Attending a prenatal class will be very useful in helping you to understand what to expect during labour & delivery. In addition, many of the Resources listed in our DIRECTORY section will be useful as well.
Many women choose to use a doula- a woman who will advocate for you, attend to you & generally be there for you throughout your labour & delivery, thus reducing anxiety about whether or not your actual doctor will be there. Doulas also provide comfort as experienced women who can understand what you are going through during this time.
Many women choose to have it, many do not. It is a personal choice that should be discussed with your physician. What I can offer anecdotally is that although many women experience a slowdown in the progress of labour after the epidural, for others the epidural helps the labour to progress. I was such a case. I did not want the epidural but I allowed myself to be open to the idea. I was advised that some women have a tendency to tense up to deal with pain from contractions & that the epidural helps the labour along in such women. Your doctor may provide you with insight &/or opinions on this matter.
Cesarean Section (C-Section)
You may have a planned C-section or, you may go through hours of labour only to end up with an emergency C-section. Consult with your doctor about the risks involved as well as what to expect post-op. Remember that a C-section is surgery. You will need to take it easy afterwards. Enlist help for when you get home from the hospital. Find out from your doctor how soon after surgery you will be able to drive again. Plan accordingly.
What to bring to the hospital
- Something comfortable to wear post-delivery
- Many changes of underwear (you may bleed through pads)
- Maxi Pads (as large & as absorbent as you can find as you can expect a lot of blood loss post-delivery)
- A sitz bath & epsom salts, if these are not offered by your hospital
- A bra or two, (nursing bra(s) if you plan to nurse)
- Breast pads- regardless of if you will be nursing- you may be leaking!
- Something comfortable to wear home from the hospital
- Something to read
- Any visualization material you & your husband or birthing partner may have discussed
- Lip balm
- Popsicles or freezies that the hospital will allow you to store in their freezer
- Squishy balls to squeeze during labour, if this helps you.
- Snacks for your partner during labour
- A diary or notepad & pen so that you or your partner can make notes about the labour & delivery
- A stack of feeding charts or an App for this purpose
- Your medicare & hospital cards
- Your birthing plan, if you have one.
- A pillow & pillow case (you may chose to bring your body pillow)
- Charged camera & charging plug
- Charged videocamera & charging plug
- Cord blood packaging & information as discussed with your cord blood bank. Don’t forget the freezer packs & to store them in the freezer at the hospital.
- Diapers: size newborn, 1 package should suffice. If you need more someone will go out to buy for you
- Undershirts without bottoms as for the first few days onesies can be tight over the umbilical cord stump
- Sleepers: 2-3 per day you plan to stay. You may not use them all as you may choose to simply swaddle your baby in an undershirt, diaper & receiving blanket (the nurse will teach you how). Better to have them if you need them, though.
- Receiving blankets 2-3 for every day you plan to stay for swaddling
- Burping cloths (4-6 per day) or more receiving blankets (2 per day) for burping:
- Breast Pump & bottles
- Baby scratch-mittens
- Baby Hat (they give you what looks like an old sock at the hospital- bring a cute hat!)
- A cute going home sleeper
- An infant car seat (you can keep in the car until ready to leave)
- Ihle’s paste
- Alcohol-free, unscented wipes (if you plan to use)
- Loads of cotton balls if you are not using wipes
- Baby nail scissors or clippers
- Vitamin D drops
- A diaper bag to hold the basics
Are there any things on your list that you’d recommend adding? If so, please share in the comments section!