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What to Expect When Delivering and Giving Birth at the Hospital

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As you near the end of your last trimester and begin to get everything ready for your baby's arrival, you are probably getting anxious about the birth and hospital stay.

You have entered an exciting time in your pregnancy and you will be holding your precious baby in your arms soon.

Many of you have probably been reading books about pregnancy and the birth process. I highly recommend knowing as much as possible, because knowledge truly is power.

Taking birthing classes is also a very helpful step in preparing for the birth of your child.

I am going to give you a few tips on things to consider before you go into labor and how to be prepared for anything. I will also give you suggestions on what to pack for your hospital stay.

First, let me briefly tell you about my birthing experience. I have birthed and welcomed 3 baby boys into this world over the last several years. And my birth experiences include 1 birth with some analgesics (medication through IV), and assisted delivery, to a all natural birth with no drugs or medically assisted delivery and my last baby was born via C-section because of a large Ovarian Cyst I had that was at risk for rupturing.

My births were all very different but the outcome was always the same-welcoming into the world a healthy baby and that is all I could ask for.

Some moms-to-be are very prepared, maybe even overly prepared as they await the arrival of their new baby, while other moms have not done much to prepare for the experience of birth and delivery.

Here is what you need to consider and get ready before you go into labor.

1. Are you pre-registered with the hospital?
If not, call the hospital and ask them what you need to do.

Pre-registration will make checking in when you are having contractions much faster. If there are several hospitals near you, and your doctor delivers at more than 1, have you decided which hospital you are going to use well ahead of time and pre-register with that hospital.

2. Have you been to the Maternity Ward of the Hospital you will be Delivering at?
Call and find out when they give tours- it is important to know where to go and what to do (where to enter) if it is in the middle of the night.

3. Have you written a Birth Plan?

The Birth Plan is written desires you would like considered for your child's birth. You, and your partner should discuss what medications, birthing technique you would like to try, and anything you hope to avoid unless medically necessary.
Now most births do not go as you plan, so do not expect that you or doctors will be able to follow it verbatim, but it is good to have an idea of your desires and information you want everyone to know.
A good example of things you may list on your birth plan is: You would like to have an Epidural or that you would like to go as far as possible without medications or an epidural. If you want to try and walk around or use a birthing ball or sit in a rocking chair. There are many good examples of birth plans online for you to use as guides.

4. Do you have a Birthing Advocate lined up to come with you to your birth?
You may have a spouse, but often the spouse or father is so caught up in your anxiety, or worrying about your well being, he may not be able to help you get through all of the phases of labor.

A Doula is hired to help a woman through the birthing process. The doula is an advocate for the mom, her choices, and there to help guide and encourage the partner.

She helps to empower the laboring mother and help make the experience and choices of labor positive ones. She helps communicate the mom's needs and desires to medical staff.

If you cannot afford or do not want to use a doula, you should consider inviting a girlfriend or relative who has been through the birthing experience and that is a positive force for you- that can help keep you calm, focused and be there if you or your partner need anything.

Many women or couples think, they just want this to be between them. A special day as a couple, but labor is hard and sometimes long and tiring. It is important to have someone there who can stay positive, talk you back up, keep your partner positive and offer help. You can always ask your support (friend) to give you time alone or to give you time alone once the baby is born.

5. If you have other children, make sure you have someone that can come over and watch them or that you can bring to them when you head to the hospital.

Make sure the person watching them is able to watch them whether it is at night or during the day or have 2 plans- 1 for the daytime and the other for the evening.

6. Think about what makes you feel good when you feel achy, tired, and uncomfortable. Try out positions and see if they make you feel better. When you go into active labor, often what you think you want to do does not work, so consider if leaning a certain way or bending over the edge of the bed while standing helps. You will not know what will ease your labor but if you have tried different laboring positions ahead of time and practiced them they will come more naturally and you are more likely to use them.

Learn more than just breathing techniques, find out how to position your body through leaning, sitting, bending, squatting that will move the labor along and ease some of the pain.

7. Every person's labor and delivery is different and every time a woman has a baby the labor is different. There are so many variables but there are a few things that can make it easier.

Most likely, your birth will be very different than you picture it or may want it to go. This is part of the birthing process. We can prepare your bodies and make sure we have supportive people around us, but the rest in up in the air.

Be aware of different coping techniques and the medication options so that if you need to make choices you can make educated choices.

Go ahead now to get ready to throw your shyness about being partially or fully undressed of people you don't know out the window.

There will be several medical people in the room when you deliver (really you want the baby out so bad you don't even notice).

When it is time for you to deliver your baby you will know. You will feel like to have to go to the bathroom (and you might just have it). There is so much pressure on your bladder and bowels from the baby in your birth canal.

For most women, pushing the baby out will hurt (yes a lot). It is often described as a "Ring of Fire". But the good news is for a few moments of firey pain you will have your baby and the pain will be gone.

Then after the baby is born the nurse will have to help you to the bathroom and in the bathroom. They are there to make sure you are ok and will not fall.

The nurse and/or doctor will check your stomach and pad to see how your uterus feels and how much bleeding you are having.

For the first day or two (and then a bit less for a few days after) you will have quite a bit of blood and blood clots. Best to know this ahead of time. They should time you what to watch out for as far as size of clots, if they don't then ask.

Don't just take medication during labor and after without knowing what you are taking and how much. Seriously, with my first birth, I began to feel disoriented, itchy, and strange. I am pretty sure I had too much pain medication in my system because I am a petite person and they give the same general dosage to me or someone much bigger than me. Ask and if you don't need it, wait until you do or try something less potent. Regular tylenol may be enough.

Drink plenty of water and liquids and take the stool softeners they give you (or request them)- when you take pain meds or have a c-section all of the drugs in your system and being dehydrated can cause quite a problem with your plumbing- be proactive, don't wait- I promise you this is maybe the most important piece of advice I am giving you.