Moms who are mentally prepared for their babies to arrive may still have a lesser clue how things are going to work at the hospital. This is a different day from the rest. What you know is that you will have your delivery at the hospital with a team of doctor and nurses to assist you in birth. After birth, the baby will be brought to you and depending upon the birth type, you both will get to leave the hospital sooner or later.
This is a summary of what happens at the hospital and what all mothers have an idea of.
Let’s begin with a detailed description on how your day will proceed till the delivery and thereafter when your due date arrives.
If you are planning for natural birth, waiting for the labor to start on its own, you will remain at home until your contractions gain consistency. If you look forward to having induced birth, you would be advised to visit the hospital before your contractions start.
Initially, you will experience contractions once every one or two hours. Your doctor will advise you to come to the hospital when the contractions become strong and consistent—four to five minutes apart. Your midwife or doctor will ask you a few questions to determine if it is really necessary for you to arrive at the hospital or you could still wait and relax at home.
The First Stage Of Labor
Once you reach that stage where the regular contractions are taking over your comfort—leave for the hospital. You can directly go to the labor and delivery room. The nurse will attach a fetal heart rate monitor to your belly to see whether the baby is doing fine. The consistency of your contractions will also be measured.
If your water has broken they will do a swab test to determine whether it is the amniotic fluid that is leaking. Wait for the cervical checkup—wherein they will see how much has your cervix has dilated.
There are two ways at the end of this medical checkup.
- If they find that the contractions are sporadic and there isn’t much dilation, they will probably send you home. There are many factors that decide if you must stay at the hospital or not.
- If the contractions are strong—you are in acute pain and cervix is dilating, there is no going back home without the baby.
You will be given a loose hospital gown that will comfortably hang over you. The nurse who is assigned to you will be your point of contact for all the procedures and information.
How you will progress through the labor will be determined in the next couple of hours.
If you plan to go medication-free, you might just wait for the baby and your body to respond. You may or may not have the permission to walk around—check with your hospital. You could have a warm shower—if there is one at the hospital—to relieve the pain. Your baby’s heart beats and your contractions will be monitored on and off to determine the status of the labor.
Epidural And Delivery
You may opt for an epidural if the pain becomes unbearable or you want to be easy on yourself. It may take time for the anesthesiologist to arrive, probably for a half an hour or 45 minutes—so you may still have to bear the pain for some more time. Once you receive the drug, you will spend the rest of the time on the bed—there will be regular monitoring of your and baby’s health.
You will also be provided with a urinary catheter after the epidural is administered. An intravenous fluid administration will follow to prevent dehydration.
There is also an option for IV medication to relieve pain and make the mother feel relaxed. However, there are pros and cons associated with it. Consider talking to your doctor about it, of course not before you land in the delivery room.
Your nurse would come to check on you from time to time. The doctor would arrive once you are ready to push. That moment when you feel the pressure below and the urge to push is irresistible, call upon your obstetrician (OB).
The OB will make sure your cervix is completely dilated (up to 10 centimeters) before proceeding. She will the guide you into pushing—she will tell you how hard to push and remind you to keep breathing.
Every pregnancy is different so is every labor and birth. Some mothers might have intense contractions but the labor will be prolonged. For others, it may involve a few sets of pushing and whoosh! The baby is out.
After The Vaginal Birth
The doctor will check the breathing and color of the baby and, then, will keep the infant on your chest for a skin-to-skin contact. In case there are any issues, the baby will be put on the warmer in the delivery room until the NICU takes over.
You and your baby will be close together for two hours after birth so that they acclimatize to the outside conditions. You will be monitored for excessive bleeding and for the 3rd stage of labor when you will deliver the placenta.
Your baby will also be weighed and a medical check-up will be done to calculate the APGAR score. You may breastfeed and cuddle the baby—after which you will be taken to the postpartum room along with your baby.
In almost all cases, a cesarean will be a planned and scheduled. A team of doctors is also ready in case there is a requirement for an emergency c-section. As per the appointment, you will be expected at the hospital on the scheduled day and time.
The preparations take between half and hour to a complete hour. If in case you have an emergency c-section, you would already have had an epidural by then. The anesthesiologist will ask for your medical history or allergic reactions to drugs before giving you an anesthesia.
The preparations also including shaving the pubic hair—not completely, just a little near the area of the incision. You will also be taking medication through IV fluids and catheter because you won’t be able to move around afterward, for a couple of hours.
You will be awake on the operation bed, but there will be a curtain to block you from seeing the surgery. Although you won’t feel any pain, you will feel the pressure and lots of pushing around as your baby will be pulled out from the womb.
You might hear the first cry of your baby—this is the amazing moment marking your baby’s arrival in the world. The umbilical cord will be cut and your baby will be taken to the warmer in the same room. They need to be checked upon and you need suturing, so you would have to wait for a little while to hold them for a cuddle. Your bundle of joy awaits you, hold in there.
Once you are in the recovery room, you will have ample time to spend with you newborn—these days most hospitals practice keeping the mother and the baby together. Your OB will be visiting you there every day till you are ready to go home, so will your pediatrician. You will be staying there for 2 days in case of vaginal delivery and 4 days if you had a c-section.
To deal with the pain after the surgery, you will be given painkillers. You will be advised not to lift anything heavier than your baby and to keep away from any strenuous physical work.
You can ask for advice on baby care from the nurse who may guide you on breastfeeding and right baby sleeping positions. You will also be advised on taking the right food and drinking lot of fluid to heal faster. This time you get the opportunity to bond with your baby—some babies are a given bath at the hospital before they are ready to leave for home.
Once you have completed your time at the hospital and doctors ensure you are doing fine, you are fit to go home with your bundle of joy.
Tips Before Visiting The Hospital
Finish With The Paperwork Beforehand
This is a piece of advice that you can thank us for later. Register at the hospital before you find yourself arriving there in pain and labor. This includes providing the hospital with insurance details and filling out few forms here and there. It will keep you stress-free and prevent a hustle on or after the day of delivery—you and your partner can peacefully enjoy a good time with your baby after birth.
Pack Up Your Bags And Snacks
Be prepared for the day—set aside 3-4 sets of comfortable clothes you are going to take along for your stay in the hospital. Keep few snacks with you or ask a family member to pick some eatables for you.
After your baby is born, a lot of people will come and visit you at the hospital or at home. Ensure that you have enough rest after your delivery and set a time for meeting and leisure.