One way expectant parents can prepare for labor and delivery is to have their hospital bag packed well in advance of their due date. This will ensure that they are well prepared in case they must rush to the hospital or birthing center at short notice. Having everything you need during labor and delivery — and afterward — will allow for a more comfortable experience in the birthing center.
Make sure you have all records and paperwork in order.
You likely have identification on you already, but give yourself a reminder to double-check when the time comes because you can’t be admitted without some form of ID. If you have pre-registered at the facility, you may need to bring proof of registration, so make sure you have that, too. While a birthing plan is optional, it’s a good idea for new parents to write one and bring a copy.
Prepare with comfort items to assist through labor.
Labor is never going to be physically easy, but you can make it a tad more pleasant with comfortable clothing such as a soft and attractive labor and delivery gown, cozy slippers or socks with traction, in case you opt to walk around during part of the labor process. Skin and lip moisturizers and soothing massage creams can help if you feel dehydrated or sore. You should also have basic toiletries (hairbrush, toothbrush, soaps, and hair care items) to keep you feeling your best for the duration of your stay.
Bring items to keep you occupied if things progress slowly.
Some labors progress quickly, while other expectant moms may find the hours dragging by. In such cases, this is a great time for finalizing any work for clients or customers, so bring your laptop or tablet to wrap everything up for a few weeks. If you’re free and clear from work for a bit, you may want books, magazines, or eBooks to read. Or, you might prefer to watch your favorite movies or television programming uploaded to a device. Make sure you have your favorite playlists accessible, too, to keep you entertained and to lift your spirits. Some parents even turn to a labor playlist for their baby’s first music
Pack a few snacks and beverages.
Most hospitals will keep you well supplied with refreshments and snacks. Some facilities even have surprisingly tasty food. But just in case, come prepared with your favorite comfort snacks and bottled water or other healthy beverages, especially if you’ve been having pregnancy cravings for a particular food. If it’s for something that can handily be packed and carried, try to have some on hand, or find out whether it’s something you can get as takeaway in the surrounding neighborhood.
Bring some basic items for your new baby.
The one item you cannot be without when it’s time to go home is a safe and up-to-date car seat. Make sure it is properly secured in advance and that you are familiar with how to use it correctly. While the hospital will provide you with diapers, creams, blankets, onesies, and a baby hat, you will need to bring a going-home outfit for your baby. Remember that babies need to be bundled up in the cold, but you don’t want to risk overheating them in warmer temperatures, as well. You may also want to pick out swaddling blankets.
Choose comfortable, stylish postpartum clothing.
Since a pregnancy belly doesn’t deflate right away, make sure you bring loose-fitting clothes that are also stylish, such as attractive leggings or a well-made nursing blouse or tank top. If you’re getting a lot of photos with your new baby, you will feel more confident if you’re wearing clothing that suits your style, and a good nursing bra is essential to your comfort, as well as ease of nursing.
There’s only so much you can do to be prepared since pregnancy and delivery are often full of surprises, but your experience will surely be smoother and less stressful if you have everything you need readily accessible when it’s time to go.
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