With nine months to prepare yourself for the day your little one arrives, it is still hard to wrap your head around everything that the day brings with it. The tremendous occasion of bringing a life into the world, often makes mothers-to-be forget the tiny details that essentially make the day go that much smoother.
Whether you are having a home birth, a natural birth in hospital or a caesarean, there are definite checklists that you can have to make sure you don’t forget a thing.
If you are booking into a hospital for the birth, make sure that you have done the pre-authorisation with your medical aid. Find out what documents the hospital will need from your medical aid and put them in a folder in your handbag ahead of time.
When you arrive at the hospital, whether it is after your water has broken or for a scheduled delivery, go straight to the reception and give them these documents. Some hospitals will require your ID book, and all will need your medical aid card.
Hopefully, by the time D-Day has arrived for you, you will have a bag packed for both you and the baby. Depending on whether you are going to a private or government hospital, find out ahead of time if you need to provide your own bedding.
Here are some essential items that should be in your hospital bag:
- Feeding bras
- High-waisted cotton panties
- One or two comfortable sets of pyjamas (with the top being a button down especially if you plan on breastfeeding)
- A nipple cream
- A nipple shield (in case you battle with breast feeding)
- Comfortable clothes to go home in (stick to your maternity clothes for this)
- Personal toiletries
- A good book or something to occupy you while you are waiting
- Thick maternity sanitary pads
- A camera with spare batteries
- Cell phone charger and adapter for the plug
- Hand sanitiser
- Babygros chosen according to the season
- Newborn nappies
- Bum cream
- Baby lotion
- Baby soap
- Surgical spirits (to clean the umbilical cord)
- Cotton wool buds
- Soft face cloth
- A sterilised dummy (if you intend to give one)
- Baby bottles (depending on whether you can/want to breastfeed)
- Newborn formula (depending on whether you can/want to breastfeed)
Now that you have your bags packed, it is important to know what to expect once you have been admitted. Remember that your doctor or midwife is not just there to deliver the baby, you should ask them any questions you need to regulations on what can and cannot be done, but remember that this is one of the most important days of your life, so don’t be scared to ask for what you want.
Things you should find out beforehand:
- Are you allowed to have personal items in the delivery room or theatre to make you feel more comfortable?
- How many people are allowed with you during the birth?
- Can you do things such as play music during the procedure to relax you?
- Who do you need to talk to, to ensure that your birth plan is carried out to your wishes (a birth plan stipulates what you would want to happen medically, if you want pain intervention, etc)
- Who do you need to talk to, to ensure that your newborn care is how you want it (latching immediately after birth, umbilical cord cutting, having baby in the room with you, not having baby bottle fed by nurses etc).
- If you are having natural birth, make sure you chat to your doctor about what pain relieving procedures you want, if any.