After that initial excitement of realising you are going to have a baby, it can be overwhelming to consider everything you need to do, to prepare for your new arrival.

Epworth Maternity Midwife and Childbirth Educator, Frances Laing recently shared some of the top tips for preparing for a hospital birth, with Purebaby’s Pure Parenthood Podcast.

“As a midwife, I’m often asked for the top things you should be thinking about after you’ve found out you’re pregnant. So, I’ve put together a checklist for you.”

Your journey

  • Your pregnancy, birth and baby will be unique as will your ideas of how you would like to approach labour and birth. Have a think about what’s important to you and make a list
  • There are no stupid questions. Keep a note for your next doctor’s appointment or to ask your midwife. You can research online, but just make sure that you’re gathering your information from a trusted source. It’s all about making sure you’re fully informed about your options
  • Once you know what’s important to you, start the conversation early on with your health care provider. That way, if you find out that your priorities aren’t compatible, you have time to find a new carer who’s better aligned with your personal needs
  • Make sure you give a copy of your preferences and birth plan to your doctor or midwife and pack a couple of extra copies into your hospital bag. That way one can go on your file and you can have on in the room with you - if anyone needs to refer to it

Sometimes a few things from home can make it feel more comfortable and familiar

  • If you have a favourite pillow or blanket, feel free to bring it with you
  • Comfortable clothes to labour in. Make sure they’re easy to take off
  • Have a think about breastfeeding clothes, if you plan to breastfeed. Anything that has buttons or clips for easy access. You’ll be doing it a bit!
  • A favourite music playlist on your device that you find comforting and soothing
  • If you like essential oils, you could use them as a massage relief or in an electric diffuser
  • Snacks! You might be in labour for a while, so think about some snacks for your labour bag for you and your support person to nibble on for energy. Muesli bars are good
  • A camera or your phone and don’t forget your charger

If you know you’re having a Caesarean section (C-section)

Having a Caesarean section (C-section) birth means there are a few other things to consider and it can be helpful to think about some of the options before the big day. Frances says it’s best to have open conversations with your care team, so you have a solid understanding of how it will unfold.

You might like to ask, does your doctor and the hospital support or help you in:

  • Maternally assisted caesarean section, where the drapes are lowered for you to lift up your baby to your chest. This is all pre-planned so you have the conversation early if you are interested in it
  • Is your partner or support person able to come into theatre?
  • What happens if I have an emergency C-section and require a general anaesthetic?
  • Is that first skin to skin contact in theatre of will it have to wait until the recovery room?
  • Is the first breastfeed in the recovery room?
  • Can we take photos or videos in theatre?
  • Can I wear nail polish and make up during the procedure?

Having a baby is an exciting time and starting to prepare yourself for hospital can help it feel less overwhelming. Epworth Maternity is here to help you every step of the way, on your own personal journey to parenthood you can also join our Epworth Maternity Facebook group.

Author Epworth

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