So you’re nearing the end of your third trimester, and it’s time to start planning for labour & childbirth. Some important things to remember before the big day!
Have you pre-registered for the hospital? Your doctor’s office will have a registration package for you, which you can fill out at home and mail directly to the hospital. Many hospitals offer a tour of their maternity wards so it’s a good idea to book one for you and your partner to prepare you for your labour and what to expect during your stay. Book early; if you are having multiples you may be put on bedrest and be unable to attend a tour later in your pregnancy. Most hospitals recommend a tour when you are around 20 weeks pregnant.
Pack several weeks before your due date, in case you go into labour early. Throwing stuff into a suitcase at the last minute is not what you want to be doing when your water breaks! Have your bag in your room and put things in it as you think of them – this way you can be sure that you have everything.
It may be useful to divide what you will need at the hospital into two categories:
Labour / Delivery and Post-Partum and if you have two bags it makes it easier to find things. This is a near exhaustive list. Some hospitals provide many of these things, and your partner may not use the swim gear unless you plan to shower or bathe during labour.
camera and power cord
copies of Birth plan
favourite moisturizer and lip balm
flip-flops for both of you
hair bands or barrettes
medical records/insurance papers/Care card
padlock for locker
sign for parking at emergency whilst you get admitted
snacks and beverages for your coach
swimming trunks for partner
tennis balls in a sock
toiletries for you and your partner
baby diapers / wipes
baby names book
comfortable clothes – maternity size!
infant car seats that have been installed correctly*
infant wear – hats, sleepers etc.
nursing bras/nursing pads
overnight pads – industrial strength!
pens for filling out forms
telephone numbers and calling card
‘Tucks’ medicated pads (2 thumbs up!)
fun stuff to read
* BCAA, your local fire or police station will be able to ensure that your car seat has been installed correctly, or show you how to do it.
** bring lots of receiving blankets, some hospitals use them as ‘sausages’ to keep baby’s head secure in the car seat for the trip home
BC Ministry of Health. Baby’s Best Chance: Parents’ Handbook of Pregnancy and Baby Care. (free at local BC health unit)
Iovine, V. The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy: Or, Everything Your Doctor Won’t Tell You.
Murkoff, H., A. Eisenberg and S. Hathaway. What to Expect When You are Expecting.
Whether it’s for one week or three months, dealing with bedrest during pregnancy can be a challenge. If you approach the matter as a time to prepare yourself for your new role, it may help. It is a chance to get a few things accomplished before baby comes, too.
There are several other things you can do to help pass the time you spend on bedrest.
Settle in! You may as well be as comfortable and self sufficient as possible. Place your telephone, TV, various remote controls, books and hobby stuff within reach. A good idea is to have wireless internet so you can look up things whenever you think of them, work on your birth plan or keep in touch with friends and family with via email. All of these things will help to keep you occupied.
You may be able to do quiet activities like share dinners from the couch or receive visitors. It is invaluable time to share with friends before the baby comes, because you may not have that kind of time again for a while.
Your practitioner may recommend that you do some upper body exercise, so get detailed instructions and make these exercises part of your daily routine. Be sure you are clear on your situation and your doctor’s recommendations before starting any kind of exercise program.
You may be surprised how much you can prepare for the new addition from your post on bed rest. You can, at the very least, start lists of what you will need and do some of your shopping or registering on line.
A friend of ours used the time to address envelopes for Multiple Birth Programs (see our section on ‘free stuff’), and after the babies arrived she just popped copies of their birth certificates in the envelopes and posted them off. You could also use this time to prepare envelopes for birth announcements or thank you cards.
You may spend time doing lots of reading in preparation for birth and aftercare. If you are like many first time parents, there is a lot to know that you may not be aware of. Perhaps familiarize yourself with your local library on line, put requests on books that interest you and once a week your husband or partner could pick them up for you.
Try not to be anxious. This is common, particularly in high-risk pregnancies, and since there is little to distract you, you have to just try to keep busy and positive. Your doctor may be able to recommend a support group in your area so you can reach out to women in similar circumstances.
Isennock, Patricia. Bedrest Before Baby: What’s A Mother To Do: A Survival Handbook For High Risk Moms.
McCann, Mary Ann. Days In Waiting: A Guide To Surviving Pregnancy Bedrest.
Q – What happens at the moment of giving birth?