Planning Ahead for Labor and Delivery
As you approach your due date, you will want to be making decisions about and preparations for your labor and delivery, hospitalization, method of infant feeding, and newborn. We urge you to be informed about and proactive in these decisions as you approach your delivery and beginning of your parenting process. Making these decisions prior to labor and the arrival of your new baby will allow you to enjoy a smoother transition in this important time in your life. You will find information below to assist you in making these decisions. Please feel free to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your health care providers. You will discuss your decisions in detail with your medical provider at your 36 week appointment.
HOSPITAL OF DELIVERY
We deliver all of our patients at Nash General Hospital. Information specific to the Women’s Center services, special care nursery, visitation policy, patient information, and billing can be reviewed on the Nash Women’s Center website at www.nashwomenscenter.org.
We encourage you to pre-register with the hospital approximately two months before your anticipated due date. A pre-registration form was included your new OB handbook. Once you complete the form, simply mail it in the attached, pre-stamped envelope to the hospital Admissions Office. Pre-registering is beneficial and facilitates a quicker hospital admission with the onset of labor.
While you are a patient in the hospital, we would strongly urge you to abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the hospital. This includes visiting hours set up for your benefit to allow time for you to rest and to get to know your baby. Too many visitors can cause excessive fatigue; thus, you may not be prepared to care for your newborn when you return home.
You will receive a separate bill from the hospital for the charges related to your labor, delivery, and newborn care. For information on hospital charges, you can contact the Business Office at 252.962.8030.
Around 34 weeks you should begin packing your bag for the hospital. Many pregnancy related websites [such as www.babycenter.com, www.parents.com, and www.whattoexpect.com] offer many suggestions and lists for personal items you may want to pack for yourself. Don’t forget about packing for your new baby! A going home outfit and blanket are important items to include. You will need to have a car seat that is properly installed in your vehicle in order to take your newborn home. Information on car safety for your baby can be found on the ACOG website; many local fire departments have trained personnel who will inspect your car seat for proper installation.
PAIN MANAGEMENT DURING LABOR
Many women will experience discomfort or pain during labor & delivery. The amount of pain or discomfort a woman experiences during labor varies from person to person. Many factors influence the amount of discomfort a woman may experience. These factors may include the size and position of the baby, strength of uterine contractions, and individual pain tolerance.
There are several different options available for pain management, ranging from breathing & relaxation techniques, local anesthesia [creates a numbness in a small area], to systemic analgesia [medications given IV or by injection that lessens pain], and regional anesthesia/epidural [blocks all feeling including pain]. We encourage our patients to become educated about the different types of pain management that are available. Pain management is discussed in detail in the prepared childbirth classes offered in our office and information may also be gained from ACOG website [www.acog. org – Labor, delivery and postpartum care].
Several factors influence how pain is managed. These include the patient’s condition, circumstances of a patient’s labor, & the patient’s individual preference. Certain conditions make one type of anesthesia preferable to another type. The final decision regarding pain management cannot be made until the time of labor/delivery and will be made by your physician. However, we will make every attempt to use the type of pain management that you desire unless it is medically unsafe for either you or your baby. We encourage you to discuss any specific plans your have for birth with your medical provider.
CORD BLOOD BANKING
Cord blood banking is an option or choice you may wish to consider. The term “cord blood” is used to describe the blood that remains in the cord and placenta after the baby is born. Special cells, called umbilical cord stem cells, are found in cord blood. These special cells may help treat numerous kinds of serious diseases, such as disorders of the blood, immune system, and metabolism. Parents may wish to collect and store cord blood for potential future health care needs for their child or other family members. There is no risk associated with cord blood collection for either the mother or baby. Information regarding cord blood banking can be found on the following websites: www.nchealthystart.org; www.acog.org; www.viacord.com; www.cordblood.com; www.Alphacord.com. Private cord blood banking companies charge fees for storage. The Carolinas Cord Blood Bank at Duke University allows you to donate your baby’s cord blood to a public cord blood bank at no charge. Learn more at: www.ccbb.duke.edu.
CHOOSING A NEWBORN CARE PROVIDER
Prior to delivery, we encourage you to select a medical provider for your baby. Your newborn will need to have regular check-ups in the first years of life. Pediatricians, family practice physicians, and some local health departments are examples of types of providers that may care for your newborn. When choosing this provider it is most helpful to research different medical providers’ websites and talk with friends and family members about their experiences with different providers.
Once you have decided on a particular provider or practice, you should contact the specific office and request information on the process of accepting new patients. Please be aware that this process of accepting new patients may take several weeks. Most breastfed infants are seen within one week after discharge for a weight check. For these reasons and to avoid unnecessary anxiety, we encourage you to choose the medical provider for your newborn prior to your delivery. Newborn care topics such as formula choices, circumcision, and immunizations should all be addressed with your newborn care provider.
Prior to delivery, you will also want to choose how your newborn will be fed. Breastfeeding is highly encouraged as there are numerous benefits for both mother and baby. We recognize that choosing a feeding method is a highly personal choice for patients; we encourage you to thoroughly investigate both breast and bottlefeeding before making your choice. Attending the breastfeeding class taught at the Nash Women’s Center is an excellent way to learn more information about the benefits and process of breastfeeding. If you formula feed, your newborn care provider will make recommendations on formula preferences.
BIRTH CONTROL [FAMILY PLANNING] AFTER DELIVERY
Prior to delivery, you may want to consider what type of birth control or family planning method you would like to use after delivery. A variety of options are available, ranging from fertility awareness methods, barrier methods [condoms, spermicides, diaphragm, cervical caps, sponges], hormonal methods [birth control pills, patches, vaginal rings, IUDs], and permanent sterilization [tubal ligation for females, vasectomy for males]. Your medical provider is available to discuss with you what method may be best for you.
While child spacing and family size is an individual choice, it is medically recommended that pregnancies are spaced at least 18 months apart [from delivery to next conception]; this allow adequate time for the mother’s body to return to a full state of health prior to her next pregnancy.