According to Very Well Family, mothers, especially first-time mothers, should ask their doctor about the different stages of labor and when it is time to head to the hospital in order to be admitted.
There are three stages of labor; early labor is the longest and ends when the dilation stage has hit three centimeters. Active labor is when most women wind up going to the hospital and getting admitted since they’re usually dilated up to seven centimeters while the final stage, known as transition, ends when the woman’s body is fully dilated at 10 centimeters.
The doctor will most likely advise moms to head over when she’s dilated about four to seven centimeters, or if her water breaks at any point.
19. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REAL CONTRACTIONS AND BRAXTON-HICKS
Very Well Family adds that moms also need to ask how they can tell the difference between true labor contractions and false labor contractions (known as Braxton-Hicks) so that they waste time fretting for nothing and potentially going to the hospital before it is actually time for the little one to be born.
One way moms can tell the difference between the two is that Braxton-Hicks contractions are irregular and tend to stop whenever a mother walks or stands up.
In comparison, true contractions increase in frequency and strength over a period of time plus they start in the lower back before moving up towards the front part of the abdomen.
18. IF THEY WILL TAKE YOUR BIRTH PLAN INTO CONSIDERATION
Crafting a birth plan is all the rage amongst mothers-to-be because it allows them to clearly lay out their wishes for the big day in black and white and gives them a small sense of control in what is usually an unpredictable process.
Romper notes that it is a very good idea to see if the doctor and the hospital will be accommodating of a woman’s birth plan before she goes into labor. Some places are pretty lenient when it comes to honoring mom’s wishes, but others are more strict when it comes to birthing plans and accommodations, which is why you need to get an idea of which side they fall on so you don’t wind up wasting your time.
17. THE DOCTOR’S THOUGHTS ON MEDS FOR PAIN MANAGEMENT
According to Better Health, moms-to-be need to pick their ob-gyn’s brain about what their options for pain management will be when it’s time to deliver the baby—even if they really, really want to do things “the natural way” and tough it out.
Some doctors prefer giving moms an epidural while others are fond of using nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”). With the former, it allows moms to stay awake during the birth but can cause bouts of nausea. In comparison with the latter option, the laughing gas might not take the pain of contractions entirely away but it allows moms to have a bit more control of the process.
16. IF TEARING DURING CHILDBIRTH CAN BE PREVENTED
Many moms-to-be have heard some pretty hair-raising stories about how their relatives or their BFFs experienced the lower half of their body tearing while giving birth and want to know from their doctor if this event can be avoided.
The Mayo Clinic writes that most doctors tell their patients that there isn’t a 100 percent guarantee that tearing can be prevented, but you can take precautions by pushing slowly and gently in the second stage of labor as well as making sure baby’s delivered in an upright, non-flat position.
You can even try putting a warm washcloth underneath, as keeping the skin warm might prevent tearing from taking place.
15. WHETHER OR NOT YOU CAN BRING CERTAIN BIRTHING TOOLS WITH YOU
It’s also a good idea to double-check with your ob-gyn to see if they will allow their patients to bring their own homemade birth tools into the labor and delivery wing of the hospital or if you will be forced to leave them at home.
Very Well Family notes that some women have found “birthing balls” to be very helpful to relieve pressure in the lower half of their body while others have found that bringing a rice sock that moms can heat up to be very effective in soothing sore muscles in the back, arms or legs. It can also help to warm mothers up during the postpartum chills stage too.
14. THE HOSPITAL’S POLICY ON WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DELIVERY
Forewarned is forearmed as they say, which is why it is a good idea to find out what the hospital’s policy is on what happens after mom has safely welcomed her little one into the world.
According to Savvy Sassy Moms, some hospitals allow mothers to stay in the same room that they have given birth in while others have a policy that new mothers need to be transferred to a postpartum room where they and their infant will stay until it is time to go home. It’s also a good idea to get a ballpark estimate of when the hospital will allow mother and baby to leave before you get admitted.
13. WHO WILL BE DELIVERING THE BABY
Having a familiar face during the often nerve-wracking process of giving birth can soothe some women’s frazzled nerves during labor, but there is no guarantee that moms-to-be will get the chance to pick who delivers their infant.
Romper writes that this is why it’s important to discuss with the doctor what the policy of the hospital or the birthing center they have chosen is in regards to the ob-gyn on call. In some places, there’s one ob-gyn that’s on call and delivers all of the infants on their shift, but in some other hospitals and birthing centers, moms-to-be are given the option to choose who they want to attend them.
12. THE C-SECTION RATE FOR THE HOSPITAL
Like every other medical procedure on the planet, each hospital will have a different approach to whether or not a mom-to-be needs a C-section and if you ask 10 head honchos of 10 hospitals, they’d probably give you 10 different answers.
According to Romper, some hospitals are more reluctant to perform C-sections on expectant mothers because the national rate is pretty high when compared to other places all around the globe and they are trying to minimize that number. It’s best to be on the safe side and figure out if the hospital you chose is more lax about the procedure or if they’re one of the ones trying to lessen the rate.
11. THEIR POLICY ON INDUCTION
Romper notes that all moms-to-be should discuss the topic of inducing labor at their last visit so that they can be prepared just in case their labor goes a bit haywire and there is the chance that the doctor has to kick-start it in order to get the ball rolling.
