Index: Conception, Middle Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery, and Early Infancy
Join a prayer circle or prayer group at a local congregation, or ask friends and family to pray for your successful conception.
Many people decide, when trying to conceive or newly pregnant, to join a congregation if they haven't done so earlier. This not only gives a community of support throughout your pregnancy but will also give your growing family a spiritual home for later rituals, such as baptism. Consider looking into Christian childbirth classes or finding a Christian health professional or doula to be a part of your delivery. The Association of Christian Childbirth Professionals, Christian Nurse-Midwives Association, and Christian Midwives International all have websites and may be able to provide a referral in your area. Study scripture or pick up a Christian baby-name book to choose a biblical name for your child. There are a number of devotional books specifically for expectant mothers or couples. Try "God's Blessings for Your Baby: A Prayer and Scripture Journal for the Mother-to-Be" by Kara Quinn Smith. Or pick up a copy of "Expectant Moments: Devotions for Expectant Couples" by Gene and Lisa Fant. Chapter headings include "Touchstone Moments," "Boy or Girl?" and "But Lord, I Can't See My Feet!" Check your local bookstore or online distributor for more titles.
Many churches have deacons, women's groups, or Stephen ministries willing to care for older children while you give birth or provide a meal so you don't have to cook when you get home from the hospital. Find out about resources at your church and keep phone numbers close at hand so you can call when you go into labor. Several Protestant denominations, including the Lutherans and Presbyterians, have specific prayers for childbirth. Contact your pastor for resources in your tradition. Baptists and some other Protestant traditions practice believer baptism--children are not baptized until they are old enough to understand and assent to the sacrament. Many of these churches, however, have a dedication ceremony to welcome infants into the faith community. In it, parents and the congregation pray for the baby and vow to teach the child the Christian faith. Other Protestant denominations, pointing to the model of whole families who were baptized into the early church, welcome infants with the sacrament of baptism, or christening. Denominations that practice infant baptisms include Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Lutherans. You may need to meet with your pastor or take a class before your child is baptized--contact your church to find out more.