Ep 7: Getting Ready For The Hospital

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Are you thoroughly confused about what to pack for the hospital when you go to have your precious baby?

Trust me mama, you’re not alone!

So many women stress over what to pack in their bags for the hospital, and usually end up packing too many things they don’t need, and wishing they had packed other things they didn’t even think about.

As an Ob/Gyn, I’ve seen this happen time and time again!

Thanks to my years of experience with labor and delivery, I know the most important (and usually not thought of) items to include for you, your baby, and your partner.

Listen in to this episode as I go through each of those with you. I also address the common concerns of prepping “down there” before heading to the hospital.

"Your vagina doesn't need to smell like fruit, flowers, or herbs..." From Episode 7 Of The All About Pregnancy & Birth Podcast #podcast #pregnancy #birth

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Speaker 1: In this episode of the podcast, I'm helping you get ready for the hospital. Now I do mention that anatomically correct name of a female body part. It starts with the letter V, so grab some headphones if you feel like you need to

Speaker 2: Welcome to the All About Pregnancy and Birth podcast. I'm Dr Nicole Calloway Rankins, a board certified Ob Gyn physician and certified integrative health coach. Every week I break down topics, share birth stories, or interview experts to help you have your very best pregnancy birth and birth. The information is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. See the full disclaimer at www.ncrcoaching.com/disclaimer.

Speaker 1: Hello. Hello. Hello. I am delighted to have you with another episode of the podcast. So today I am talking about how to get ready for at the hospital and I am going to cover logistical information. I'll talk about what to bring for while you're in labor, what to bring for after your baby is born, what to bring for going home, what not to bring, some information for your partner, and finally, how to prep down there, ie your vaginal area. All right. Now before I get into the episode, I got to ask, did you hear about the new facebook group I created? It is called the All About Pregnancy and Birth Podcast Community. This is a great place to continue the conversation after the podcast, get insight, get tips, and just support one another along the journey of pregnancy and birth. I have an awesome community moderator in the group who is an experienced Doula, and of course I am in the group as well.

Speaker 1: All you gotta do is go to facebook, search for All About Pregnancy and Birth, or even just All About Pregnancy. It should be one of the first things that pop up. Request to join and your request should be reviewed and approved within about 24 hours. The link to join as also in the show notes, and you can find the show notes www.ncrcoaching.com/episode7, and that's actually for any of the episodes. That's where you'll always find the show notes, www.ncrcoaching.com, forward slash episode, and then the number. It's episode spelled out, so www.ncrcoaching.com/episode7. All right. Now let's talk about getting ready for the hospital. Before I forget, I have made a one page checklist that you can download just to help you to make sure you don't forget anything so you don't have to worry about writing anything down while you're listening and you can grab that one page checklist www.ncrcoaching.com/hospital-tipsheet. And that link is in the show notes as well.

: Okay, so let's get started. We'll start off by talking about some logistical tips. So you definitely want to try and register ahead of time at the hospital where you plan to give birth. Preregistering just means that you give the hospital your demographic information, so your name, your date of birth, your address. Also give them your insurance information ahead of time so that they already have you in their system. That way when you come in and labor, no one is asking you what your zip code is in the middle of a contraction. Now, many hospitals will allow you to preregister online, so definitely check and see if that is an option for you.

: Another thing you want to do as far as logistics is a dry run of where to park and where to go in the hospital. Labor happens whenever it happens, including the middle of the night and you do not want to be struggling to try and figure out where to park or where Labor and Delivery is at 2:00 in the morning. Now, a great way to learn about where to go is to take advantage of the tours that most labor and delivery units offer. However, if you can't make a tour, then do take some time to find out on your own. Now a backup option that works in a pinch is you can always go through the hospital emergency department and they will take you to labor and delivery, but sometimes the emergency department may be on the other side of the hospital, so you may get dropped off or your partner has to walk around and figure out where to go and all that kind of stuff. So if possible, figure out the best place to park and where to go before you actually go into labor.

Speaker 1: Now for when you're in labor, you want to know your GBS status. GBS stands for group beta streptococcus, and that is a type of bacteria. Now women, we all have bacteria in our vaginas. That's a normal part of having a healthy vagina. Now, outside of pregnancy, GBS is not a problem. However, during pregnancy, if you carry the group beta strep bacteria in your urine, in your vagina or around your rectal area, you could potentially transmit the bacteria to your baby and in rare circumstances, GBS will make a baby very sick. Now about 30 percent of women are carriers of GBS. We test for it with a vaginal and rectal swab between 35 and 37 weeks of pregnancy. And if you do carry GBS then you need antibiotics while you're in labor. Typically it's a penicillin family medication unless you have an allergy to penicillin. We didn't used to always do it like this. This is a change within the last, I dunno, five to ten years or so that all women are routinely tested for GBS and if you carry the bacteria, then you receive antibiotics while you're in labor.

