Part 1: Prepping and Pre-Labor
You’ve taken the classes, read the books, written and rewritten your birthing plan – you have this labor and delivery thing in the bag! Yet when it comes time to actually deliver, there are always a few unexpected surprises in store. I asked two-dozen mommy friends to share their birthing stories with me, and share what surprised or shocked them, or what they found extra helpful to know about the process.
Here are a few tips, facts, and ideas that you might not know going into your delivery
• You can preregister at the hospital and take care of all the intake paperwork ahead of time so that when you are actually admitted you won’t have to worry about it.
• Interview and select your child’s pediatrician ahead of time. A hospital pediatrician can discharge your child, but it’s nice to start building a bond with their regular pediatrician from the beginning.
• Also, if you are having a boy and plan to have him circumcised, ask your pediatrician if they do in-hospital circumcisions. Some will, some won’t, so it’s nice to know ahead of time.
• Many moms praise the benefits of placental encapsulation. From helping with postpartum depression to regulating energy and hormone levels, you’ll need to decide ahead of time whether it is something you want to do.
• To prep for nursing – roughen your nipples up by using a loofah every time you shower, and scrub them at increasing levels over time. Toughening them ahead of time can prevent rawness and scabbing when the baby nurses.
• Pregnancy Circles or support groups can help ease your mind and give you a place to share your thoughts, hopes and fears about delivery. You can look for a local group that meets in person, or an online group with moms all set to deliver about the same time.
• If you plan on using music, make several playlists. Music to “power through”, “get in the zone”, “stay calm and relaxed”, etc.
• No matter what birthing experience you hope to have, it never hurts to write out plans for several scenarios – natural, epidural, c-section. That said – most moms reported that their birthing plans ultimately were not used much during labor and delivery, but they DID play an important role in helping moms to visualize and feel more prepared for the process.
• Tour the birthing wing of the hospital you’ll deliver at. You can ask any questions you have and find out exactly what they have to offer – what types of birthing aids do they have? If baby is not doing well, but is not in extreme medical need, do you get to hold them first or are they whisked away? Do the babies “room in” with you or are they taken to a nursery (which is getting more and more rare)? Is there an age minimum for children visiting? Is there a limit on the number of people visiting at once?
• Doulas can be pricey, but seem to get a universal thumbs up from those who used one. From being able to be your voice when you are trying to focus on laboring, to knowing the ins and outs of hospital protocol and alternative methods that you might not be aware of, doulas can be a huge comfort and relief to have. If you anticipate using one, ask around and start the interviewing process several months before your due date.
• Know that you have a VOICE in your labor process. Nobody will make you do anything that you don’t want to. If something feels off, speak up immediately. Ask questions, ask for a second opinion. It is extremely important to share your feelings and thoughts on various scenarios ahead of time with whoever will be helping you labor – partner, sibling, friend, doula, etc. There may be times when you are not in a place to respond to inquiries or decisions about next-steps that need to be made, and knowing that you have someone who can speak on your behalf will be a huge relief.
Part Two coming soon….
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