Getting ready for the big day may take months of preparation. You and your partner should consider reading books about labor, breastfeeding, and parenting to prepare for your new arrival. In addition, there are movies you can watch that teach your about the labor process. Most importantly, you should try to attend classes held in the community or hospitals that prepare you for labor, birth, and breastfeeding. Attending a class will give you a chance to ask a professional your specific questions about the labor and delivery experience.
You might consider touring the labor and delivery unit at the hospital your plan to deliver. Knowing where to go when you arrive at the hospital, hospital policies, resources, and delivery room layout can help reduce the stress and anxiety that can come along with your delivery day.
Things to ask when touring the labor and delivery unit:
- How many family members are allowed in the delivery room when I deliver?
- Are children allowed in the delivery room?
- Can I film my birth?
- Will my baby stay with me in my room at all times after birth?
- Do you offer breastfeeding support?
In addition to becoming familiar with the hospital, it is important to consider what you will bring with you to the hospital on your delivery day. Pack your bag early and place it in a convenient location so that you are able to have everything you need with you at the hospital. Lastly, it might be helpful to create a birth plan of the things you desire for your delivery. There are many examples online that can help you develop a birth plan, or you can simply write down a few desires you have for your labor experience. This can help communicate to the labor and delivery staff your desires for labor. Keep in mind that plans can change throughout the labor process, but having a plan can be a helpful start to a pleasant labor experience.