Labour and the hospital
Practicality and preparedness are key. But the ability to jump sideways to 'Plan B' at any moment is just as important. In general, try to cover off all those things that can be taken care of before labour, so when the 'countdown' begins you can be relaxed and focused on supporting her.
Things to do beforehand
- If there is a hospital tour, take it
- Ask whatever 'silly' questions you may have including parking and after hours entrances etc. Don't be left wondering
- Make a list of things to take to the hospital, with your partner if possible. Your midwife can supply you with a basic one that you may add to. While you will ensure that all the necessities are packed for labour and the baby, it is important that you too are comfortable - you may be one of the main support people in the days following baby's arrival. Make the list inclusive of Dad's needs, including food
- Make sure your employer / work knows what is happening well in advance
- If you want to, have a stopwatch and some paper ready for timing and recording the contractions when labour begins. This is useful for deciding when exactly to leave home for the hospital
- Make sure you've considered the pros and cons of the various forms of pain relief for your wife or partner's labour and specifics like whether or not to have an 'epidural'. But remain flexible
- Ensure that family / friends know when you leave for the hospital.
Things to take
- Make sure you have telephone numbers on-hand for family and friends
- Take a camera, cash and toiletries as you may end up spending a while at the hospital
- Talk to your local Plunket centre and get your car seat organised in advance.
Things to do for the mother
- In the days or weeks before labour she may not always be sure of what she wants so offer to do things like rub her feet or hands or back for comfort
- Help around the house with domestic duties and cooking (freeze the leftovers for later!)
- She may have specific things she would like done so talk to her and keep offering suggestions
- Don't be offended if your efforts are not always acknowledged - remember how 'out of sorts' she is in this strange new space.