Child-birth preparation tips

We participated in a few presentations on what to expect from the delivery process. Following are my (incomplete) notes from them.

Session 1

  • Contractions:
    • True: Last longer, become stronger over time.
      • Don’t stop when you change your activity.
      • Duration: 1 minute long.
      • Frequency: Start every 3 minutes.
      • Apps available.
    • Warm up: No regular pattern, lose intensity over time.
      • Not everyone feels them.
  • How labor starts:
    • 10%: water breaks.
      • Both gush or trickle of fluids possible. Also, if dampness arrives multiple times.
      • Even if no contractions, that is a sign of labor.
      • Clear or yellowish. They’ll ask for color.
      • Shouldn’t have any odor.
    • 90%: contractions.
  • Stages:
    • 1st stage:
      • 1st: early labor.
        • Emotions: happy, excited.
        • Contractions are 5-30 minutes apart, ~30 seconds long. So, mild.
        • You’ll have to wait for ~8 hours. So, distractions are important.
        • Sleep, rest and hydrate.
      • 1st: active labor.
        • 45-60 seconds, 3-5 minutes apart.
        • Emotions: serious, focused.
        • Might not automatically know when to unload bladder - so, keep doing that.
        • Changing positions may help.
        • Out of bed as much as possible.
        • Important: relaxation, rhythm & ritual.
          • Didn’t understand. Check videos by Penny Simpkin.
        • When to go to the hospital: 511 rule. 5 minutes apart, 1 minute each, going on for 1 hour.
          • Go sooner if:
            • Vomit.
            • Unable to walk or talk through contractions.
            • Vaginal bleeding.
      • 1st: transition.
        • ~30 minutes.
        • Intense. Strong contractions.
    • 2nd stage:
      • Time to push!
    • 4th stage: first few hours after birth.
      • Baby comes out fully fed.
      • Born in quiet alert state.
  • Epidural:
    • Pain medication and takes ~15 minutes to relieve pain.
      • Numbs lower part of the body.
    • Can get whenever you ask - possibly during active labor state.
    • Ensure fetal monitoring is always on, if going this route.
    • No affect on baby or mother’s mental state.
  • Ensure hospital has forwarded to pediatrician.
  • Cesarean birth:
    • Only 1% urgent. Others are planned.
  • To do:
    • Pack a hospital bag.
    • Make a postpartum plan.

Session 2

  • Essentials:
    • Diapering:
      • Diapers:
        • Hospitals provide for use there.
        • Disposable diapers.
      • Diaper wetness barriers:
        • Probably use when needed.
      • Diaper rash cream: zinc oxide or something. Put thin layer and then cover with barrier.
      • Wipes/wash cloth.
        • Go front to back.
    • Clothing:
      • Cutest size: only last for 3 months.
      • Keep tags so that you can exchange.
      • Wash before use but not right after you buy them (otherwise you won’t be able to return them later).
        • Dye and fragrance free detergent.
      • Sleeper gown.
      • Swaddle blanket: pre-made useful.
      • White noise machine: soothes the baby and good for routine sleep.
        • Baby loves routine which can let them know it’s time to go to sleep.
    • Baby gear:
      • Things get recalled all the time, so fill registration form and mail it in.
      • Safe place for baby to sleep:
        • Firm and flat surface.
        • Don’t let them sleep in a sitting device. Also, don’t leave them there for >20 minutes if awake.
      • Nail clipper.
        • Cut when asleep.
      • Nasal aspirator maybe.
    • Bathing stuff:
      • Tub: there are some that go over sinks.
      • Baby wash/lotion: zero/low fragrance. Can use a regular towel but might have to create a hood.
      • Use temperature to check bath water temperature: 95 to 100 Fahrenheit.
      • 1-3 inches of water.
      • Don’t leave baby in water even for a second. Be prepared beforehand or take baby with you if you have to get some stuff.
  • At home:
    • Be careful about the umbilical cord.
      • Sponge bath until this is gone. 2-3 times a week.
    • 1 diaper on 1st day, 2 on 2nd etc. until 7-8th day. ~6-8 diapers a day.
      • Track because that gives an idea on whether the baby is getting sufficiently fed.
    • Feed every 2.5 to 3 hours on average.
      • Good time to change diaper around this.
      • Don’t wait for them to cry to feed.
      • Good sign they are hungry if they turn their head towards someone’s breasts.
    • Make silly faces and talk about random things.
    • They cry if:
      • Hungry.
      • Too cold.
      • Not if they are too hot. So, be careful.
    • In worst case, they can cry for ~5 hours!

Session 3

  • Fevers are very important for the first 3 months, especially first 1.
    • First vaccination after 2 months, so won’t have enough immunity until then.
  • Recommended books:
    • Heading Home With Your Newborn.
    • The Happiest Baby on the Block.
    • Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.
  • Resources: