Guest Blog by Welcome Baby KC’s Lauren Letterman
Sometimes the first sign of pregnancy is an affectionate pet. Your dog won’t leave your side or your puppy drapes herself across your (toasty) belly. They’ve been with you through morning sickness (so what if they tripped you a couple times as you dashed to the bathroom?), happy danced with you after your first ultrasound, and eyed you sideways when you cried over a cute commercial. Your dog is a constant source of reassurance and comfort as you get closer to meeting your baby. Wouldn’t it be wonderful for them to be a part of your labor and delivery, too?
Animals can be very therapeutic for an expecting family, and pregnancy can be a great time to connect with your pets. Booking maternity pictures that include your dog(s), or taking long walks to burn off extra doggy energy while strengthening your body are excellent ways to include your pups during this time. Also, start planning for life with dogs after baby arrives. Hire a dog trainer who specializes in easing the transition for your dog as your family grows. Family Paws Parent Education is a helpful resource that can connect you with a dog and baby aware trainer near you.
Preparing for the day your baby arrives is a little different, though. It’s a good idea to consider what laboring with your fur baby around might be like. Here are three things to think about when considering your canine companion for the role of a doggy doula during labor and/or delivery:
1. Do I prefer my dog is occupied away from me when I’m focused and working hard on a project or exercise?
2. Does my dog have any habits that annoy me? (pawing, licking, nuzzling, barking, etc.)
3. Will my birth partner be distracted by my dog and likely unable to focus completely on me? (pup needs to potty, walk, eat dinner, etc.)
If you find that the answers to these questions are mostly “no”, then it may be an option to keep your dog nearby while you’re at home during labor. However, since each labor and birth experience is different, it’s important to consider that even the most well-mannered furry friends can respond unpredictably in these unique situations. Check out Welcome Baby KC’s March guest blog by Smartypaws LLC’s Debra Murray, Kansas City area dog trainer specializing in dog/baby and child dynamics, for insight on preparing your pup for your labor at home.
Whether your dog is going to stay by your side or will be cared for by someone else, you’ll want to prepare a dog labor day plan. Ask yourself:
* Who can I depend on to care for my dog for 3-5 days?
• If my dog needs to stay somewhere other than my home, where will he or she go? How will my dog get there?
• How will my dog handle being away from me? (Does she need special treats, long walks, extra tlc?)
Creating birth preferences for yourself and a care plan for your pet will help you enjoy your birth and postpartum. Everyone will be happy and cared for on the day you meet your new baby.... even your fur baby!