Preparing for Labor

3 Ways to Prepare for (Easy) Labor

It’s getting closer. The 40-week mark is almost here and it’s time to start preparing for labor and delivery and…finally meet your newborn!

Preparing for labor and a comfortable delivery is as easy as preparing the 3 P’s.

 

  1. The Plan

When preparing for labor, talk to your physician weeks beforehand, discussing your preferences for an ideal labor and delivery.

This is technically known as your birth plan.

He or she will likely take notes, but it’s also smart to make sure your birth partner is familiar with your plan.

Your doctor will guide you through the main decisions.

Some of these decisions include: whether or not you plan to use an epidural for pain management during a vaginal delivery, or if you are opting for a planned c-section delivery.

Smaller decisions include who you plan to have in the room, during (or before and after) delivery. Another decision some will make when preparing for labor is who (if anyone) will cut your newborn’s umbilical cord, with the assistance of a doctor or nurse.

Of course, we all know that life rarely goes according to plan.

One of life’s biggest moments – the birth of your child – is no exception. Getting ready for labor is bound to have unforeseen twists. Such is life.

However, your confidence and comfort will be greater if you have a plan in place.

 

      2. Packing

You have now successfully started putting together a ‘birth plan’. But, we always say, “Plan for the best and pack for the worst.” Getting ready for labor is no exception.

Most hospitals will keep you for two nights with a vaginal delivery (beginning from when you check into the hospital, not when you deliver) and up to four nights with a c-section delivery.

To extensively prepare for labor and cover both potential scenarios, here is an exhaustive list of items to consider packing for your hospital stay (also listed as an image towards the end of the article):

For You
  • Paperwork Essentials: A picture ID (driver’s license), your insurance card, and any hospital paperwork you were asked to bring.
  • Technology: preparing for labor couldn’t be complete without your phone (with a few new playlists for the occasion?). Accompanied by its charger, portable speakers, and/or tablet (for entertainment). Who says you can’t rock out in the hospital?
  • Toiletries: toothbrush and toothpaste, your favorite lip balm and/or lotion, deodorant, brush, several hairbands (they always disappear), makeup essentials, and shower flip-flops.
  • Eyewear: glasses and contacts ( if you wear them). You will want the option to switch from contacts the glasses and vice versa. (+ saline and case).
  • Comfies: a bathrobe and nightgown or sweats and big comfortable tops for layering, warm socks and/or slippers. If you expect visitors or plan to take advantage of the onsite photographer many hospitals now provide, you might want to choose items that are solid colored and simple (but still comfortable) as an easy way to look “polished” in any of these pictures.
  • Undies: Most hospitals provide these terribly ugly and wonderfully comfortable disposable, mesh underwear, but you might want to pack a few pair of your own granny panties. More importantly, bring a few comfortable nursing bras or supportive (non-wire) bras.
  • Pillow: Hospital pillows are not hotel quality. Prepare for labor by bringing your own in a colorful pillow case (so it’s clearly distinguishable from the hospital pillows).
  • Other Clothing: Preparing for labor also means planning a ‘going home outfit’. You likely won’t be photographed like Princess Kate; opt for comfortable, loose fitting items and flat shoes.
  • Other: a book, notepad or journal, gifts for older siblings when they visit (“from” the new baby, of course). 

 

For Baby
  • Car Seat: Make sure it’s properly installed before you go into labor (like, a few weeks before).

 

  • Clothing: Most hospitals provide long-sleeved onesies and swaddling blankets. You will want to bring a going-home outfit that is one-piece, stretchy, and easy to put on and take off (for the first of many diaper changes).

You will also want to make sure you have something for his or her feet and head; also a coat, depending on the season and circumstance.

  • Blankets: You will want one or two blankets to keep your baby cozy in the car seat when you leave. (No matter how much preparing for labor you and your partner do, nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming amount of love you will feel). You may also want to bring a new or heirloom blanket to use in photographs.
  • Diapers, Wipes, Bottles, etc: The hospital will provide all of these, but you will want to make sure to have everything on-hand for when you return home.

 

  1. Posse.

Trust us. Think this through beforehand. Who do you want as a part of your delivery posse?

Who do you want to be at the hospital during the time of the delivery?

When you and your partner are preparing for labor, if you decide – well in advance – that your mother-in-law doesn’t make the VIP list, you are more likely to be on the same page. Being on the same page means going into labor with less stress and concern. Both of which are good to eliminate when preparing for childbirth.

Also, consider who you would like to come visit your newborn after the delivery. Offer a casual invitation to these people before you go into labor so they know they are welcomed.

If you don’t offer these invitations two outcomes are likely.

First, the people you really wanted to see (like your BFF or your awesome sister-in-law) will stay away out of respect.

Second, that chatty “friend” from the office will show up unannounced for a nice long visit, as you’re first learning to breastfeed.

Also, put together a list of phone numbers for your partner, so he or she can easily send texts announcing the birth and/or sending a few pictures across.

Discuss with your partner how you want to handle social media announcements, in order to avoid any less-than-becoming pics (in which you’re barely clothed, sweaty, and exhausted) circulating on Facebook.

 

These three P’s will help you prepare for an easy, comfortable, and healthy birth. Preparing for labor doesn’t have to sneak up on you. After all, you have over six months to do so. 

Hopefully, this list provides insight on how to prepare for labor. If you have any further questions, don’t be shy – just ask!

 

The post Preparing for Labor: Do You Know the 3 P’s? appeared first on Breast Pump Blog | Breastfeeding Blog.