Women who are planning on a hospital delivery should be prepared for the big day. Packing ahead of time and getting things ready can make things less stressful. Consider these lists:
PREPARING FOR THE BIG DAY
- Pre-register and take the tour of the hospital.
- Get your final directions for when to call and when to go to the hospital.
- Have list of numbers of who to call with the big news.
- Ask hospital staff about policies on visitors, what to pack, and what isn’t necessary to bring.
- Also ask about what items are provided for you and baby so you don’t pack anything unnecessary.
- Discuss your birth plan with both your midwife and your partner. Make several final copies when your birth plan is finalized.
- Talk about measures that you think may help comfort you during labor and those which you think would annoy you.
- Realize your choices may change when the big moment arrives.
- Be prepared but flexible, and explain the same to your partner.
- Practice breathing, relaxing, and birthing techniques daily so they become easy and natural.
- Be familiar with your baby’s busy times of the day- Knowing the regular patterns and movements of your little one day to day will help clue you in more quickly to the start of labor or any possible problems during pregnancy.
- Have plenty of distractions available in case of prolonged labor or an overdue baby as babies don’t often want to make an expected entrance. Play games, go to movies, visit with friends, or go to lunch.
- While you’re at it, get those birth announcements, thank you cards and your baby memory book in order and ready to go!
PREPARING YOUR HOME:
- Get the nursery all set. Pre-wash all baby clothes and put away, crib up and sheets on.
- Cook extra meals and freeze for later use as you will most likely be too tired and busy to cook or prepare any meals for yourself or your family.
- On a related note, have local restaurant delivery menus collected and in a folder. You may want to have your favorite meal delivered to the hospital.
- If you have other small children, have a list written up for whoever will be babysitting explaining schedules, providing important numbers and any special instructions. Have back-up sitters in case your original plan falls through.
- Make sure the car always has plenty of gas and is ready for a last minute trip to hospital.
- Organize and clean up any areas you know you need to before baby arrives-feel free to delegate these things. Family and friends love to be able to help out.
- Take care of the big baby proofing stuff around the house ahead of time. You can do the more detailed baby proofing later when your little one is closer to crawling and getting around.
- Begin doing Kegel exercises everyday now. It will help prepare your body for labor and postpartum.
- Do very simple stretches, walking, yoga, and meditation. Maintain the exercise routine you had prior to becoming pregnant. Be sure to discuss beginning a new exercise routine with your midwife first. Staying active will help keep your energy up.
- Get your hair trimmed, your nails done, and any other beauty routines that you might have to neglect for a bit. It will keep your spirits up if you don’t feel frumpy.
- Read up and educate yourself on the “what-ifs” such as c-sections, pre-eclampsia and basic labor and delivery so that you are more prepared. The more you know, the less frightening situations can be.
- Take a birthing class if you haven’t already, even if you are not a first-timer, a refresher course can be good. Think about placing big brother or sister into a sibling class. Daddy might enjoy a class too!
PACKING FOR THE HOSPITAL:
- Pack your hospital bag early! This includes items you need for after baby arrives, for those couple of days of your post-birth hospital stay.
- Pack your spouse’s bag: Snacks, camera, video camera, cell phone and chargers, and a change of clothes.
- Bring the baby book or memory book.
- Make and bring copies of your birth plan.
- Create a call list of those you want to immediately share your baby’s birth-day information with.
- Grab a camera or video camera to capture this beautiful moment in time.
- Toss in a clip or hair-tie for your hair, especially if it’s long.
- Bring diversions for relaxation. These include aromatherapy, books, deck of cards, iPod, laptop, magazines, music, oils or lotions for massages or body rubs, tennis balls, or anything you find will assist you and provide comfort throughout labor.
- Fold up a favorite blanket or pack pillows to make your stay more like home.
- Bring food and snacks for Dad (and for Mom after you birth).
- Pack health insurance cards and hospital pre-registration information.
PERSONAL ITEMS TO BRING:
Most hospitals will provide the basics such as soap, shampoo and conditioner, body soap, toothbrush/toothpaste, disposable underwear, sanitary pads, and gowns. If you prefer your own then plan on packing them.
You will need to bring your own:
- Comb/hair brush
- Other personal toiletries that you may use
- Breastfeeding pillow
- Comfortable clothes, pajamas and a change of clothes for dad in case he needs to shower
- Contacts and contact case, glasses
- Going home outfit-for mom. Make sure it’s something comfortable since many moms will still look about six months pregnant when going home from the hospital.
- Mints/ breath strips
- Nursing bra
- Pajamas/sleepwear for yourself if you prefer not to wear the hospital gown provided after you give birth
- Sibling gift…from the baby of course!
- Slippers or footies
- Bunting or blankets for baby in case it’s cold outside when you are discharged home
- Going home outfit- booties/socks/ hat/outfit/onesie.
- Hand mittens to protect baby’s face-infants often are born with very long nails. Mittens protect them from accidental scratching on their face
- Infant car seat
Preparing for your baby’s arrival is a big deal. If you are planning a hospital delivery, we can help you find out what to expect. Contact us or use our chat to get your prenatal care started.