Pregnancy for First-Timers: Preparing for Labor and Delivery

Image source -

Get Ready For Delivering Your Baby Without Undue Surprises

Hey there, first-time moms! Are you excited? A little bit afraid? As your due date approaches, the excitement and anticipation can be overwhelming. if you’re like me, you’re diving headlong into planning and preparation. We all know vwery well that preparing for labor and delivery is a very important step in ensuring a smooth and positive birth experience.

I’m not scaring you but so many things can go wrong if we are not prepared for the delivery of our child. From creating a birth plan to packing your hospital bag, there are several things you can do to prevent mishaps and get ready for the big day. Now, let’s dive into some practical tips and advice to help you feel empowered and prepared for labor and delivery.

Creating a Birth Plan

First things first! A birth plan is a document that outlines your preferences for labor and delivery. It helps communicate your wishes to your healthcare team, ensuring everyone is on the same page. This should be printed and a copy given to your husband or caregiver in advance. Also have one with you at all times during your last trimester. You can also send a copy to your doctor if you want. Here are some key elements to include in your birth plan:

  1. Personal Information: Include your name, your partner’s name, emergency contact details, your due date, and the name of your healthcare provider and hospital or birthing center.
  2. Labor Preferences: Specify your preferences for labor, such as whether you want to move around, use a birthing ball, or labor in water. Indicate if you prefer a natural birth or if you’re open to pain relief options like an epidural.
  3. Pain Management: Outline your pain management preferences, including whether you want to use breathing techniques, massage, or medication. If you prefer an epidural, mention when you’d like it administered.
  4. Support People: Most Philippine hospitals would not allow a support person but there is a growing number of birth centers that allow this. List the people you want present during labor and delivery, such as your partner, a doula, or a family member. Make sure to include their contact information.
  5. Delivery Preferences: Specify your preferences for delivery, such as birthing positions, whether you want to use a mirror to see the birth, and if you want immediate skin-to-skin contact with your baby.
  6. Newborn Care: Include your preferences for newborn procedures, such as delayed cord clamping, immediate breastfeeding, and whether you want your baby to stay in your room or the nursery.
  7. Emergency Situations: Outline your preferences in case of an emergency, such as a C-section. Indicate if you want your partner present and if you want to hold your baby immediately after birth.

Packing Your Hospital Bag

Packing your hospital bag in advance ensures you’re ready to go when labor starts. Here’s a comprehensive checklist to help you pack:

For Mom

  • Hospital Paperwork, ID, and Insurance Card: Have copies of your medical records handy so your healthcare providers can easily review your medical history.
  • Birth Plan: Bring multiple copies to give to your practitioner and various nurses.
  • Comfortable Clothing: Pack a soft bathrobe, loose clothing, and a nightgown or pajamas. Include a going-home outfit that’s comfortable and easy to put on.
  • Toiletries: Bring your own shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, deodorant, and any other toiletries you use daily. Don’t forget lip balm and unscented moisturizer.
  • Slippers and Flip-Flops: Comfortable slippers for walking around the hospital and flip-flops for the shower.
  • Socks: Your feet may get cold during labor, so pack a few pairs of warm socks.
  • Pillow: Hospital pillows can be uncomfortable, so bring your own pillow with a brightly colored pillowcase to avoid mix-ups.
  • Snacks and Drinks: Pack some snacks and drinks for labor and after delivery. Check with your medical team about whether you can eat during labor.
  • Entertainment: Bring a book, magazines, a tablet with movies or series downloaded, or a music player to help pass the time.
  • Eye Mask and Earplugs: These can help you get rest in a busy and bright maternity ward.

For Baby

  • Going-Home Outfit: Pack a weather-appropriate outfit for your baby to wear home, including socks or booties.
  • Diapers and Wipes: The hospital will provide some, but it’s good to have extras on hand.
  • Blanket: A soft blanket for swaddling your baby and for the car ride home.
  • Car Seat: Make sure it’s installed correctly and ready to go. See my Baby Gear 101: Nursery & Gear Essentials for Rookie Moms for a discussion on whether you should invest in one.

For Your Partner

  • Snacks and Water: Labor can be long, and your partner will need to stay energized.
  • Phone and Charger: To stay in contact with loved ones and for entertainment during downtimes.
  • Change of Clothes: A change of clothes and toiletries for freshening up.
  • Small Pillow: Your partner might appreciate getting a bit of rest during downtimes.

Preparing Your Mind and Body

Labor and delivery require both mental and physical preparation. Don’t skip this and make it a daily habit including relaxation exercises and walking. I did not do this and was weak immediately after only an hour of labor. Here are some tips to help you get ready:

  1. Take a Childbirth Class: Childbirth classes cover relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, labor positions, and pain relief options. They also provide an opportunity to ask questions and connect with other expectant parents.
  2. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Techniques like prenatal yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help reduce labor pains and minimize anxiety. Check online for apps that can help you with this.
  3. Stay Active: Gentle exercises like walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga can help strengthen the muscles you’ll use during labor and improve your stamina. Trust me on this. You need your stamina!
  4. Eat Right: Fuel your body with nutrient-dense foods like lean meats, lentils, yogurt, wild salmon, nuts, veggies, and whole grains. Eating well helps keep you and your baby healthy and provides the energy you need for childbirth.
  5. Rest Up: Getting enough sleep in the third trimester will help you feel rested and refreshed. Try hitting the hay a little early and taking naps when you need them.

Managing Labor Fears

It’s completely normal to have some anxiety about giving birth. I had a hard time sleeping during my last trimester and it doesn’t matter if you’ve already given birth before. Here are some strategies to help you manage your fears of giving birth:

  1. Talk About Your Concerns: Share your worries with your partner, friends, or a healthcare provider. Discussing your fears can help you feel more supported and prepared.
  2. Seek Positivity: Avoid horror stories and seek out positive birth narratives. Hearing encouraging stories can help you believe in your ability to have a positive birth experience.
  3. Stay Informed: Knowledge is power. Understanding what to expect during labor and delivery can make the process feel less scary. Books, reputable websites, and your healthcare provider are great resources. Make sure they are reputable as its so easy to fall prey to mysticism, superstition, and fake information.

So there you have it. This is how to prepare for labor and delivery. Relax, deep breaths, and reread the entire article. take notes and have everything prepared so you can breathe more easily. I have prepared a Birth Plan Template that you can download and print here: Birth Plan Template. This is very important in ensuring a smooth and positive birth experience. By doing these steps, you’ll feel more empowered and ready for the big day. Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. Surround yourself with supportive people, stay informed, and trust in your ability to bring your baby into the world.

Don’t forget to sign up for my weekly pregnancy newsletter for more tips and tricks to help you navigate this incredible journey. You’ve got this, mom! Relax!

Related articles

You may also be interested in

New updates right into your inbox.


Never Miss A Story

Get our Weekly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.
Cookie policy
We use our own and third party cookies to allow us to understand how the site is used and to support our marketing campaigns.