READY TO GO TO HOSPITAL
- Have phone numbers and mobile phone to hand
- Take a few deep breaths, keep calm
- Ring the labour ward and let them know you are on your way
- If you are staying at home, ring the midwife on call (the number is on mum’s notes). If in doubt, ring the hospital.
- Drive safely
- Take deep in breaths and long, slow out breaths
- All very exciting, but focus on your breath
- Keep upright where possible and rest between contractions/surges
Other birth companions
- Keep calm
- Support mum and dad
- Take long slow breaths
- Copy of the birth preferences/plan
- Mum’s bag
- Baby’s bag
- Own toiletries, comb, toothbrush, deodorant and so on
- Food and snacks for the birth companion and the mum (usually only a vending machine available)
- Jumper, sweatshirt, change of clothes
- Notepad and pen/pencil
- Camera, phone, DVD etc plus chargers!!!
- Money for incidentals and car park
- Ensure a full tank of petrol and money for any car park charges
THE BAGS OF STUFF
This list is primarily for those who are planning a hospital birth.
If you are planning a home birth you will probably still need many of the suggested items. (Even if you are planning a home birth you will need to have these ready, in case things take a different route.)
Keep cool as a cucumber – mums don’t need the stress of partners scrabbling around in their beautifully-packed bags.
Dads and partners – know what is in the bag/s in advance of the big event.
Check out what you will need in the Waiting for Baby section
The main thing is to be happy and comfortable with the place you are planning to give birth, whether it’s at home or in hospital. The choice is yours. Wishing wonderful, fulfilling births to you all.
During labour and birth many mums want strong massage, some may want none at all. Here is a little video with some great massage tips.
LINK: Massage for birth
An ‘active birth’ is usually much easier for mum and baby. Have a look at these small videos for some ideas.
LINK: Active birth positions
During labour a birth ball can be invaluable for helping babies get into a good gravity- effective position, ready to be born. These are comfortable for mums to use and most maternity units and birth centres will have a few for you to use. Great for mum in the late stages of pregnancy and afterwards when it’s hard to get comfy.)
LINK: Birth ball
Thinking of a water birth?
There are many advantages to labouring in water:
- Greater mobility during labour
- Shortens labour
- Immersion in warm water acts as a comfort aid and pain relief
- Gentler birth for the baby
- Fewer interventions for mum and baby
Three top tips for labouring mums
Penny Simkin’s 3 Rs approach to childbirth preparation
- Relax during and/or between contractions. Important to relax or be calm between contractions
- Rhythm characterizes coping style
- Rituals – many women find and use rituals such as swaying, humming or pacing
LINK: Birth companions
Believe in your body. Women have been giving birth for the last 500.000 or so years, our bodies know what to do if we are allowed them to get on with it
In early labour relaxation during contractions is a realistic and desirable goal. Later in labour, however, many women cope much better if they don’t try to relax during contractions. They feel better if they move or vocalise during the contractions, or even tense parts of their bodies. Go with what your body tells you!