Ways to Prepare for Labor and Delivery
Since this is my fourth go around with labor and delivery I feel like I have a little bit to share with you and some great reminders for myself! I promise to share some labor and delivery stories as soon as I can find all the pictures I want to use.
Education– DO NOT take anyone else’s word for it! Read up on what the natural progression of labor and delivery should be like. I highly recommend ANY of the Dr. Sear’s books (i.e The Pregnancy Book and The Birth Book). They are very helpful and encouraging without being dramatic and alarmist like the “Expecting” book. I started to read that one and immediately took it straight back to the library. So much contradictory advice and scare tactic writing it was ridiculous!
Consider attending birth classes. See what your doctors/midwives office offers compared to the hospital or other birth education options in your area. Prices and topics covered could vary greatly so you may want to research to see what is being taught and from what point of view. (We only attended classes during our first pregnancy since Princess was born 17 1/2 months later we felt pretty confident. No classes with Lil’ Red either just read Dr. Sear’s Pregnancy Book and The Birth Book as a refresher!)
Pack Your Bag EARLY– nothing like being in labor 2 weeks BEFORE your due date and realizing that your have not packed! (speaking from experience here!) Be sure to include items for the new baby, spouse, and yourself. Be mindful of the weather. We had to “steal” an extra receiving blanket from the hospital in the end of July when the temperature barely made it past 65 and the week before were in the high 80’s almost 90’s!
Be sure you pack deodorant, face wash, toothpaste, tooth brushes, hairbrush, barrettes or hair ties, socks, underwear, snacks, change, cell phone charger, clothes to go home in (nothing fancy but comfortable). We always bring our own pillows so we can sleep a little better and the pillow cases are always brightly colored or with designs so no mistaking them for hospital ones.
Snacks– Have you thought of what snacks to take with you to the hospital? I was appalled to read other birth stories to find out that if you delivered and it wasn’t close to meal time you were out of luck! The hospital where we deliver has always offered us a cold sandwich meal box that included fruit, juice, and chips to help tie the mom over till meal time. What about food while you are in labor or for your support person? You do not want people to have to leave the hospital to get food and miss your delivery! Think about high protein and high fiber snacks as well as fruit leather, dried fruits, and nuts. I suggest bringing your favorite beverage, tea bags, or anything else for a specialty diet. We make sure to have some items that appeal to the new siblings as well so they do not get cranky while visiting.
Plan– read up about birth plans and make yours early! Be sure to have a copy on file at your OB’s, when you pre-register at the hospital, and an extra one packed in your bag! Make sure it is thorough and not total fluff. Leave a little room for YOU to change your mind but not for nurses or doctors to take liberties with how you imagined your birth experience to be.
Infant Carseat– Make sure your carseat is installed properly! You can locate a Child Passenger Safety Technician, Car Seat Check-Up Event or Car Seat Inspection Station to be sure it is done properly and safely. I would suggest this be done by 32 weeks pregnancy in case the baby does arrive early. Are you up to date on child restraint laws in your state? Check your state’s law and policy to be sure you are using the correct seat for all your children!
Visitors– Make sure you know your hospitals or birthing center’s visitor policy. Are their restrictions to number of visitor’s? Can children visit when they want? Can children watch the birth if parent’s desire? (Our hospital’s policy is an adult must be present with EACH child in case it becomes too intense and the child needs/wants to leave the room.) We got reprimanded with the number of visitor’s and the amount of noise after Lil’ Red was born when both sets of grandparent’s, aunt, uncle, and siblings were all visiting at once.
Sibling Care– Who will be responsible for your other children when you are at the hospital? When Princess was born Grandma stayed at our house with Eldest the first night. Then my sister stayed at the hospital with me the 2nd night so daddy could stay with Eldest the 2nd night. He was able to get a shower and good nights sleep plus pick up anything else we need before we were discharged from the hospital.
Now with three children going to be left at home we will probably have my sister and brother-in-law stay at our house so they can bring the children to the hospital in our van. We have all the carseats and boosters in both vehicles for the big kids but will still need to be sure we have the infant seat ready to ride home.
Pet Care– Do you have pets that need cared for in your absence? I had typed instructions for the dog and for what things Eldest could and could not do/eat/etc. These instructions were updated when Lil’ Red was born since the older two had school. I made sure to leave a class schedule and list of what days they had gym, art, and special dress days.
The Ride Home– How are you getting home? I CANNOT stress this enough to consider riding in a low vehicle like a car vs. a higher up vehicle like van or SUV! WHY? Well, I know what happens firsthand to your stitches when you try to get into a van! I didn’t think the doc’s would do anything since I was already discharged even though Eldest was in the NICU for 2 additional days! I should have asked or requested to go to the doctor’s sooner to see if a repair was needed. I didn’t know being a first time mom and dealing with what seemed an eternity spent at the hospital!
Post-Partum Care– With all the preparation and research for pregnancy and delivery, Post-partum care often gets overlooked! There are lots of little things to do that can make your transition to motherhood much easier. Meal planning and buying items ahead like toilet paper, diapers, wipes, detergent,etc. can be ways to save your energy and frustration later!
How have you prepared for labor and delivery? Have you set your mind on all natural birth, water birth, c-section, or epidural? WHY have you chosen that type of birth? Did you use a birth plan? Please share in the comments anything related to this post or topic. We love to hear from our readers!