: All right. Also for when you're in labor, you want to have a copy of your birth wishes. Actually, you want to have three copies of your birth wishes to bring with you to the hospital so you can give a copy to your nurse and to the doctors that are there and by birth wishes, this is also known as a birth plan. I try to stay away from the term birth plan because we can't really plan birth, birth is an unpredictable process. Your doctor can't plan birth. You can't plan birth. Really the baby has the most control over the birth process. Now, speaking of birth plans, I have a free one hour mini course on how to make your birth plan or birth wishes and the reason that this is an hour you may be like, what an hour to you know what in the world, but the reason that it's an hour is because a well done birth plan that actually accomplishes what you want, which is communicating your wishes for your birth, that takes some effort. It is not something that can be done by downloading a template or filling out check boxes on a form. Trust me, I have cared for hundreds of pregnant women. I have seen lots of birth plans and this is something that really requires some effort if you want it to be most effective.

: So I have provided a step by step process for making your birth plan and you learn two of the most influential factors in your birth experience. You really want to learn these two things before and understand these two things before you make your birth plan. I talk about tips on how to approach the process, questions to ask, more questions to ask if you plan an unmedicated birth, tips to make sure your doctor and nurses pay attention to your birth plan and then what to include. So you can register for that free one hour mini course www.ncrcoaching.com/birthplan, and that link is also in the show notes.

Speaker 1: All right, so moving on. Also while you're in labor, you want to bring some comfort items for your labor room. The environment of your labor room can have a big impact on your birth experience. You want your room to make you feel comfortable, to make you feel calm, to make you feel at peace. So definitely feel free to bring music. Whatever music you want, you know, make a playlist or have your spotify or Pandora or whatever you'd like. You can bring photos to place in the room. You can bring diffusers to do scented oils to help make your labor room feel very comfortable for you, and a pleasant place to be in labor. Now a tip that I've learned from the midwives that I work with, is stringing white Christmas lights in the room. I think white Christmas lights just help create such a nice calm, warm tone in the room. Hospital lights can be really harsh and I personally don't think babies should be born like in the bright lights of the hospital. I don't know. It feels startling to me, so I think white Christmas lights or dim lights in the room help create a nice, calm, warming tone.

: All right. Another thing you want to do is you want to bring comfortable shoes. If you are planning an unmedicated birth, especially then you will likely be walking around and moving around to help you cope with the contractions, so you want to bring shoes that are comfortable to walk in and they're easy to get in and out of it such as slippers for instance. Now I have seen people walk around in the hospital barefoot and I just, I can't get with that. It's the hospital and there's blood and bodily fluids and what not. Yes, of course they clean the surfaces and everything, but I don't know, I just do not think you should be walking around in the hospital without shoes on, so bring some comfortable shoes like slippers that are easy for you to get in out of and you can walk around comfortably while you're in labor.

Speaker 1: Next thing you want to consider bringing is some water gear. You know that getting in the shower or the tub, hydrotherapy, that's a great way to help manage contractions. And even if you plan to get an epidural eventually, if you want to do it in the earlier part, then it's a great way to help manage pain. Now, if your hospital's labor and delivery has a shower that you plan to use, just bring a pair of cheap throwaway flip flops to wear when you get in. Again, yes, hospitals get cleaned, but it won't hurt to have a little barrier between you and the hospital floor. It also helps keep you from slipping in the shower as well. Now, it's not really practical for you to wear shoes if you're planning to get in the tub, but you may want to bring a sports bra or a bikini top to wear when you get in the tub. You don't have to wear anything if you get in the tub, but if you want a little bit more modesty then a sports bra or a bikini top can help you feel comfortable while you're in the tub. Your partner can also bring flip flops to get in the shower with you and also bring swimwear to get in the tub with you.

: Now the last thing I want to talk about for things to have while you're in labor is something to occupy your time. If you are going to be induced or if you have an epidural, there may be long stretches of time where you're just kinda sitting around passing time and waiting for things to happen. On average, the active part of labor can last for eight hours, but your labor could be significantly longer than that and it can definitely be a longer process if you're getting induced. So bring your Netflix. Most hospitals have free Wifi you can connect to. Bring some books to read, some puzzles to do, bring some things to help occupy your time. ]

: All right, well let's move on to talk about stuff to have for after your baby is born. Now there is nothing quite like having your own stuff to make you feel more like yourself. When you have a baby, it's not a medical disease or a condition or a problem. In the vast majority of cases you just had a baby, so you don't need to wear a hospital gown during your stay if you don't want to. You also don't have to use the hospital provided toiletries. I think you'll feel better if you bring your own toiletries and bring some comfortable clothes to wear while you're hanging out in the hospital after your baby is born. Just be sure that the clothes open in the front or they can be easily pulled down so you can breastfeed without any trouble. So just bring like nursing bras or nursing tops. Those are great comfortable options to wear in the hospital and just some big loose sweatpants. That's plenty.

