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Pregnancy Weeks 38-Birth - Page 9

Healthy Pregnancy Newsletter
Healthy Pregnancy Newsletter - Planning Ahead

Pack for the hospital ahead of time

You never know when it will be time to go to the hospital, so now is the time to pack your bags, and have them ready. Experienced moms have found packing two bags, one for labor and the other for the hospital stay, is best. Take the labor bag with you into the hospital, but leave the hospital bag in the car. Be sure to leave jewelry and valuables at home. And don't forget to put the baby's car seat in the car! You can't leave the hospital without one.

Labor bag

  • Health insurance card or proof of insurance
  • Snacks and beverages for dad
  • Camera or video camera with extra batteries
  • Portable music player with earphones
  • Phone numbers of people to call with the news
  • Lip balm or petroleum jelly for dry lips
  • Socks and nonskid slippers
  • Your birth plan
  • Basic toiletries for both you and dad

Hospital bag

  • Several pairs of underwear
  • Two nightgowns (nursing style)
  • Two nursing bras
  • Bathrobe
  • Something to wear home (maternity clothes are best, as you won't fit into regular clothes at this point)
  • Going home outfit for your baby (be sure these have been laundered in advance)
  • Receiving blankets as well as a heavier blanket if the weather is cold
  • Absorbent, heavy flow sanitary napkins

Help with birthing?

In recent years, doulas have become a part of the birth experience for many families. A doula is a woman who is experienced in childbirth who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to women and their families during childbirth and postpartum.

According to Doulas of North America (DONA), a certification organization, a doula:

  • Recognizes the importance of birth as a key life experience.
  • Understands the process of birth and the needs of a woman in labor.
  • Helps the family in preparing for and carrying out their desires for labor and birth.
  • Stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout her entire labor.
  • Provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective point of view, and assists the family to get the information they needs to make good decisions.
  • Assists with communication between the laboring woman, her partner, and clinical care providers.
  • Recognizes her role in nuturing and protecting the woman's memory of her birth experience.

Doulas do not take the place of the father in the birth experience, instead, they work with him to encourage and help him be supportive. Although some doulas are nurses, they do not function as a nurse during your labor or take over the responsibilities of the hospital nurses. If you want to use a doula, check with your health care provider and the hospital to find out about specific policies. Fees for doulas will vary, depending on whether they assist only with labor and birth, or they help with postpartum after your baby goes home.

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