Eeekk! Are you so excited? I remember reading up on hospital births, epidurals, natural delivery, birth plans, and all the other important delivery topics when I was expecting my first baby! Educating yourself is fun and so valuable. After having 2 hospital births and 2 home births go perfectly, I’ve compiled a list of my 10 best practices to have a great hospital birth! Let’s get you ready to have a baby the way you want to!
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10 Best Practices To Have A Great Hospital Birth!
Get Ready, Get Set!
#1. Make a birth plan.
Don’t listen to the critics. Birth plans are a good idea. During the months leading up to your baby’s delivery, you have lots of time to consider your preferences. When you are in labor, it is much more difficult to think clearly.
Having your standards and heart’s desires written out will help everyone. The hospital staff will know where you stand and you won’t have to tell them or try and remember in the midst of birthing a baby!
#2. Consider pain management options.
Do you want a natural childbirth? (I had 4. It’s completely possible) Are you ok with some pain medication but not others? Do you even want to be asked about pain? Yes, you can instruct the hospital staff to not even mention it! Do your homework.
Decide ahead of time what you have peace about and what’s off-limits. (This isn’t about being a hero. I never expected a pat on the back for my natural childbirths. It was about my preferences and having MY desires met for MY baby. Same for you.)
Hospital Birth Visitors
#3. Set visitor standards and requirements ahead of time.
You don’t need someone in the room with you during your labor saying, “dang girl… just get the meds!” If you are trying to go natural. Likewise, after delivery, you don’t need a room full of people if you are trying to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding success requires your baby having full access to your breasts, not hiding them under a cover so visitors aren’t uncomfortable while they chat.
Now is not the time for people pleasing. There’s plenty of time for visitors later on.
#4. Decide who you might like to have in the room with you during labor.
During my first labor, a dear friend came to wait at the hospital. She came into the room when I was about 2 hours away from delivery. It was an intense time. She immediately began gently scratching my legs. She didn’t have natural deliveries herself and probably thought I was crazy, but she kept all that to herself.
I was amazed at how she comforted me with just the right touch. Spoke only a few soft words of encouragement, and was truly a blessing! This is the kind of person you want in the labor and delivery room with you if you choose to have anyone at all.
#5. Ask that person (or people) ahead of time.
If you have someone as I mentioned in #4 that you’d like to have in the labor and delivery room with you, ask them ahead of time. She may need to make childcare or work arrangements.
Or she may not be comfortable with the idea at all. Have these talks far in advance so you are prepared when the day comes.
Talk to Your Hubby About Your Hospital Birth
#6. Get on the same page with your husband.
Talk through your desires, reality, and what you are willing to compromise on. My hubby knows me better than anyone. When my first labor got close to delivery, he kept the nurses out.
He knew if there was no one there for me to ask for medication from, I wouldn’t tell him to get someone. I am SO grateful for his insight into how my brain worked. I was beyond glad I hadn’t gotten any medication after my baby was born.
#7. Choose your pre-delivery conversations carefully.
For every 1 woman who will encourage you to pursue the labor and delivery you want, you’ll find 4 who’ll say, “you’ll change your mind, just wait and see!” Or “Haha… just wait!” You don’t need that.
Even if your labor and delivery don’t go exactly as you planned, their words don’t determine the outcome. They only serve to discourage you. All you need beforehand is support.
GO Have A Baby!
#8. Stay home as long as possible!
I can not stress the importance of this enough. The reasons why you should stay home as long as possible are understated and typically misunderstood. Let me explain. When you go into labor, the pain will be worse than you anticipated. It just will. You can not possibly understand what labor is supposed to feel like until after you’ve had a baby.
Therefore, when it starts, you’ll think it’s worse than it is. You’ll want to run off to the hospital thinking, surely you are about to have a baby. But no… when you get there you will likely find that you are indeed hours away from delivery. Only now, you are forced to stay in a hospital bed, without food and water.
There are many reasons to elaborate here. I am going to fight the overwhelming urge I have right now to be long-winded and save ALL this information for another “why you should stay home as long as possible when you go into labor” blog post.
Do some more research about the benefits of staying home as long as possible, or just take my word for it! Don’t rush off to the hospital at the first signs of labor.
#9. Be frank and assertive as well as overly kind to your labor and delivery nurses!
A good labor and delivery nurse will respect your wishes, encourage you, and offer her vast knowledge when you need to hear it. Regardless of the chemistry, you have with your L&D nurse, making her feel appreciated, her knowledge valued and her experience understood will only serve to help you have the labor and delivery you want.
You can not say please and thank you enough!
#10. Keep your perspective.
Remind yourself regularly that women birth babies every day. And have been doing so for thousands of years. I am kind of extreme. So, in order to keep my perspective, I would remind myself that surgery was performed before the invention of anesthesia.
Ya, nothing puts labor into perspective like the idea of having your leg amputated without numbing medication!
You Are Going to do Great!
Being prepared, knowing a glimmer of what to expect, and sticking to these 10 best practices greatly increase the likelihood of your hospital birth going the way you want it to. Choose your support system wisely, be good and stubborn, and be honest with yourself about the whole thing.
You won’t put your baby in danger. You’re too smart for that and you love that baby of yours way too much to risk its safety. You and I know that!
You can do this! And you can be a birth boss. I have faith for you. Your body was literally created to bring forth life. And I want all the beautiful details of your birth story when your precious one arrives!