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How do I get ready for labor?

Dr. Darria Gillespie, MD
Emergency Medicine Specialist

First of all, congratulations! Prepping for baby’s arrival is such an exciting time. Most OB’s suggest starting your preparations around the 34th week of pregnancy.

  • Pack your hospital bag. Lots of lists are available online to help, but some of my must-have items were my phone charger, flip-flops, any cameras you’ll need, anything you’ll want for those first baby photos, nursing supplies, toiletries to make you feel human, and an extra empty bag to carry all the new stuff you get at the hospital.
  • Arrange for someone to take care of any needs at home—who will feed your pets? Take care of your other children? Try to designate a single person who can be your point-person for communications—that way, when you’re in labor, you make one phone call, and that person picks up the kids, checks in on your home, or makes other calls. When you’re headed to the hospital in labor, you DON’T need to be coordinating 10 different people. 
  • Tour your hospital. Hospitals can be confusing (this said by someone who has worked in a hospital for years). They’re especially confusing when you’re in labor and trying to find the correct entrance. I recommend new parents have a tour of where they’ll be delivering, so getting there is a snap. 
  • Plan transport. Driving while you’re in labor isn’t the greatest idea… but may be something that entirely slips your mind until you’re in the scenario. Plan someone you can call or way to get to the hospital that doesn’t involve you having to be parking your own car. 
  • Plan for leaving the hospital. You made all these plans to GET there—but what about leaving and taking little one home? There are a few things that you MUST have—one includes an installed car-seat, as the hospital requires this before leaving. While you’re planning homecoming, take a minute to pack clothes for you and baby—you will have many pictures of the first trip home!
Martha Kathleen Dwight
Nursing Specialist

To get ready for labor, make a list of things to do and people to contact when you go into labor and after the birth. You might also take childbirth and breastfeeding classes in preparation for labor and the birth.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.