Tuesday, December 11th, 2007
Top Eight Mistakes Pregnant Mothers Make at the Hospital
(As arm-twisted out of an American labor-and-delivery nurse by Thingamababy)
8. You don’t use your call light enough. When you need something such as pain medicine, help nursing your infant or just a cup of water, you sit and wait instead of calling for me. You don’t want to be a bother? Well, it’s not a bother. It’s my job.
[This point sparked some strong reader reaction. See my response below. If friends tell you your hospital is bad, look into getting a doula.]
7. You overpacked your hospital bag. It’s nice to have three bags of groceries, your entire music collection, and five suitcases with you in your room. If you throw up on your cashmere sweater, you’ve lost it. If you drop your $300 cell phone in the toilet, the hospital isn’t going to replace it for you. Bring what you need, but not your nicest things or so much stuff that it’s difficult for people to maneuver in the room.
6. You don’t drink enough fluids. Labor is a marathon, and
you need to drink and drink and drink. After labor, you need fluids to
replenish what you lost (sweat and blood). You are inundated with a
million issues now and it’s easy to forget. Dehydration is a real
5. Your doctor doesn’t know your birth plan. Those words you
wrote on a piece of paper are not a contract with the hospital. They
are your dream for your perfect birth experience. Sharing your dream with your nurse is great, but if your doctor isn’t familiar with it, you lose.
Talk to your doctor a few weeks before your due date. If you want
anything mildly controversial (for example, refusing an IV, fetal
monitoring or antibiotics), talk it over much sooner because your
doctor might not agree and you’ll need to find a different
4. You kept secrets from your partner. If you have a
sexually-transmitted disease, mental health history, drug dependency or
abuse history, it can impact your care, or your baby’s care. It may
cause strife with the people supporting your birth when they don’t
understand why you or the medical staff are doing certain things. The
more levels of deception you sustain, the harder you’ll find your birth
experience. Don’t let the birth turn out like a bad sitcom.
3. You have too many visitors while you’re in labor. There
are only two sides to your bed, two people per side. Anything more than
four means folks are standing around. Sometimes this even means a party
with people watching TV, eating Doritos and doing everything except
supporting your labor. Pick 2 or 3 people to help you and let everyone
else stay in the waiting room or at home. Individuals can trade places,
or “work labor shifts,” but don’t overload yourself with a lot of people in
2. You have too many visitors after birth. Your newborn is
waking every two hours to feed, and you need to sleep in between. It’s
natural for people to visit to share in your joy, but the baby will
sleep when they are visiting (babies withdraw when they’re
over-stimulated) and be awake when people leave. When do you get to
sleep? This is a big reason why new parents feel lousy on Day Two and
Three. Give people a specific time period in which to visit each day to concentrate the interruption. You can still have a few trusted supporters be with you more often.
1. You let Dad install the infant car seat at zero hour. Big
mistake. When you are being wheeled out of the hospital, you don’t want
to find Dad wrestling with the car seat, realizing he doesn’t know how
it installs, or how it works, and that it doesn’t fit well in the car.
Buy and install it at least a month before your due date. Then seek out
a community car seat “checkpoint” or “station” to have the handiwork
inspected. Even when you take your time, the seat is often installed wrong. In the US, a law enforcement office or hospital may have
regularly scheduled times when you can drive up and have an expert
assess your seat.