Monday, September 26, 2011

How to Prepare to Go to the Hospital

pregnant and going to the hospital
 When you are pregnant, going to the hospital to have your baby can feel like it can't come soon enough! Preparing to go to the hospital involves a few important tasks that should be interesting and enjoyable to accomplish. First, plan to take a tour of the maternity ward where you will be delivering your baby. Most hospitals offer tours to expectant parents several times each month. During a tour you can have questions answered by hospital staff. Many women ask about pain management during labor, others are curious about the nursery where their babies will get their first baths. Still other women wonder about the comfort measures that may be available to them during a natural childbirth, such as access to a bathtub or a birthing ball.

During the tour, you will hear about where to park your car and where to enter the hospital during regular hours and during the middle of the night, should you need to arrive then. The tour guide will also explain how to register for your baby's birth. Many hospitals now offer registration services online, and others will have your pre-register over the phone, even if you do not know the exact date that you will be visiting the hospital.
Preparing a birth plan is another important task to accomplish before going to the hospital. Of course, every labor and birth is different, and even the best laid plans may be tossed out the window once your labor has begun. It is a good idea, however, to think through some of the typical decisions ahead of time that laboring women need to make during the course of labor. It will be useful to decide if you would like to get an epidural or another form of pain medication, or if you prefer to have a natural childbirth. You may also desire to avoid certain interventions like continuous electronic fetal monitoring and having and IV during labor. You may want to consider giving your partner the role of cutting the umbilical cord and announcing the baby's sex to the world.

Packing your hospital bag is a big step in preparing to go to the hospital. Aside from clothing for you and the baby to wear home from the hospital, you may also want to pack some of your favorite maternity lounge wear to wear during your stay. Some women prefer to give birth in their own nightgowns, rather than in hospital gowns. Many couples enjoy listening to their own music during labor, and some women even read a good book! Obviously you will want to bring a camera to take pictures and your cell phone to share the good news.

Finally, depending on where you live, it is a good idea to determine the best route to the hospital from your home. If you live in a busy area with lots of traffic during certain times of the day, your route to the hospital may be different during these times versus low-traffic times. Having this information will give you piece of mind about your transportation when the big day arrives!  And until then, enjoy the anticipation of waiting for your little angel to join your family.