Hospital Birth: What To Expect & How To Plan For OneJun 24, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line When opting for a hospital birth, choose your hospital wisely and don't be afraid to ask questions! Also, read up on hospital birth procedures.
Although I do not plan to have any more children via hospital birth (unless emergency that is needed) I did have my first daughter in a hospital and found a lot of things to be very unexpected. Even though I took all the "preparation" classes and went on the hospital tour, even though most things went the way I expected, there was a few surprises.
So, if you have read up on all of your birthing options and still have decided to do the hospital birth, here are a few things I would recommend.
First things first, you should read up on all the procedures that will occur when you go into labor and go to the hospital. You need to read up on drugs they will offer you and possible side effects that could cause you and your baby. Epidural's stop a lot of pain but can cause labor to slow down due to the lack of feeling to be able to push. Which could cause a baby to get stuck, which may lead to other "options" of removing a baby. Most hospitals will not tell you this in the classes or on the tour. If you choose drugs, make sure you choose one that can help ease your pain but will not take all feeling out of you from the waist down, you will need to be able to push that baby out!
You should also educate yourself on the equipment used during birth and what it does and how it works and if it could cause stress or harm to the baby. So this way, you will be prepared and not scared. You need to know the pros and cons of each instrument they use on you and baby during labor. The hospital usually claims the machines are all safe but some may not always be reliable. Check on this as well. The Internet has many resources.
You should call the maternity area and ask to speak to a head of the staff member, get info from them about policies and what is and isn't allowed. I was told by my OB that the hospital I was to be delivering at allowed you to take photos while the baby was being born, it wasn't until after I was on the labor bed pushing my baby out that I was informed by a nurse "no pictures" until after baby was out and Mother was covered up. You also need to know if you will be allowed to birth in any position you wish or will you be confined to a bed on your back. Will you be allowed to walk around if you wish? Will you be allowed to drink broth and juice or eat light snacks? Or just ice chips? Ask any question you may ever want to know, do not wait until you are on your labor bed to ask these! It will be too late!
Also, if you plan to breast feed your baby, you may want to ask about the strictness of staff members not giving bottles to babes who are to be breastfed only. Ask how baby friendly the hospital is. Will they allow rooming in? (most hospitals do but some still may not), and will they bring your baby to you when you request? Ask them these things if they seem important to you before labor starts. You may also want to ask how often has it occurred that a nurse gave a bottle to a baby who was said to be only breast fed. The hospital I had my daughter at was said and known to be very pro-breastfeeding and I wished and made my request for no bottles or pacifiers to be given to my daughter, I later found that my daughter refused my breast because a nurse was giving her bottles when she was being taken for stats.
That is another thing. You may want to request that anything that can be done in front of you, such as bath, stats, etc., to be done in front of you or a trust worthy family member. Not all hospitals will but some may not always treat your baby the way you want. I found out after having my daughter that to test the baby for apgar scores they pick the bassinets up an inch away from the floor and drop them to scare them and see how the baby reacts. This could occur in a hospital you favor and you may never know unless you watch your baby.
One thing I cannot stress enough is:
I cannot stress this enough! You must have a birth plan if you want anything in a hospital to go even half the way you would like it too. Especially if they are not a very Mama/baby friendly hospital. Some are and some aren't. It all depends and you as a pregnant woman wanting a hospital birth, must make it your mission to find out how Mama/baby friendly the hospital you wish to birth at is.
The birth plan should be filled out very carefully, stating what options you want to occur and what options are OK if the other options are not available. Do not allow your doctor to predict this up for you, these are your wishes for you.
To help avoid an unnecessary C-section, you may want to think about how other options if the doctor just wants the easy way out of it. I am not saying all C-section are not needed but some OB's will try to hurry and get the birth over by making things up and scaring Mothers. If the baby seems stuck but the heart is OK, ask for other options like standing (unless you are having a full epidural), or massage in your vaginal area. Forceps and vacuum suck may not be an option for some but if they are before you opt for the C-section, please choose them! Most women do not realize that most C-section's are really not needed!
Make sure in your birth plan that you state everything, double check it and do not leave things out. If you do you could regret it later.
Things you may or may not need:
A change of clothes to go home in, and don't pack your size 3's, most women are still not back to their pre-pregnancy size afterwards. You may just want to toss those ugly maternity pants and top in.
A good supportive bra, when your milk comes in your breasts will weigh 10 pounds each!
You will really only need one pair of underwear. The hospital usually provides you with these nifty disposable underwear. They make changing easier. Just pull them off and throw away.
Lots of socks, your feet will get cold.
Maybe some books to read afterwards.
Going home outfit for baby, and maybe even a nice outfit for the picture.
If you want good food, have family bring you in some, you won't get it at a hospital.
Camera, camera, camera and film!
It's been a few year since my hospital birth, so I have probably forgotten some things, but if anything pops up in my head I will add them later.
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