There are a lot of details to remember, but the lists below should cover most of what you might need.
Consider pre-registering at the hospital several weeks before your due date. It will save time when you arrive at the hospital in labor.
Have these items ready to go about 5 or 6 weeks before your due date.
|1 cotton nightgown or T-shirt for labor
|extra pillows to use during labor
|lip balm and lollipops or fruit drops to use during labor
|light diversion, such as books or magazines
|1 nightgown for after labor (bring a nursing gown if you are going to breastfeed)
|slippers with rubber soles
|1 long robe for walking in the halls
|2 bras (nursing bras and pads if you breastfeed)
|toiletries you use, including brush, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner
|hairband or ponytail holder, if you have long hair
|eyeglasses (you can't wear contact lenses)
|underwear and loose-fitting clothes for going home
|sanitary pads, if the hospital doesn't supply them
For Your Partner
It's a good idea to include some things in your hospital kit for your partner to help him get through the experience. You might consider the following items:
|completed insurance or pre-registration information
|talc or cornstarch for massaging you during labor
|a paint roller or tennis ball for giving you a low-back massage during labor
|tapes or CDs and a player, or a radio to play during labor
|camera and film
|list of telephone numbers and a long-distance calling card
|change for telephones and vending machines
For the New Baby
The hospital will probably supply most of what you will need for your baby. However, here are a few things you should have ready:
|clothes for the trip home, including an undershirt, sleeper, outer clothes (a hat if it's cold)
|a couple of blankets
|diapers, if your hospital doesn't supply them
Be sure you have an approved infant car seat in which to take your baby home. It's important to put your baby in a car seat the very first time he or she rides in a car!
It will save time if you register at the hospital a few weeks before your due date. It is wise to do this before you go to the hospital in labor because then you may be in a hurry or concerned with other things.
You will be able to pre-register with forms that you receive from your doctor's office or from the hospital. Take your insurance card or insurance information with you. Know your doctor's name, your pediatrician's name and your due date. It is also helpful to know your blood type and Rh-factor.
At the Hospital
After you are admitted, you will probably be settled into a labor room, and you will be checked to see how much you have dilated. A brief history of your pregnancy will be taken. Vital signs, including blood pressure, pulse and temperature, are noted. You may receive an enema, or an I. V. may be started. Blood will probably be drawn. You may have an epidural put in place, if you have requested it.
It may be necessary through questions or tests to determine if your membranes have ruptured. There are several ways to confirm it:
|By your description of what happened, such as a large gush of fluid from your vagina.
|With nitrazine paper. Fluid is placed on the paper; if membranes have ruptured, the paper changes color.
|With a ferning test. Fluid is placed on a glass slide, allowed to dry and examined under a microscope. If it has a "fern" appearance, it is amniotic fluid.
Shaving pubic hair. This is not done routinely; it is not always necessary for a woman to have her pubic hair shaved before delivery. Many women are not shaved these days. However, some patients who chose not to have their pubic hair shaved later told me they experienced discomfort when their pubic hair became entangled in their underwear due to the normal vaginal discharge after the birth of their baby.
An I. V. is necessary with an epidural. If you have chosen not to have an epidural, an I. V. is not always required. Most physicians agree an I. V. is helpful if the woman needs medications or fluids during labor or delivery or after delivery.
If you think you might refuse an I. V. when you go into the hospital to deliver your baby, discuss this with your doctor at one of your prenatal appointments. In many situations, an I. V. can be an important safeguard.