As a birth doula, I am often asked the same question by many of my birth clients - What do I need to bring with me to the hospital for birth?
Remember, much of the labor process is influenced by your hormones. If a woman who is in labor feels comfortable, the birth pattern will look great. So to help control hormones, she needs to avoid stress and create some pleasure. This helps to relax, leave worries behind and enjoy the process of giving birth. So, the short answer is bring anything that helps you relax and feel comfortable.
Of course, trying to think of specific things that will help you relax can be difficult, especially if this is your first pregnancy and you do not know what to expect. So, here is a list of essential things, based on my experience as a birth doula and a mother, that you may want to have in your birth bag.
1. Your own pillows or even a blanket from home can be essential. Hospital pillows are not great and you will thank yourself for bringing an extra soft pillow or warm blanket for your comfort.
2. Warm socks. Women often feel cold during labor. While preparing your birth bag you may not even think about this, but such a small thing as warm socks can help you go through the change of temperature in the room and help you stay warm and feel more comfort during labor.
3. Lip balm. A small but essential thing to have in your purse. Lips often get dry and cracked during labor. Lip balm will help make sure your lips feel good when you need to take another deep breath or do some shallow breathing.
4. Music. Download some of your favorite music to your phone or tablet. Dance music can give you energy to help you with strong contractions, while some slow meditative music may help you when you prefer to sleep. Also some parents choose a special BABY SONG - music you can plan during the pushing stage that will be the first music your baby will hear when entering into this world.
5. Lavender oil. Often people feel indifferent about using oils. But lavender oil, in particular, can help you a lot during labor. It gives that extra calming feeling - exactly what is needed for birth process. If you decide to do an epidural, it may also help alleviate uncontrollable shaking you may develop while they administer your pain medications in IV.
6. Gatorade, juice, water. It is essential to stay hydrated and drink a lot. Drinking water is great, but Gatorade or sweet juice can give you an extra boost of energy just when you need it most.
7. Light snacks. You will not be able to eat a lot for the whole duration of your labor. But you need small snacks to regain your energy. We recommend blueberries, bananas, soft candy or chocolate, honey stick, Jell-O and baby puree. These snacks are easy to digest and sweet, which will add some energy during labor. Please consult your doctor to make sure you do not have allergy or diabetes.
In addition to these essentials that can help make your hospital stay more comfortable and relaxing, you may want to consider the following items as well.
8. Cute outfit for baby and warm blanket. While most hospitals will provide first diapers, hospital blankets and even baby hats, you might want to dress your adorable new baby in a cute outfit when heading home from the hospital.
9. Rear facing car seat. A proper car seat for newborn babies is essential! Most hospitals will check to make sure you have a proper car set before letting you go to the car with your newborn baby.
10 Your ID. Please keep it with you at all times, you will need it to fill in the documents.
We hope this article was helpful for you.
Have a safe and easy labor!