Searching Google for the 10 Best Labor and Delivery Room tips for your future hospital stay? You’ve come to the right place! Grab a pen and paper and read on to get the good stuff!
Hey Mommas! Can you imagine showing up to your labor and delivery room, all excited to have your baby, only to have that sinking realization that your Nurse is a prickly bundle of sarcasm? Well, that was me nearly a year ago, and I WISH I had known the tips I am about to share with you. I wish I had known that I had the power to change it. So I created this list of the 10 Best Labor and Delivery Room tips specifically for you!
I wanted to illuminate the most important tips for in and after labor, to save you the guess work. A special shout out to all the first time soon to be moms, I am so excited for you! Anyways, you deserve to have the best information available to help you better prepare for your upcoming stay, so lets get started!
1.) You can request a different Labor & Delivery nurse
We’ve all experienced a nurse at some point in our life that was not nearly as kind or as attentive as they should’ve been. They probably stick out like a sore thumb in your memory because most nurses are fairly compassionate towards their patients.
So when it’s finally time to deliver that beautiful little baby you’ve been painstakingly creating all those months, you deserve a nurse that knows what the term “TLC” stands for, and how to give it.
But how would you even go about switching nurses you wonder?
⇒ Simply send your support person out to the L&D Desk to ask about switching nurses! Everyone just wants you to be happy and they get it, it happens.
Happy Momma = happy baby = happy EVERYBODY
⇒ If you’re solo, wait for the next arriving staff member that walks through your door to make the request
⇒ Feeling impatient? Dial the Labor & Delivery/Birthing Center front desk staff on your phone (or your rooms phone) to explain, and the problem’ll be fixed pronto, Preggo.
2.) Privacy Preferences
At some point in your pregnancy, you’ve likely heard someone’s emotional horror story of how a certain person or group of persons indirectly related to them (cough: mother in law, or the likes) ended up front and center in their delivery room right as they were giving birth. Not cool people, not cool. So the distasteful image you are now seeing in your mind (sorry, not sorry- just trust me, i’m actually doing you a favor here) brings me to point #2.
Your privacy rights. Most moms aren’t even aware that they can make privacy requests during their Labor and Delivery stay at the hospital for their guests.
But how, exactly? Because you are the head-queen-pregnant-boss-lady in charge, that’s how.
⇒So talk with your chipper (and extra friendly) L&D Nurse about your privacy expectations as you arrive and settle in, because they don’t always bring it up, and its important! Then you can focus on making the memories you do want and not the ones you don’t!
⇒ Think about what Privacy requests you may have and talk with your partner too, draft up a copy and keep it with your birth plan to give to your nurse
The Power of Privacy Requests: (What the Front Desk can do for you)
– Turn away guests away while you are in labor at your expressed request so you are not interrupted
– Directing any or all guests to remain in the waiting room until the Nurse gets your expressed consent for them to come visit you (Just think… Maybe you want your sister to join you as a support person, but not your mother in law and her entourage! Or visa versa.)
– They can even decline on your behalf to give out any acknowledgement that you are even at the hospital, if you so shall please
Postpartum Privacy Tip:
⇒ Tape up a simple hand written ‘Volunteers, please do not disrupt unless urgent’ sign on your hospital door at night (or even nap time)
Or order ahead and get a sweet “Shhh, Baby sleeping” sign to use both at the hospital and at home. It will come in handy long term, I promise you! From hospital room to home, your neighbors will wish they had thought of it too!
I promise you, this will greatly help cut down on the number of volunteers banging on your door in the middle of the night/nap time, waking you and your sweet sleeping baby. Often, (bless their hearts for trying) they are just checking to see if you need anything like water or a blanket. And as nice as that might be for the right person, its frequently brought to the wrong room.
3.) Refusal of Medically Recommended Treatment
When you begin to draft up a copy of your birth plan, keep in mind that you do in fact have the legal right to refuse any medically recommended treatment before, during and after labor so long as you are of sound mind. In the words of an article written by the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, “Patients are, by law, presumed to be decisionally capable unless formally determined otherwise.” I’ve skimmed it to save you time and here is what you need to know:
⇒ You can decline all sorts of things varying from an Induction of birth, to vaginal exams or even having a medical student present in your room for learning purposes. (Check out the link above for all the details)
⇒ Should you elect to decline any treatment or recommendation of treatment during your stay, the Hospital/Birthing Center will have you sign an Against Medical Advice form AKA an “A.M.A”, which documents the event occurred and your reason for declining treatment ⇒You are still entitled to all health care and treatment. The above linked article goes on to talk about how the medical staff cannot refuse to give you care or coerce you into doing something you don’t feel comfortable with. The form is just a legal thing, to acknowledge that they offered and you declined.
