Preparing for your baby’s birth can be frightening as there’s so much information thrown at you that you feel completely clueless most of the time.
Remember that millions and billions of women have been through what you are experiencing and that you are not alone.
To help make your pregnancy easier, Kids Connection has prepared a list of different topics to help you prepare for your baby.
1. Mommy and baby Checklist for labour and delivery
2. What to wear during labour
3. How to have easy labour
4. How to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks and true labour
Real labour compared to how it’s portrayed in movies
Labour is clearly nothing like how it’s portrayed in movies, where water breakage is the only concern actors worry about.
New moms are often clueless about what they will need during labour, delivery and postpartum but this doesn’t mean that mom is destined to be a bad parent.
With no knowledge of what to pack, moms will often over pack and bring a ton of things they don’t need. But hey, better safe than sorry, right?
Mommy and baby checklist for labour and delivery
For mommy, it is advisable to pack your clothes and toiletries like any away from home stay and also have your medical records handy, so that your doctors can easily see your medical history.
§ Pack of maternity pads
§ Lightweight, front opening cotton pyjamas (one set per day)
§ Three feeding bras
§ Maternity pads
§ Slippers and socks
§ Hairdryer and brush
§ Money (at own risk)
§ Black pen and copies of ID documents of both parents (for birth registration)
§ Set of clothes and shoes for going home.
§ Two facecloths (preferably dark-coloured)
§ All chronic medication, pregnancy vitamins, etc.
§ Cell phone, charger and double adapter (at own risk)
It is advisable to aim to have your hospital bag ready between 32 and 35 weeks.
You can start earlier because by the time you reach 35 weeks you might be too tired to do anything or the baby may decide to come earlier than expected.
You may start to write down all the essentials you and your baby will need from the 28th week which is the beginning of your last trimester.
For the baby you can pack:
§ Five sets of clean baby clothes; vest, Babygro’s, wrapper/receiving blanket, socks, beanie
§ One warm blanket
§ A pack of new-born nappies
§ Baby wipes
§ Petroleum jelly
§ Surgical spirits
§ Cotton wool
§ Cleansing lotion
§ Baby beanie
§ Disposable panties
§ Small changing mat
What to wear during labour
Things such as what to wear during labour may seem silly but that is a serious concern for first time pregnant women.
The hospital offers gowns to moms who are not worried much about the clothing they wear on the day they give birth.
However, it is not a must for patients to wear those gowns.
It is also important to remember that photos might get taken on that day and end up on social media. So, be sure that you won’t mind posing for a photo while wearing a hospital gown
Healthline has advised those who really don’t want to wear anything issued by the hospital to keep to the following considerations in mind:
• Keep it washable. All manner of bodily fluids could be flung about during labour and delivery. Don’t wear something that can’t be washed or thrown out completely.
• Stay open. Easy access to your belly and genital area will be required frequently. Between IVs, epidurals, fetal heart-rate monitors, cervical checks, and more, it’s easier on everyone if you’re mostly undressed or wearing something that allows for quick access.
• Allow for movement. You may end up walking the halls or moving about during labour. Keep in mind that something that allows for movement and provides some coverage could be important.
• Show some skin. Skin-to-skin contact with your newborn is essential after delivery. If you’re breastfeeding, you won’t want to struggle with your clothing.
Guidelines to make labour more comfortable
1. Eat well
3. Take childbirth classes
4. Avoid excessive sleeping during pregnancy
To have an easy labour and a healthy baby, moms to be are advised to stick to a healthy diet.
Some people mistake eating for two as a licence to indulge in an unhealthy diet, but it is quite the opposite.
What does eating for two mean?
Eating for two means eating healthy because your growing baby is vulnerable to toxins, and he or she needs all the nutrients you can provide to grow into a strong and healthy baby.
What are the benefits of eating healthy during pregnancy?
- Reduces complications
- Ensures a healthy weight for your Baby
- Sets the stage for good health
- Helps you lose weight faster
- Eating healthy during your pregnancy can reduce the risk of escalating high blood pressure during labour and it can reduce complications during labour.
For women who want to lose pregnancy weight faster, sticking to a healthy diet during your nine months pregnancy period could be a great benefit.
A healthy diet for a mom to be = A healthy baby.