Each doctor is going to have a different point of view about inducing labor. Some would vastly prefer to not induce unless it is absolutely 100 percent necessary for the mom’s health and to get the little one out ASAP. Other doctors have a bit more of a lax view on the induction method and don’t mind asking moms-to-be if they want to go that route a lot quicker than their fellows.
Moms should pack:
10. YOUR BIRTH PLAN AND OTHER DOCUMENTS
What To Expect notes that it’s a good idea to bring extra copies of the birth plan crafted by the expectant mother. Sure, the doctor or the midwife will have a copy on hand before mom arrives, but it is best to bring some back-up so that way, every member of the staff can have one.
In order to make sure that each member of the staff actually reads the birth plan, moms-to-be can pack them in a little goodie bag filled with things like candy. Just be aware that each hospital has different policies and there might be some aspects of the birth plan that they can’t implement due to the rules and regulations.
9. CELL PHONE CHARGER
What To Expect writes that one necessary item that needs to be in every mom-to-be’s hospital bag is a cell phone charger so that their device doesn’t keel over right before the little bundle of joy is due to enter the world and their friends and family have to wait a long time to find out what the heck is going on.
However, be warned that some hospitals don’t allow moms-to-be to bring a cellphone into the delivery room so you should also pack a list of important people’s home phone numbers and cell phone numbers so that one friend or relative can step out of the room and keep everyone updated.
8. PLENTY OF LIP BALM
Let’s face it: When moms-to-be are going into labor, the last thing they want to think about is putting any kind of makeup on their face because they know with all of the pushing, heaving, and screeching, it would melt right off in about five minutes flat.
What To Expect notes that expectant mothers shouldn’t go overboard with makeup, but they should remember to pack some lip balm in their hospital bag because they’ll be in labor for a long time and there is a good chance that their lips will become dry, especially if they don’t eat and drink as much as they normally would.
7. SCRUNCHIE TO HOLD YOUR HAIR UP
In most television shows and movies, mothers-to-be that realize they are going into labor always seem to have perfectly coiffed hair. Even after what appears to be hours of pushing, their makeup is perfect and they don’t have a hair out of place.
What To Expect writes that in real life, labor and delivery is vastly different because most mothers with long-ish hair find that it gets into their eyes and sticks to their cheeks because of all the sweat, which is why a hair tie or a scrunchie is essential in any hospital bag so that dad-to-be can put his significant other’s hair back during this time.
6. TONS OF CHANGE FOR THE VENDING MACHINES
According to Pampers, while some moms-to-be might pack some yummy snacks for both their partner and themselves to enjoy during the long process of labor and delivery, there is a good chance that at some point they will run out.
That is why moms should plan ahead and make sure that they pack plenty of extra change so that their significant other or a relative can run to the vending machine and stock up on snacks once the supply that they brought from home runs out. Even if you think that you packed enough food to feed a horde, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
5. TRAVEL-SIZED TOILETRIES
Most hospitals provide basic toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, and soap for moms to use in order to wash up after they have successfully given birth to their new little bundle of joy. But really, who wants to use such boring, basic toiletries after laboring long and hard to bring your new son or daughter into the world?
The Bump adds that packing your favorite shampoo and conditioner, some face wash, a stick of deodorant, a toothbrush and toothpaste. For mothers that prefer to wear contact lenses instead of glasses, it is important to bring an extra contact lens case and contact solution.
4. TWO PAIRS OF MATERNITY BRAS
Regardless of whether or not mom plans on breastfeeding or formula feeding their baby with a bottle, The Bump writes that it is a good idea to bring at least two pairs of maternity bras and nursing pads because once the newborn has made his or her appearance into the world, nature will take its course and there is a good chance that moms will notice that they have to deal with the annoyance of leaks.
Plus, after going through such a rigorous process, mom’s body is going to be very sore and tired, so having a bit of extra support can help ease all of the aches and pains.
3. A FLUFFY, WARM ROBE
If moms-to-be have an extra fluffy robe or sweater that they really don’t wear around the house or the apartment anymore, it is best to throw it into the hospital bag and sacrifice it to a good cause.
The Bump points out that many mothers experience postpartum chills after giving birth to their new son or daughter. This is a perfectly natural phenomenon, but it can be irritating to deal with and that is where the fluffy robe or sweater will come in handy—it can help regulate your body temperature as your body slowly returns to normal after giving birth.
2. MASSAGE STICK
There are some mothers that don’t want anyone to touch them when they are in the throes of labor, but there are others that find getting a relaxing back massage or a neck massage can help ease the pain of contractions and make the entire process just a wee bit easier.
What To Expect writes that packing an inexpensive massage stick in the hospital bag and asking your significant other to use it when the muscle pain spikes can help soothe all of the aches—at least for the time being. If you don’t have the time to purchase a massage stick, you can pack a tennis ball and get the exact same effect.
1. A CUTE BABY OUTFIT FOR YOUR LITTLE ONE
Trying to figure out what the heck to pack in the hospital bag for the newborn can be a bit confusing, especially since there is no guarantee of what baby’s exact size will be when they make their grand entrance into the world.
What To Expect notes that it is best to pack several easy-to-put on outfits in different sizes so that way you have a back-up in case one doesn’t fit and as a safeguard, just in case your little one decides to completely fill their diaper with the contents of their stomach. Items to bring include undershirts, a sweater or a light fleece jacket if it’s wintertime, a cozy little hat, and some socks to keep their feet toasty warm.