So just keep this in mind when you are getting ready to deliver your baby. If the Doctor on call arrives in the middle of the night and seems a little cranky for being woken up (How dare you have a baby in the middle of the night?!…Ha!) and they feel the need to mention half jokingly/half seriously that they can help move things along with a “vacuum assisted delivery or some foreceps if you don’t get pushing a bit faster”, you can now just smile and simply tell them that isn’t on the menu tonight, AKA: “NO.” 🙂
4.) Labor & Delivery Accommodations
Most first time moms (understandably) tend to think that laboring will be similar to what we see in all the movies. You know, the woman (with her glistening-and-sweaty-yet-perfect makeup) in the labor and delivery bed surrounded by extra concerned medical staff? After several pushes, her beautiful baby arrives. (Has anyone else noticed that the movie baby never looks like an actual newborn? I’m always distracted by the 4-6 month old wrapped up in newborn blankets!) Ok, sorry. Getting sidetracked! Back to the post. Insert, news flash here- it’s nothing like that. At all.
Laboring, especially with first babies is quite a process, normally. Often hours long. So you do not have to spend your whole labor experience stuck in that uncomfortable delivery bed! Trust me, no amount of pillows fixes the bed- I won’t lie to you. But these alternatives below can make a difference:”
⇒ Birthing ball
The birthing ball is a highly sought after commodity for many patients in most L&D Departments, so ask early if they can snag you one! They can be incredibly helpful in various positions before and during early labor.
⇒ Bathtub & Shower
Another great tool to ease the stresses of your upcoming delivery after arriving to your birthing suite is the bath and shower. The water itself can be very calming and soothing at this time to many Momma’s in labor. Go on, dip your toes in or take as long a bath as you fancy. Don’t be shy, take a dip. Today’s your day. You’ve earned it.
*The only catch to using these laboring accommodations is if you elect to have that magic epidural, they will require you to be on “bed rest” in that oh so lovely labor bed… Its an uncomfortable bed, if you aren’t getting my attempt at cute subtleties. Good news is, if you are into hypnobirthing (check out this interesting article by Babble if you are curious), or order the book (I make a commission for purchases made through the following link) so you can get started with some worthy preparations for your journey ahead! Either way, using any of these available tools, you can now deep breathe your way to a more comfortable state of relaxation till baby arrives.
5.) An Option with Epidural Placement
Listen up Momma’s! Pause those fetal kick counts for just a moment and re-focus with me, because this is one of the best labor and delivery room tips of all! If you are wanting to get an epidural BUT are any kind of skittish, squeamish or nervous about that future large Epidural needle that is about to be placed in your spine, this tip is for you.
⇒ You can make a special request for your epidural to be placed by the head Anesthesiologist working in Labor and Delivery that day.
⇒ In your next OBGYN appointment, be sure to discuss any nervousness or uneasiness you may have ahead of time with your Gynecologist so that they can put a note in your charts for the hospital. The hospital will be more likely to facilitate this request with a heads up.
I experienced this personally and it brought me great peace of mind as labor & delivery approached that I would be in the extra best of hands.
6.) Freebies & Lactation Consultants
Experienced (and typically female) Lactation Consultants, are on call most daytime hours in the Labor and Delivery Department of the Birthing Center for your benefit. They are a free and handy resource that can assist you with directions, coaching, or even a sympathetic listening ear to aid you on your new nursing journey. Nursing is not always an easy transition for new moms and they are here to help. Another perk is the freebies. They often (and gladly) hand out things like
⇒Medela Tender Care Lanolin and those magical Medela Hydrogel pads for your newly nursing and likely chapped nipples (ouch!! I know… and sorry for the TMI, but its true!)
⇒A new in box manual nursing pump* is also often available for you to begin using during your hospital stay, (courtesy of the birthing center and or your health insurance.) Just ask! It varies by location and availability but is a great resource for new mommies.
⇒ A newborn feeding bottle and formula is also available for baby, should you wish to supplement baby with newborn formula until your milk comes in a couple days later. (Some babies think they are starving those first couple days)
*If the hospital does not offer a pump, just ask for a prescription for one. Most insurance companies now conveniently offer one available with your plan. Though more pharmacists are starting to carry nursing pumps, (depending on location) you may need to go to a specialty medical supply store with your script to pick it up utilizing your insurance benefits. Just make the call ahead to save yourself the drive, so you know one is ready and waiting!
If you want to just have one ready and in your hospital bag, I recommend this pump and kit by BelleMa. You really can’t find a better one for the price, and it is better than the name brand equivalent in my personal experience.
*Planning or preparing to bottle feed your baby? I highly recommend Dr. Browns Baby Bottles (works wonders for newborns with colic and sensitive stomachs) well as Avent Baby Bottles (especially great basic bottle for newborns.)
