Most patients in my ward are a little nervous coming into the hospital to deliver, no matter how many babies they’ve had before. It doesn’t matter how fast your first baby came, because each pregnancy is different and each delivery is different. Because of this, I usually get the same questions every day.
Don’t wait until you’re in the hospital to find out what you could have done before you came to the hospital to have your baby – read and share these tips with other pregnant moms… you’ll find your stay in the hospital more enjoyable, trust me.
Take a Shower Before You Go To The Hospital
Always take time to shower prior to coming to the hospital. Nothing is better than your own shower, especially since hospitals do not always have great water pressure or hot water. Not only that – a shower can help ease some of those labor pains!
This step isn’t for the benefit of the healthcare professionals who will care for you, but for your own feeling of well-being.
After all, if you plan on getting an epidural, you may be in bed for at least 2 hours to have the baby. If you have the baby without pain medication, you will still need to wait a couple of hours after delivery before you can shower. Many facilities have policies about getting up and showering after delivery; sometimes even recommending waiting until the next day, depending on the blood loss of the patient.
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You’re probably going to want to shower after having a baby more than any other time in your life so make it easier on yourself, and shower before coming to the hospital.
Eat Something Before You Go To Labor and Delivery
When you come to the hospital and we declare that you are indeed in labor, be prepared to hear that you can’t eat until after you have the baby – no matter how hungry you are. Although recent research suggests that eating during labor is fine for women who aren’t in high-risk categories, most hospitals maintain the current policy of forbidding food.
Before you come to the hospital, ask about the L&D policy on eating, and if the hospital won’t allow you to eat once you arrive, be sure to eat something first. Don’t choose greasy or unhealthy foods, but instead eat something that will give you a little bit of energy. I recommend food with protein.
In my profession, I hear from many women about how hungry they are during labor. You do not want hunger pains along with contractions. Your nurse will let you eat after the baby arrives, but we don’t know how long that will be. Depending again on your postpartum bleeding, we will make you wait to eat until you are stable and that length of time may vary.
Educate Yourself About Your Potential Procedures During Childbirth
By reading this article you are already educating yourself about what healthcare professionals want you to know before coming to see us, but it does not start and end there.
- If you know that you’re getting induced, read about pitocin inductions, cervidil, cytotec, or cervical ripening balloon inductions before your delivery day. Use credible sources and stay away from public forums where you will often hear only the worst experiences – feel free to ask us here, in our Ask the Expert section, if you have questions about any procedure your doctor has suggested for you. If the doctor intends to induce you, bring a good book, because you will not have the baby immediately.
- Try taking a childbirth class to enlighten yourself. I’m not saying you have to do everything natural, but it will tell you and educate you on how the labor process works. Knowing how the cervix dilates and how the baby moves in your pelvis will help you understand the process a little more.
- Take a hospital tour before you deliver. It may relieve some anxiety if you know more about the facility in which you were going to deliver and spend the next few days. You will get to know the layout of the labor and delivery floor; making you feel a little more at home.
Remember That Your Birth Plan Isn’t Set In Stone
I am the type of nurse who loves to help patients through natural childbirth. I did not like this part of my job as much until I went through it myself with my second child. Now, I personally know how to coach the mother a little better, so, I support natural childbirth– within reason. Just remember that making a plan for a birth is just a plan, not a definitive description of what will happen. You do not know what situations will arise until you’re actually in labor, so try to remain open-minded for unexpected developments.
Some patients who want to have a natural childbirth make a birth plan that does not include a cesarean section, episiotomy,or other procedures; the deliveries are usually much harder for the mother if she tries to rigidly adhere to the birthplan. Feel free to plan your perfect birth – it’s part of the fun of being pregnant – but understand that you also need to have a Plan B, and be ready to make changes if necessary.
Know Who Is Going to See the Birth
Before coming to labor and delivery, choose who you want to be in your delivery room. Although this is typically part of a mom’s birth plan, I’m emphasizing it here because – even if you don’t have anything else figured out when you come in, you should know the answer to this question: Who do you want in the room with you when you start to push?
We nurses do not mind being the “labor and delivery police” and kicking people out of the room when you’re ready to deliver; you don’t want to have to be worrying about who’s coming in and out while you’re pushing. Establish what your preference is with your husband, significant other, or support person; even if that means you only want that one person in the room with you and your nurse, midwife, or doctor. This is a private time and visitors need to respect that.
Your Life-Changing Moment
These tips will help you feel more at ease through your labor. This is a life changing moment; make it as much of a positive experience as possible. Remember to rely on reliable medical sources, enjoy this special time, and communicate any concerns to the experienced labor nurses and other medical professionals and caregivers whose priority is you and your baby.© Copyright 2014 Janine Kelbach: Labor and Delivery, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Pregnancy