Unborn babies indulge on their mommy’s diet, which means that if the mother is eating healthy, then health complications for the unborn baby will be avoided.
Exercise during pregnancy
It is very common for first moms to be very cautious during their pregnancy to avoid complications; however, it is advised for moms to be to exercise in order to have a smooth and easy labour.
Exercising during pregnancy is highly advised especially if you were already physically active before you were pregnant.
However, now that you are pregnant you must remember to take it easy because it is not the time to be exercising for weight loss as you were before.
If you want to start on a new exercise routine, you should consult your health care provider.
The benefits of exercising during pregnancy:
1. Improves your mood
2. Improves your posture
3. Helps you sleep better
4. Increase your energy
5. Promotes muscle tone, strength, and endurance
Types of exercise to keep you fit and healthy during your pregnancy
1. Brisk walking: Taking walks 30+- minute walks around your neighbourhood is advised to provide a cardiovascular workout without too much impact on the knees and ankles
2. Swimming: Apparently the buoyancy offered by the water may offer some relief from the extra weight.
3. Stationary cycling: It helps raise the heart rate without putting too much stress on the joints.
4. Yoga: Prenatal yoga classes keep the joints limber and help maintain flexibility.
5. Low-impact aerobics: Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and lungs and helps maintain muscle tone.
6. Squatting and pelvic tilts: During labour, squatting may help to open the pelvis.
Take childbirth classes
Finding out you are pregnant can be overwhelming and stressful as you constantly ask yourself if you will be a good mother to your child, will you be able to make it out of the delivery room alive? Will you be able to carry the baby to full term?
What are the benefits of childbirth education classes?
Seeing other moms too be slaying their baby bump in class can limit your stress and boost your confidence.
Taking the childbirth classes with your partner will create a special bond.
You will learn about pain relief options, relaxation, breathing techniques, medications and so on.
Avoid excessive sleeping during pregnancy
Pregnant women struggle to resist sleep. Sleeping is also likely to be the first sign of pregnancy they may notice.
How can I tell the difference between Braxton Hicks and true labour?
Braxton hicks can be easily confused with real labour pains, especially by first-time moms.
What are Braxton Hicks?
Braxton Hicks are false labour pains that come and go within minutes. They prepare your body for real labour pains.
However, they are not a sign of labour or an indication that labour has begun or will begin soon.
How early can you feel Braxton Hicks?
Braxton Hicks may feel like menstruation pains, but they do not cause labour or open the Cervix.
When can you start having Braxton Hicks contractions?
Braxton hicks usually occur during the second trimester, they are contractions that feel like real labour but usually lessen as you move or change your body position.
What to do when you experience Braxton Hicks?
• Take a walk. False labour contractions often stop when you change position or get up and move.
• If you’ve been active, get some sleep or rest.
• Relax by taking a warm bath or by listening to music.
• Get a message.
• Baby “drops”
• Cervix dilates
• Cramps and increased back pain
• Loose-feeling joints
• Weight gain stops
• Fatigue and “nesting instinct”
• Vaginal discharge changes colour and consistency
• Stronger, more frequent contractions
• Water breaks
Around your 8th month of pregnancy, your baby will likely descend into your pelvis.
The reason for your baby to drop is because he/she is preparing to make his or her grand entry into the world.
Slightly your cervix will start to open as it also prepares a door for your baby.
Cramps and increased back pain
Cramping and back pain means that your body is preparing your muscles for the birth of your baby.
This is also another sign that nature is preparing your body to push your baby out.
Diarrhoea is also a sign of labour, but not all women experience this sign.
You might experience frequent bathroom breaks because your baby’s head is pushing down your bladder.
Am I Going Into Labour? Should I Call the Doctor?
Being pregnant for the first time, you can never be really sure if you are having real labour signs or false labour.
Call an ambulance if:
• If you experience something that you don’t understand, for example, more painful and longer contractions that are becoming constant then you should call an ambulance.
• If you experience any bleeding or bright-red discharge.
• Your water breaks
• You experience blurred or double vision, a severe headache, or sudden swelling.
Pregnant moms should be ready for the birth 32 weeks into their pregnancy to avoid last minute rush and remember:
- Enjoy a healthy diet
- Exercise regularly
- Take childbirth classes
- Avoid excessive sleeping during pregnancy
- Get to the hospital if you start experiencing signs of labour