Checklist for taking care of yourself during labour

  1. Light exercise (stretch, take walks, continue your kegel exercises)
  2. Pampering (get your haircut, bikini wax)
  3. Take a parenting class
  4. Read up on labour and delivery scenarios and procedures

Checklist to prepare a delivery plan

  1. Who would you like to have in the delivery room with you?
  2. What kind of environment do you want?
  3. Do you want to document the delivery (photography/video)?
  4. What kind of pain relief do you want?
  5. How would you want to deliver?
  6. Do you want your partner present if you have a caesarean section?
  7. Do you want your little one circumcised?

Checklist during at home

  1. Make sure the room is ready
  2. Buy a month’s worth of supplies
  3. Pack your delivery bag
  4. Cook extra meals and freeze for later; gather delivery menus
  5. Pay your bills (rent/cell phone/credit card) in advance
  6. If you have other kids, arrange for babysitters/relatives to care for them and provide instructions
  7. Fill up your car’s petrol tank
  8. Know the signs of when you should go to the hospital (ask your doctor)
  9. Come up with plans for different scenarios: if the husband is at work when you go into labour, if it happens in the middle of the night, etc.
  10. Prepare a list of numbers to call for when it happens

Checklist during at the hospital

  1. Make sure the room is ready
    1. delivery room
    2. maternity ward
    3. nurse’s station
    4. administrative area for processing and payment
  2. Pre-register at the hospital if possible
  3. Ask about hospital policies
    1. Visiting hours
    2. What items they provide (like diapers, maternity pads, toiletry kit)
    3. What you can and cannot bring (like food warmers, music players)
    4. Who can be in the delivery room with you
    5. How long can you stay postpartum
    6. Screening tests they give for postnatal

How to know that you’re in labour

  1. Stronger, more frequent contractions (ask your gynaecologist how far apart they should be before you head for the hospital)
  2. Thick vaginal discharge; your water breaks
  3. Strong back pain
  4. Pressure on your pelvis
  5. Diarrhoea

* When in doubt, call your doctor. If it happens at odd hours, proceed to the hospital. You might get sent home, but it’s best to be safe.