Preparing yourself mentally for childbirth takes quite a bit of practice and determination. It is common for humans to step into panic mode when something uncomfortable or out-of-the-everyday happens to us or someone around us. But in the case of a woman in labor, the mom-to-be and her support system need to remain calm for the benefit of everyone.
As the expecting mother, you will need to realize that the drive to the hospital will be un-medicated and you will be experiencing strong contractions. The standard advice from doctors is to wait for labor contractions to be regular and strong, occurring 4-5 minutes apart for at least an hour or two before making your way to the hospital.
Here are 5 things to keep in mind in preparation for the drive to the hospital:
- Prepare a bag for the drive and include items that you will need; such as- wet tissues, a washcloth, a towel, a blanket, spare chargers, spare keys, a shawl (in case your water breaks during the drive and you feel the need to cover up) and any thing else that you might personally need. During the hustle and bustle of the big day, the best of us tend to get overwhelmed and lose sense of our surroundings and focus solely on the mother. It’s best to keep spares as you’ll never know when they can come in handy.
- If your best route to the medical center is through traffic lights, you can use a sign that says “I’m in labor.” You can also turn on the emergency lights on your car so people on-road will know there is a case of emergency in your vehicle.
- During the tour of your birthing center or hospital, ask the staff where you can park when you arrive on the big day. Most hospitals have parking spots allotted to women in labor, with easy access to the entrance where you can find wheelchairs (in case mommy is finding it hard to walk through contractions.) Check the route to the labor and delivery room and map it out prior to the big day, so you can support mommy on her way.
- Think of things that will help you relax during a time that can, in all honesty, be pretty stressful. If watching the ocean calms your nerves, download a video ahead of time to watch and listen to during the drive. Create a playlist as the due date arrives- so you can sing-a-long or unwind to distract yourself, get a stress ball since you can’t squeeze your partners hand during the drive. Focus on remaining calm and positive, a strong and able mindset will allow you to journey in confidence and call shots if the situation requires it.
- If you’re driving the laboring woman to the hospital, make it a practice to fill up on gas during the last month of pregnancy because you don’t need to make the unnecessary stop to refuel on the big day. Remain positively confident of your driving capabilities and focus on making sure the mother arrives safe at the medical center. Take your time on the road, DO NOT rush and break traffic rules.
For The Expecting Mother:
If you feel the need to push and think you won’t make it to the hospital in time, don’t panic! Between 6,000 to 7,000 babies in America are born successfully en route to the hospital.
Maura Winkler, a Registered Nurse working with MamaNatural1 has listed 11 easy steps to give birth in a car:
- Pullover as you and your partner need to focus on the birth rather than trying to keep your eyes on the road.
- Call 911 for assistance. They may provide you with valuable instructions that can be specific to your situation.
- Put your ‘drive to the hospital bag’ in use and grab your towel, blanket and shawl and keep them close.
- The mother will assume whatever position is comfortable for her to give birth in so make room if necessary.
- The mother should either be 6-12 inches close to a soft surface for the baby to land on, or you would need to be prepared to catch the baby. No fancy maneuvers are required, just make sure the baby lands safe and wait patiently for the entire body to emerge.
- If you notice the umbilical cord coiled around the baby’s neck, don’t panic. You can unwrap it once the baby is delivered. DO NOT pull on the baby’s head, body or umbilical cord as it can lead to an unwanted risk of complications.
- After the baby has arrived, place it skin-to-skin on the mother for warmth. Cover them with a spare towel, blanket or even a shirt! Simultaneously dry the baby.
- While vigorously drying the baby, wipe its nose and mouth to help stimulate breathing. Focus on keeping the child warm on the mother’s skin. If the baby doesn’t cry or isn’t breathing, don’t panic. Continue talking to emergency services or call them if you haven’t already.
- A mixture of blood and amniotic fluid will gush from the mother’s body.
- The baby can remain attached to the placenta until it is delivered, which should take about 5-30 minutes. DO NOT pull or cut the cord.
- By this time, emergency services should have arrived with an ambulance to assist the mother and baby to the hospital.
If you need reassurance, here is an amazing video of a mother who delivered her baby in the car while driving to the hospital:
Keep your birth plan in your hospital bag for when you arrive and if you don’t, you know what to do! Call your midwife or healthcare provider during or after the delivery in the car for additional support. We hope you find this information useful and wish you the best for your childbirth experience.