The moment you announce the good news, you’ll likely hear a lot of baby jargon. Birth plan? Contractions? Epidural? All these new things can be quite confusing! So to make you feel a little more organised, we’ve put together some tips to help you get ready for birth.
9 Tips to Prepare for Labour
1) Have Newborn Essentials Ready at Home
No new parent wants to worry about how many nappies they have as they bring their baby home from the hospital. From cotton wool to blankets, there are lots of newborn essentials you’ll need to have ready for your new arrival. It’s a good idea to make a checklist of these baby basics and buy them a few weeks before your due date. That way, you’ll have everything you need, set up and prepared for when you come back from the hospital.
2) Put the Car Seat in the Car
You’ll probably already know that all babies need a car seat. Children usually need to travel in one up until they’re 12 years old, or when they’re 135cm tall.
While we’re a long way from your new arrival reaching that stage, you still need a car seat in place before you give birth. Some hospitals won’t allow you to leave post-birth, unless you can show them your car seat.
But if you’ve already bought one, is it sitting in a corner somewhere, still in the box? If you’re nodding, it’s time to go put the car seat in the car!
You need to take great care when fitting your seat to make sure it’s completely safe for your new baby. These finicky things can be difficult to attach. Plus, the instructions can take a long time to read. So when you’re preparing for labour, don’t leave the car seat until the last minute.
3) Check Your Birth Plan
Creating a birth plan is one of the most important parts of preparing for labour. These notes will explain your preferences about what should happen during and after the birth. Your doctor or midwife can help you write a birth plan, if you’re not sure what to put.
Usually, a birth plan includes details of how and where you’d like to give birth. It can also advise who should be at the birth and if you have any special requirements.
Once you’ve written your birth plan, check it. Then, check it again. You might change your mind throughout the different stages of pregnancy. Keep your doctor or midwife updated of anything you’d like to alter about your birth plan.
4) Know Things Might Not Go to Plan
Even with your triple-checked birth notes, when preparing for labour, you should remember that not everything can go to plan. You could end up a week overdue. The facilities you want might be unavailable. That epidural you thought you’d say no to may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened!
Unfortunately, preparing for birth has its limits. But getting used to the idea that not everything will go the way you want it to can help ease your labour worries. And, after all, when your new baby arrives, you’ll probably find that nothing else matters.
5) Pack Your Hospital Bag in Advance
Once you’ve ticked off everything from your maternity bag checklist, pack your hospital bag and leave it at the door. That way, when the time comes, you’ll be ready.
If you don’t already have your maternity bag, check out our latest Erin Tote Changing Hospital Bag. It’s a brand-new, trendy tote bag that has plenty of space and pockets for your baby gear – perfect for your due date!
6) Charge Your Tech
Labour is one of those things that could last anywhere between three hours and three days. Many mums-to-be end up spending a long time at the hospital before they actually give birth. But even with all the excitement of a new baby coming, waiting around for labour to start properly can be very boring. So it’s a good idea to have some kind of entertainment ready. Download some films on your tablet or find a few easy-going books for your e-reader. Just make sure your tech is fully charged!
7) Organise Your Journey to Hospital
When preparing for labour, you should start thinking about how you’ll get to the hospital when your due date comes around.
If you plan on travelling by car (with your partner driving, not you!), do a practice run a few weeks before. Consider how different times of the day could affect your journey – a twenty-minute drive could be tripled by peak-time traffic. If your partner can’t drive, ask family, a friend or a neighbour to be there for you when the time comes.
Completely carless? If you’ve exhausted your options, the next step is to take a taxi. Call up some local firms beforehand to check they’ll take you when you’re in labour.
Don’t think you’ll be able to manage on other public transport, as you never know what might happen. Giving birth on the bus is not an option!
8) Know When to Go
To avoid constantly wondering if it’s happening, your midwife or doctor can explain what happens when you go into labour. In general, you should contact the hospital if:
- Your waters break
- Your contractions are very strong and regular
- You need pain relief for your contractions
- You’re bleeding
- You’re less than 37 weeks pregnant and think you’re in labour
- You have any concerns about your pregnancy
9) Do One Last Fun Thing
Preparing for labour isn’t just about writing birth plans and getting organised for your new arrival. It’s a great time to do one last fun thing for yourself. Whether it’s a final date night or one last bubble bath, do it now – because you might not get a chance to soon!