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In the months before the birth of her first baby, Dani Rasmussen kept a detailed checklist that later became the book 40 Weeks +: The Essential Pregnancy Organizer. "I started putting together my own checklist of things I needed to do to get ready, and by the end of my pregnancy, I had a big notebook full and I decided I wanted to share it with everybody else," she says.

Dani shares tips about the essential things she says many new parents forget to do before the baby is born:

  • Get a life insurance policy. If something happens to you, your child needs to be taken care of financially.
  • Make a will and list guardianship for your child in the event of your death.
  • Stock your pantry. The grocery store may be the last place you want to go with a newborn.
  • Take your pet to the veterinarian. Making sure your pet is healthy and caught up on shots and treatments will reduce pet emergencies after the baby is born.
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