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Preparing for Baby


Turn to our hospitals and Family Birth Centers for help planning ahead for your baby’s arrival.

Our caring providers, in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, assist you with the details, so you can be more fully present for your baby on the big day.

Preregister with the hospital

Expect a smoother, less stressful delivery process when you:

  • Begin by preregistering by calling or visiting your hospital. That way, your name, insurance details and pediatrician’s contact information are correct when you arrive, which:
    • Ensures that you’ll get checked in faster
    • Reduces the paperwork you need to fill out while in labor
  • Confirm which entrance you need to use if you go into labor in the middle of the night; some hospitals require you to enter through the emergency department after-hours
  • Know what to do when you arrive at the hospital for your delivery
  • Schedule a preadmission visit with the family birth center where you plan to deliver

Pick your pediatrician

Choose the pediatrician that’s right for you and your family in advance.

If you’re within a couple months of your due date, it’s time to start researching and make a decision. That way, when you arrive at the hospital for your delivery, you can give the staff your doctor’s name.

When selecting a physician:

  • Confirm that the pediatrician you choose is accepting new patients
  • Determine that your doctor is affiliated with the hospital where you’ll be having your baby; many physicians try to visit new babies under their care before they’re checked out of the hospital
  • Ensure that your doctor’s personality and approach are a good fit for your family
  • Find out whether your doctor is considered in-network with your insurance plan
  • Set up a consultation with your pediatrician to meet and ask any questions you might have; check sites like these for suggested questions or enroll in our Infant Care Basics class

Pack your bags

Prepare a bag for yourself and your new baby and ask your partner to pack a bag, too.

Baby’s bag

Pack a few basics for your baby:

  • Blanket
  • Diapers (the hospital will provide some diapers for when you get home, but they won’t last long, so buy diapers before you go to the hospital)
  • Going-home outfit for baby

Your bag

Pack what you’ll need such as comfortable clothes and accessories including:

  • Bathrobe
  • Nightgown
  • Nursing bra
  • Slippers
  • Soft shirts
  • Sweatpants
  • Warm socks
  • Cell phone charger
  • Music / sounds machine
  • Snacks (if you have special favorites that might not be available at the hospital)
  • Toiletries (don’t forget the lip balm)
  • Car seat
  • Pacifier
  • Glasses, if you wear them
  • Your birth plan, if you have one

Your partner’s bag

Ask your partner to pack their bag for an overnight stay.

With your bags packed and ready by the door, enjoy peace of mind knowing you can just grab them as you leave home.

Consider cord blood banking

Think about banking your baby’s cord blood. It’s is a rich source of stem cells, which are special cells with potential to be used in treating diseases your child might face in the future.

Learn more about cord blood banking.

Install your infant car seat

Install your baby’s car safety seat in advance. Make sure it’s mounted securely enough that it doesn’t move around easily. And whenever you’re using a car seat, stroller or baby carrier, always remember to buckle your child in properly.

Car seat installation help & safety checks

Team members at every Ballad Health birthing center are trained in proper car seat installation. Ask your nurse if you need help installing baby’s car seat before you go home. Niswonger Children’s Hospital also offers free car seat checkups by trained car seat technicians.

Learn about labor and delivery

To help make sure you’re prepared for your baby’s birth, consider taking classes offered by Ballad Health on birthing, breastfeeding and infant care.

Register for a childbirth class online or call 833-8-BALLAD.

Other resources

Alcoholics Anonymous Tennessee – (423) 938-0871
Alcoholics Anonymous Virginia – (540) 343-6857
Narcotics Anonymous – 866-360-4929
Respond (Crisis Line) – 800-366-1132
Tennessee Department of Children’s Services – (615) 741-9701
Tennessee Department of Health’s Division of Family Health and Wellness – (615) 741-7353
Virginia Department of Health’s Division of Child and Family Health – (804) 864-7222
Virginia Department of Social Services – (804) 726-7555