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Preparation for Delivery

It is almost time.

You have been awaiting — perhaps not so patiently — the arrival of your newest family member. The due date is drawing near and you may wonder what you should do to get ready for labor and your hospital stay in general. Rest assured that if you prepare, you will be ready when your baby is ready to make an entrance into the world.

Delivery preparation.

The idea of labor and delivery can be scary, especially as you near the end of your pregnancy. Many women share their past childbirth stories freely, which may lead to more anxiety than reassurance among some first-time mothers. Rather than rely on the stories of family members and friends, it is a good idea to attend childbirth classes when you are in your sixth to seventh month of pregnancy. This will help you and your support person become familiar with the stages of labor and what to expect. If you are unable to attend childbirth classes, it may be helpful to at least read about the childbirth process in reference books.

Talk to your doctor.

Next, talk to your doctor about your labor options, especially for pain control options, and any concerns you may have. Outline a birth plan to let your doctors know what you envision as your ideal labor and delivery. Every labor and delivery is different so it is important to remember you may need to be flexible. The safety of you and your baby needs to be the highest priority. Doctors may have to deviate from the birth plan to ensure safety. This will be a discussion that your doctor will have with you during labor if changes are necessary.

Talk to your support person.

 You may assume they will know how to support you, but let them know what you expect of them beforehand, and also at any time during labor and delivery. You will also want to decide how you will get to the hospital and who will go with you. The plan may vary if you are at home or work. Have more than one route planned in case traffic presents a problem.

Schedule a PEPP appointment.

In your last trimester, schedule a Pregnancy Education and Paperwork Program (PEPP) appointment. 

Know what to look for.

Talk to your doctor about how you will know when you should come to the hospital. 

Pack for the hospital. 

Finally, you will feel more prepared if you pack for the hospital by the time you are in your 36th week. It is a good idea to pack two bags for your hospital stay. The first bag should have items you will need to be more comfortable during your labor and a second bag with things you will not need until after the baby is born. Here is a list of items you may want to consider packing.