Some women see natural childbirth as a painful and unnecessary experience due to the availability of pain relief at hospitals. Other women want the experience of childbirth without drugs or medication. If you choose natural childbirth, you may find it helpful to have a supply of other items ready when it is time to go to the hospital.
Many of the things that you take to the hospital will be for your own use and comfort. When you pack your bag, think about things that help to calm or distract you. Music, hot or cold packs, massaging items and soothing lotions or scents are all good ideas for distraction and pain relief. Most hospitals do not allow candles, but battery-operated tea lights may be relaxing. Snacks and sports drinks can help you keep your energy levels high. Pages of inspirational quotes or verses may help you to focus. Pack loose, comfortable clothing and dress in layers if you do not want to wear a hospital gown, but accept that things may get stained. Although the hospital may provide toiletries such as shampoo and toothpaste, you might prefer to take your own. If you are planning to breastfeed, take nursing bras and breast pads to the hospital.
Whether your birthing partner is your mother, your baby’s father or a midwife or doula, that person needs a bag as well. In this bag, ensure to pack extra snacks and drinks. Don’t forget cash for vending machines or the hospital cafeteria. Pack music, books and magazines for your labor partner and put him or her in charge of the camera if you want photographs after your baby is born. Ensure that your partner’s bag includes comfortable shoes and a change of clothes so that everyone is as comfortable as possible.
After all of the work of a natural labor and delivery, don’t forget that you will be bringing home a baby. Make certain that you have a properly-installed car seat in your car. Many hospitals will not let you leave until they verify this. Take a “going home” outfit for baby as well as a change or two of clothes. Most hospitals will provide diapers and wipes but you may want to take blankets or sleepers for your baby.
Many women aspire to have a natural childbirth and succeed. Other women make different choices once labor starts. Some women find that the pain of childbirth is manageable, while other women choose to use medications. Remember that how you give birth does not determine your worth as a person or as a parent. Listen to your body and your doctors and make choices that are best for both you and your baby.
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