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Labor and Delivery Preparations for Expecting Mothers

Updated on June 8, 2013

Prenatal Care

Prenatal care is extremely important. Once you know you are pregnant prenatal care helps keep the mother and baby healthy.

Prenatal care includes:

  • Regular doctor visits with an ob/gyn or midwife
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Healthy eating
  • Do not eat fish with lots of mercury
  • Healthy exercising
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Do not smoke, drink or use drugs
  • Stay away from secondhand smoke
  • Tell your doctor any medication you are on
  • Do not take any new medication unless your doctor gives permission
  • Do not go into a hot tub or sauna
  • Do not empty cat litter
  • Avoid x-rays


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Hire A Doula. (What is a Doula?)

A doula is someone who is trained in childbirth. She is there to provide emotional and physical support. She aids the mother in labor, deliver and postpartum. A doula is someone who can support the mother in natural births, cesarean births, births with pain relief medications, and emergency births.

From the beginning of time, women have always surrounded themselves with other women during labor and delivery. A doula stays by the birthing mother's side through the whole labor and delivery no matter how long it takes.

It has been studied that having a doula present at births, women are less likely to have pain relief medications, cesarean birth, and report having a more positive childbirth experience.

She does not take the place of a birth partner. She encourages participation from the partner, and helps guide the partner on how to support the birthing mother. The doula is often an advocate for the mother, encouraging her birth plan.

Attend A Birth Class

A childbirth class prepares the expecting mother and her birth partner for labor, delivery and postpartum.

Childbirth classes vary with information and pain coping techniques. Find a class that will help you feel most confident when it is your time to deliver.

Most childbirth classes teach:

  • Prenatal care
  • Healthy eating
  • Female anatomy
  • Signs of labor
  • Labor and delivery
  • How to count contractions
  • Pain coping methods
  • Vaccinations considerations
  • Circumcision considerations
  • Newborn care
  • Postpartum care
  • Breastfeeding

Interview and Choose a Peditrician

It is important to choose a pediatrician before you delivery your baby. Infant care begins the moment after the baby is delivered. Visits to the pediatrician begin the first week of the infant's birth.

Choose a pediatrician practice that makes you feel comfortable. Your pediatrician should be knowledgeable, compassionate and great with infants, babies and children. A good pediatrician will answer you all your questions and worries about your newborn.

You can interview a few pediatricians before you decide.


What to Pack for The Hospital or Birth Center

Has your bag packed, or your home prepared for a home birth. Here are some ideas on what to pack for your birth place.

For the mother

  • Picture Id
  • Insurance card
  • Underwear
  • Pajamas
  • Robe
  • Nursing Bra
  • Toiletries
  • Ponytail holders
  • Slippers
  • Socks
  • Cell phone
  • Cell phone charger
  • Camera
  • Camera charger/batteries
  • Video camera
  • Video camera charger/batteries
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Sports Drinks
  • IPod/music player
  • Money
  • Glasses/contacts
  • Gift for an older sibling to give when they come to visit
  • Notepad/ pen or pencil
  • Phone list
  • Over night maxi pads

For the baby

  • Correctly installed car seat
  • Diapers
  • Blanket
  • Hat
  • 3 or 4 outfits
  • Wipes

For the birth partner/dad

  • Picture ID
  • Insurance cards
  • Toiletries
  • Cell phone
  • Cell phone charger
  • Change of clothes
  • Coffee
  • Socks
  • Something to read
  • Money
  • A gift for your partner who just gave birth
  • Glasses/contacts
  • Notepad/ pen or pencil

Optimal Fetal Positioning

A mother's position and movement in the final weeks of pregnancy can influence the way her baby positions himself or herself. The position of the mother, how she sits, sleeps and reclines is prevalent on how the baby lies and descends into the pelvis. Ideally, the head of the baby will be down in the pelvis and the feet towards the mother's heart. At the same time it is ideal for the baby's back to be towards the mother's bellybutton and away from her spine.

A posterior position is when the baby's head is down and the baby's back is resting on the mother's back. A breech position is when the baby's head is up towards the mother's heart and the feet are down in the pelvis. Both of these positions have been shown to have longer painful labors and increase the likely hood for a cesarean birth.

Therefore, a mother can aid in helping the baby to descend in an optimal fetal position. The baby's back is the heaviest side of the body. How the mother's positions herself will encourage the baby's back in the womb. Here are some suggestions on how to encourage the baby to be in the anterior position for birth, the baby's head is down, with the back of his head slightly towards the front of your stomach.

  • Sleep on your side
  • Do not recline when you are watching TV
  • Do not sleep on your back
  • Do not sit in recliners
  • Do not sit in the car with the seat reclined back for long periods of time
  • Spend some time of your day kneeling on all fours

Signs Of Labor

Possible signs of labor
Preliminary signs of labor
Positive signs of labor
Backache, Vague, low, nagging; may cause restlessness
Bloody show. Passage of blood-tinged mucus from vagina; pink or red
Progressing contractions. Become longer, stronger, and closer together with time; are usually described as ‘painful’ or ‘very strong’ and are felt in the abdomen, back or both.
Menstrual-like cramps. May be accompanied by discomfort in thighs
Leaking of amniotic fluid from the vagina. Caused by a small release of membranes; leaking of bag of waters
Gush of amniotic fluid from the vagina. Caused by large release of membranes.
Soft bowel movements. May be accompanied by intestinal cramps or digestive upset
Non-progressing contractions. Tend to stay about the same length, strength, and frequency; pre-labor contractions that may last for a short time or continue for hours before they go away. (Braxton-Hicks)
Feeling a strong need to push.
Nesting urge. An unusual burst of energy resulting in great activity and a desire to complete preparations for baby
Feeling 'flu' like symptoms.
Baby's head is crowning.

Discharge Differneces in Pregnancy and Labor

Amniotic Fluid
Vaginal Discharge
Usually clear or pink. If brown or green, indication presence of meconium, your doctor will want you to go to the birth center immediately.
As you have probably noticed, usually yellow.
May be clear, pink, or creamy yellow.
Faintly Sweet, somewhat organic. Like clean, unpolluted ocean water.
Like ammonia.
Usually odorless. If it smells foul, may indicate infection.
Comes out in any position and in spite of kegel exercise.
Will not come out if kegel is held tight. More likely to come out during stress.
Usually comes out upon standing or sitting after lying down.
Once the amniotic sac is releases, fluid will continue to drip out every few minutes until the baby is born. Regular trickles or gushes are a good indicator of released membranes.
Usually only comes out once, during stress.
Usually only comes out once, most likely in the morning. Small gushes of fluid may also come out after bathing, swimming or sex.
Use the acronym C-O-A-T to remember what to look for. C-Color, O-Order, A-Amount, T-Time.

© Copyright Carly Sullens 2013. All Rights Reserved.


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    • Learning in Life profile image

      Megan Sisko 4 years ago from SW Florida

      Your information on the different discharges and distinguishing them is a must read! I know I questioned a million times what fluid I was finding. I was constantly thinking I was in labor. lol

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Truly informative and chalk full of a ton of useful, as well as helpful information for all mothers-to-be. Seriously great read and share. Thanks Carly!! :)

    • NornsMercy profile image

      Chace 4 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      This hub is amazing and very helpful! It's so full of information and formatted so that it's really easy to read. Voted up and a few other things :)