: All right, next thing you want to bring is some snacks because let's be honest, hospital food is not exactly gourmet. You may get hungry at times when the hospital cafeteria is closed. Like, I work nights, 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM, and the cafeteria is never open during that time. You just kinda have what's in vending machines. So bring a few of your favorite snacks to help keep you nourished during your hospital stay. They come in handy if you need a snack in the middle of the night.

: All right. Now when it's time to go home, you want to have a special going home outfit for your baby. I think that is such a nice memory. I still have the outfits that both of my girls came home from the hospital in. My older daughter, she was a preemie. She came home in this little like lime green, long sleeve, one piece jumper and my younger daughter, she had this little like pants and onesie set, it was red, black and white, so I still have those outfits still have those pictures. So it's a nice memory to have that going home outfit for your baby. Also bring a blanket to cover your baby as you're leaving. It'll help keep your baby warm and more importantly, it will help keep well meaning, but germie hands from touching your baby. Don't let people touch your baby, especially in the first few weeks after they're born and be sure that everyone really washes their hands before they touch your baby because if babies get any type of infection or get sick in those first four weeks or so, they get a battery of tests. So you really want to be careful in those first few weeks while their immune system is developing to not let a lot of people touch your baby and make sure that they wash their hands before they do so.

: Now, another thing you want to bring for going home, and this often gets overlooked, is just a little bag to carry home some of the items that you get while you're at the hospital. There's usually extra diapers and wipes and what not that the hospital provides. So just bring a little bag that's empty to carry home those extra items with you.

: Now let's talk about what not to bring. For obvious reasons, do not bring valuable jewelry. Do not bring lots of cash because you don't want your staff to get stolen. You also don't need to bring medications that you take on a regular basis. Typically the hospital will provide your medications for you, as long as it's something that's pretty common. If you take an unusual medication then you may need to bring it, but for the vast majority of medications, the hospital will provide it for you. You also don't have to provide diapers for your baby. The hospital will give you diapers. The hospital will also give you onesies for your baby, but they're kind of boring. They're usually like white little one piece things. So you can definitely bring your own outfits for your baby if you'd like. I personally don't think you need to bring a nursing pillow, like the bobby pillow. You can get by without it. That thing is kind of bulky, so it's a lot to carry and you can manage I think okay without a nursing pillow in the hospital. And then unless you have concerns about how to use your breast pump, your breast pump can stay home as well.

: Now, as for your partner, your partner should bring many of the same things that you do, including toiletries, including a change of clothes, the swimwear, if they plan to get in the tub or shower with you, flip flops. They should bring something to entertain themselves and also any medications that they may take.

: Now the last thing I want to talk about is prepping down there. You may stress about the appearance of your vaginal area and how that might be perceived by your doctor. Well, let me tell you, your doctor doesn't care, I promise. I promise. We see vaginas all the time and whether you are waxed or shaved or bedazzled, it really just does not matter. So don't stress if you haven't waxed. Don't stress if you haven't shaved. And also do not feel like your vagina needs to smell like fruit, flowers or herbs. Just plain old soap and water is enough. And even if you don't have time to clean up, you know that's not even a real requirement. We know that labor happens when it happens and a shower or wash up may not be feasible. So bottom line, come to the hospital when it is time for you to come. We will happily care for you as you are. And there's usually time if you want to, to kind of freshen up a little bit if you feel like you need to.

: Okay. So that's it for getting ready for the hospital. Don't forget I have that one page checklist that you can download www.ncrcoaching.com/hospital-tipsheet. And that link is in the show notes. Also, don't forget about the All About Pregnancy and Birth Podcasts Community Facebook group. Come join us. It is a great place to get and give support during your pregnancy. I have an experienced Doula who is the community moderator. I am in the group as well. Just head to facebook and search for the group or the link to join us in the show notes.

: Now, be sure to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and if you feel so inclined, I would really appreciate you leaving an honest review in iTunes. It helps other women find the show. Next week on the podcast, we will have a birth story. It is from a physician colleague of mine and it isn't quite what you might expect to hear from a physician. She actually used hypnobirthing for all three of her deliveries. All right. I will see you next week, and until then, I wish you a healthy and happy pregnancy and birth.

Speaker 2: Today's episode is brought to you by Women's Wellness Coaching by Dr. Nicole Calloway Rankins. Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to check out my free one hour mini course on how to make your birth plan, as well as my comprehensive online childbirth education class, The Birth Preparation Course with over eight hours of content and a private course community. The Birth Preparation Course will leave you knowledgeable, prepared, competent, and empowered going into your birth. Head to www.ncrcoaching.com to learn more.