It’s time to leave the frantic mad dash to the hospital in the back of a taxi driven by Bruce Willis to the movie set, and look at a stress free delivery.. now is the perfect opportunity to plan ahead.
Midwifes and Dr’s generally time labour from the first time we feel contractions, or our waters break. First babies are known to take their time, but the average time for labour is about 8 hours. Of course it could also be much less or much more than this, but usually no longer than 18 hours. Labour and birth rarely go exactly how you've planned so it's a good idea to be prepared.
Labour bag packed
That all important labour bag may have been sat in the hallway for weeks now but if not, it’s time to get packing. Babygrows, mitts, cellular blanket and socks for the baby and comfy clothes to labour in for yourself are a must- see our gurgle guide on what to pack in your labour bag. A good tip is to put a large note on top of the labour bag with all the things you still need to add if you are packing it slowly, then you really won’t forget anything.
Route to hospital planned
This might be a good thing for your partner to plan so he can be involved. Take into consideration you don’t know what time of the day you will go into labour, and if it is rush hour, you might need to think of an alternative route to get you to the hospital. Make sure the car has enough petrol to get you to the hospital, and from my own experience, try and plan a route that avoids speed bumps as speed bumps and contractions don't work well together! If you are planning on taking a taxi, have the taxi number ready on your phone- it’s no good pinned to the fridge in the kitchen if you go into labour in the supermarket.
Who will look after the kids whilst you are in labour
If you already have children, you need to have a plan in place as to who will take care of the child/children whilst you are in labour. Remember, you could go into labour at any time. If it’s in the middle of the night, you need to have someone your children will feel comfortable with, happy to wake up with them there, make their breakfast, and get them to nursery etc. Explain to your child that ‘Mummy might have the baby in the night, but granny/auntie Sue etc will be there to make you a special breakfast and later on bring you to meet the baby’. Be prepared that your labour may take a while, and once the baby is born, you may have to stay a few days in hospital. It’s such an exciting time and grandparents, aunties and friends will love to be involved and help you out. Another tip from our lovely gurgle mums is to have a little toy from the baby to give to your child when you bring the baby home from hospital- a good way to get off on the right foot with a sibling and also a good distraction for your child when you first get home.
Call ahead to the labour ward
If you think you may be in labour or your waters have broken, you can call ahead to the labour ward and let them know you will be coming in in a few hours. When you speak to a midwife she'll discuss what's happening and advise you whether you should wait before going in. Calling ahead speeds up the admissions process and makes sure they are expecting you. It also saves lots of waiting at the labour ward and the possibility of being sent home.
Keep the house running smoothly whilst you are away
Sorry ladies, even though you have carried a baby for 9 months, and have to endure hours of labour, it’s a good idea to keep the house running smoothly whilst you are away. If you have children already at home, this might mean putting a plan of their day, where they need to be, what time they go to bed and what they eat, on the fridge. If the milkman usually comes on a certain day and you know you will be away for a few days in hospital, remember to call to cancel. A lasagne or shepherds pie frozen in the freezer can be perfect for your partner to come home to, or for you to come home to with that new little baby. The last thing you’ll want to do is cook!
Buy a car seat
When it’s time to come home from hospital, it’s a good idea to buy and bring with you a baby car seat. This can vary from brand to brand but you must make sure it complies with the safety standards. A newborn car seat should say on it ‘suitable from birth until your child reaches 13kg/29lb in weight’.
Plan A and Plan B
Labour and birth are full of the unexpected, especially if it’s your first baby. You might have envisaged a peaceful water birth to the sound of whale music, but end up having a C-section. All sorts of factors come into play when you are in labour and it’s a good idea to be prepared that things may not always go to plan. Dr’s and midwifes are always thinking foremost about the safety of you and your baby, and if that means having to give birth on a labour ward rather than a birthing centre, or accepting the idea that you may need more pain relief than you thought, that’s ok. Be prepared for suprises and remember the little bundle of joy at the end of it all.
Arranging for help after the baby is born
You’ve just given birth to your beautiful bouncing baby, and now you are home… but you’re exhausted. Recovering from birth along with sleepless nights can be tough in the first few weeks and it’s a good idea to have a plan in place where you can have some time off to recouperate or sleep. Even if it’s for an hour whilst your mother in law takes the baby for a walk in the pram, it can give you that much needed time to catch up. This is also a good time to have a chat with your partner about visitors and how often and how long people will stay. It’s lovely to have family popping round but it’s also exhausting for you and the baby especially when you are only just getting used to each other.
Many mums like to have the baby in their room in a cot or moses basket for the first 6 weeks, but whether it’s pink or blue or a surprise, it’s a good idea to get the baby’s room ready before your little one arrives. If you don’t know the sex of your baby yet, it’s very easy to keep the room neutral and then just accessorize with colour once the baby arrives. It’s also a good time to get your partner involved in putting together the cot and arranging the room. Many mums also like to wash all the little baby clothes before the arrival although this takes quite a lot of time.
Lights, camera, action!
Making sure you have a camera on hand and it is fully charged with extra batteries just-in-case is very important! You may also want to give your partner a list of people to call to make the baby announcement and brief him on what you want to say.
This is such a special time for new parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and siblings. We wish you the best of luck with your labour and birth, from the team at gurgle.com.
If you have any good tips for mums-to-be for planning ahead in labour, please comment below!