How to be Prepared For Labor and Delivery

Katie Moore

The last few weeks can seem like the longest part of pregnancy. Like with any new experience, the mother is probably feeling a little bit of apprehension and a great deal of excitement. This article will provide some tips to help make the delivery experiences easy and enjoyable as possible.

The most essential part of getting ready for childbirth is to plan ahead. An expectant mother generally begins planning for her delivery day four to six weeks ahead of her due date. Once labor begins, a mother’s mind will be focused solely on what’s going on with her body at that moment.

Therefore, packing a hospital over-night bag ahead of time is extremely important. When packing the hospital bag, a mother should make sure to include an outfit for taking baby home, comfortable clothes or nightgowns for herself, a birth plan if she has one, and things to help her relax during labor, such as her favorite music. A printable checklist of what to pack for the hospital can be a great place to start.

A birth plan can be a useful tool to help meet the mother's wishes for labor and delivery. In a birth plan, the expectant mother should include whether she would like a natural birth or an epidural to be given, along with any other special requests she may have like music playing. It is important to remember that a birth plan is a flexible plan since many unexpected things can occur during the birthing process that require deviations from your original plan.

Newborns require their first feeding shortly after birth. If an expectant mother would like to try breastfeeding, this should be discussed with the nurses ahead of time. If bottle feeding is the preferred method, some hospitals will ask if there is a preference of formula brand. A mother’s preference for the baby’s first feeding should also be included in the birth plan.

Another thing a mom-to-be should think about prior to birth is finding a pediatrician, as he/she might like to check the baby at the hospital. Health insurance companies like to be notified within the first 24 to 48 hours of the child's birth as well, in order to ensure proper coverage is in place. In addition, if the mother is interested in saving her baby’s cord blood, the doctors need to be notified prior to the birth. Cord blood banking is a process where the umbilical cord blood is collected and stored for potential use in medical treatments.

An important last point to note is that hospitals will not let a newborn go home unless there is an infant car seat ready, and properly installed, for the baby. The infant seat should be rear-facing and placed in the back seat of the car. Tips for the correct use of an infant seat can be found at many government websites or your local police station can help you properly install them.

While the last month of pregnancy may seem the longest, it can also be the busiest. By making the final preparations for the baby's arrival, not only can the mother pass the time while she waits, but she can also help ensure a better labor and delivery experience.

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