay in tune with each other and the needs of your family, it's key to also be on the same page about the future. Where will you live? What if you have to move? What about schooling? College funds? A will? 

    It's never too soon to start talking about these important things. 

  • Unexpected challenges.

    family pregnant mom

    Just like carrying a First Aid Kit or even having painkillers on hand when you have your period, knowing what you will do when unexpected challenges arise should be something in that proverbial go-to bag of info in your heads. What happens if your child has a medical emergency? What if one of you do? While you don't want to get too ahead of yourselves with working out every potential issue, it's also important to talk about a few just in case.

  • Baby names. 

    couple pregnant looking at phone
    Dean Mitchell/iStock

    You don't want to take any disagreements about a baby name into the delivery room. Start a spreadsheet, play a baby name game, set aside a night to make a list -- whatever you need to do to agree on a name beforehand is suggested.

  • Birth plan.

    couple pregnant baby girl

    Your baby's birth plan may end up being very different than your dream birth, but it's still necessary to make sure your wishes on how you want to give birth are conveyed to your partner. This is also where advocacy comes in. And as always, educate yourself during your pregnancy to help you with your plan.

  • Your parenting style.

    pregnant couple walking

    Beyond deciding upon how you want to discipline and what type of sleeping arrangements your home will have when it comes to baby, your personal parenting style is certainly something to be discussed. Do you think you will be a worrier? More laid back? Very hands-on? Leaning more toward attachment parenting? Anti-cry it out? These are all things to discuss pre-baby.

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