7.) Postpartum Accommodations & Preparations for Departure
Right after baby is born, there will be this beautiful golden hour of time with your baby. Time stops and you are so in the moment that you don’t even notice when the nurse starts talking to you because of your super Momma focus on your precious newborn tucked safely in your arms. What she is telling you is that you are about to be moved to a “new room”. AKA: Your postpartum room. Its a much smaller and more basic room than the large open suite you delivered your baby in. You will have a new nurse. Things will be faster paced. There will be medical personnel coming in and out throughout your stay, to help you and baby get ready for your eventual departure, which is typically anywhere from 1 to 3 days.
⇒ Mentally prepare yourself ahead of time that your little one will have some tests done in the hospital. (I.e: Baby gets their first hearing test, as well as some quick heel prick blood work that is State required.
⇒A baby photographer may come in and offer to take pictures for a fee
⇒Baby will get their first bath, and the nurse that does this sweet job is usually great to coordinate with your schedule (Remember to get some pictures if you can!)
⇒Your Ob gyn will come to the hospital to see you and baby and discuss any health related topics before your discharge.
If there is availability in the Doctor or Surgeons schedule before you and your baby boy are discharged from the hospital, you may be offered the opportunity for Baby to have an in hospital circumcision.
⇒Verify with your insurance to find out if they cover this procedure because some insurance companies do not, and consider it “cosmetic surgery” (this is becoming more frequent as of late)
⇒Should you choose to forgo the procedure in hospital, its OK. There is still about an 8-10 day window of time that your OBGYN can still perform the procedure and they save spaces in their schedule for it to be scheduled right after baby is born
⇒After that first 8-10 day window of time, circumcision becomes a more complicated procedure that usually requires general anesthesia at a specialty clinic.
9.) Your baby’s Pediatrician
The hospital will want to know who your infants pediatrician is going to be, shortly after baby is born- so do make sure to find and have a confirmed OK from your shiny new pediatricians office. Plan to do this ideally between 28 and 34 weeks of pregnancy. If you are reading this in the hospital right now and don’t have a pediatrician, don’t worry-its not too late! This happens from time to time, and is especially common when moms go into labor unexpectedly early, so you aren’t alone.
Here are several ways to locate a pediatrician for any mom. The first is my favorite because you just type in some search criteria and hit GO!:
⇒Best Search Form: Try the American Academy of Pediatrics referral site at aap.org/referral.
⇒A great article to check out called “how to select a pediatrician” over at Parents.com has a more in depth look at finding the right pediatrician including some handy examples of questions to ask your future Pediatrician to better find your perfect match the first time round.
⇒Or go old school and start by asking your obgyn, family and close friends for some recommendations. Word of mouth is still a great tool!
10.) Early Leave vs. Extended Stay
We all love to pack for the hospital with a very particular idea in mind of how it’s going to go. We also all love to use one of those ‘what to pack for the hospital’ cheat sheets. What those cheat sheets don’t tell you is that they cannot accurately predict your stay. In other words, you don’t really know how your delivery will go and what might occur along the way for you or baby. We can hope and pray for the healthiest of outcomes for Mom and Baby, but we can also pack better with some planning. C-Sections are not always planned.
⇒ C-Section deliveries can add 2 plus days to your hospital visit, something to prepare for
⇒ Look to sisters or your own mother for hints at how your birth may go. Though not a guarantee, there can be hereditary delivery patterns within a family. Check out this post about it at babygaga.com
⇒ Pack an extra bag (with 2 to 3 days extra hospital clothes/toiletries for you) for the possibility of a longer stay
When you head to Labor and Delivery, simply leave this bag in your car in the hospital parking garage as a just in case. It will be the nicest gift to yourself to already have extra clean clothes, hand picked by you, ready and waiting should you need them.
⇒Occasionally, on the other end of the delivery spectrum with very easy and healthy deliveries, Mom and Baby are sometimes permitted to check out early.
Do try to think of your time at the hospital no matter the length, as an opportunity to learn and have supported help from the nurses, lactation consultants, counselors and more as you adjust to life with baby. Plus, you don’t have to cook or clean! Enjoy it 🙂
⇒When its time to leave, have your support person help take down some of your bags to your car just before your departure so they can then have free hands to help carry baby and the car seat to better assist you.
I recommend a car seat cover for your baby’s health and privacy, especially in those first few months of life. A great hack is to order a car seat cover that doubles as a nursing cover for you and baby both! This Car seat canopy nursing cover on Amazon has three uses, check it out! As a mom, the more uses for something, the less you need, the lighter you can pack. It doesn’t get much better than that!
If you like multiple purpose baby items, you will LOVE my post on it-just click on this link! It lists the best of the best products that deliver multiple uses for each.
Well Momma’s, there you have the Top 10 Labor and Delivery Room Tips!
I know they were lengthy, but I really wanted to give you the good stuff so you had everything that I felt really mattered from all of my experience in delivering babies in the back of the ambulance to my days in the Emergency Room, to nannying and raising my own children. I hope these aid you on your journey through labor and delivery.
Do you have a great Labor and Delivery room tip or another solution to a matter listed above?
Leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you!
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