Find a coach for labor and delivery who will be there throughout your labor and delivery. Consider if you need a back-up.
Know who to call when labor starts - The hospital? The clinic? Your provider? Keep the phone numbers with you at all times.
Plan your route to the hospital with your coach. Who are available “back-up” drivers? Have their phone numbers available.
A checklist for you and your baby - what you should bring to the hospital
The main things you will need to bring along to the hospital are:
- Insurance information
- Two good supportive bras (nursing bras if you’ll be breastfeeding)
- Comb or brush
Most hospitals supply you with gowns, toothpaste, etc., but you may prefer to bring your own. Here’s a list of optional items that you might consider packing:
- Your own gowns (opening in front if you plan to breastfeed)
- Books or magazines
- Stationery and stamps
- Clothing to wear when you go home. Something made of stretchy material such as a sweatsuit will probably be most comfortable
While you may not choose to bring your baby’s things to the hospital when you’re admitted, it is still wise to plan ahead for baby’s needs. A few items should be packed so that someone can bring them to the hospital before your baby is discharged:
- A car seat. Be sure that you have purchased, rented, or borrowed a car seat that is appropriate for a newborn. Your baby should never be transported without one. Some hospitals offer car seats for purchase or rental.
- An outfit that your baby will wear home. This will depend on the weather, of course, but be sure to pack a shirt or sleeper, a cap, diapers, and receiving blanket(s).
- A bag with enough diapers, formula or water, and disposable wipes to get you home.
Talk to your health care provider
It is important that you discuss your questions and concerns about delivery with your provider before you enter the hospital. If you have a preference about the type of delivery setting, let your practitioner know. Many hospitals now offer birthing rooms or labor/delivery/recovery rooms (LDRs) as alternatives to the traditional delivery room.
If you have attended “natural” childbirth classes or have strong feelings about medication use during labor and delivery, discuss it with your provider.
It is also important for you to remember that deliveries are not always smooth and predictable. You may need certain types of medication or monitoring to ensure the safety of you and your baby. Your provider and hospital will try to accommodate your wishes as much as possible, based on your needs, the needs of your baby, and other patients.