As you near your due date, excitement and anxiety grows as you anticipate labor, birth, and bringing your baby home.
This is all normal!
If you are not birthing at home, your partner may be experiencing some anxiety about driving you to the hospital or birthing center.
I have worked with many partners and have sensed the restlessness as they are trying to make decisions and know what to do, at each moment, when labor begins.
If you are the pregnant mom reading this, share this with your partner! 😉
Your partner may be going around frantically gathering things to pack and trying to remember everything to put into the car. All of this can increase anxiety!
While you are trying to focus on labor, you may not be thinking clearly to remind your partner what to grab or what to do during the drive.
Below are 8 tips to help you keep clarity of mind as you make the transition to your place of birth! These tips can help minimize the release of adrenaline and hormones that can slow or stall labor as you make your transition to your place of birth.
I worked with a couple who I thought had been to the birth center and knew where to go on d-day. I was following them and mama was feeling the urge to push. I was on the phone with dad as he was telling me she was starting to push. He was so anxious, he missed a turn and did not know where to go. I got in front of him, looked around, and realized he did not see me park. I ran to find him in the parking lot to guide him to the front door. Mama was very close to pushing and quickly delivered her baby in the birthing room.
It is so important for your partner to visit the birthing center or hospital multiple times so he or she knows where to go. It will not only help you both arrive safely and promptly inside, but also help you, mama, to feel safe and protected. This will increase your oxytocin help keep your labor progressing normally!
I always tell my clients to be prepared in every way to go into labor before your due date, but mentally prepare to be post date! It is hard mentally, to see your due date come and go. It is very normal for mamas to go a week or so post date. So, just relax and enjoy the time feeling your baby inside and have special time to yourself and/ or with your partner.
Make sure your hospital bag is packed with everything you need without many extras.
Make sure you have your car seat installed properly into the car. Your local police station or fire department may have car seat safety checks. In my Postpartum Journey online course, I interview a car seat safety specialist to guide you on infant car seat safety.
Most people have their car seats installed incorrectly.
Gather items like:
Type into the comments below other things you might pack and have ready for the car ride.
Make sure you keep your car filled up. Do a routine maintenance check to make sure you have a reliable vehicle. If it is winter, have a deicer and blankets in the car.
Remember, birth is messy! it is a good idea to cover the floor mat and seat that mama will be riding in. Especially if her water bag is still intact, it could break at any time! Also, she may be losing fluids and blood. Even if she has a pad and her “granny panties” on, there still maybe some mess!
Do you have the latest contraction timer app? Have you been told to begin timing your contractions with the first one?
The first question partners ask me is, “When do we know to go to the hospital?" Timing contractions in early labor can wear you out mentally.
Early labor can last several days.
Contractions are very sporadic.
Mama may still be able to work and go about her day or evening. When contractions become consistent and grow in intensity, happening about every five minutes, lasting a full minute, and consistent for an hour (the "5,1,1" rule), usually indicates more active labor.
You can get a sense for a consistent contraction pattern before you start timing them. When the contraction pattern is the “ 5, 1, 1” rule it's most likely time to transition to your place of birth.
It is tempting for the anxiety to control your actions. Especially when you are seeing vaginal discharge and blood. Discharge and mucus is very normal, even a little bit of blood in early labor. Depending on your proximity to your place of birth, you may have more time than you think to stay at home and labor for a little while.
Wait . . . observe . . . take deep breaths . . . and then decide the appropriate time to make the transition to the hospital based on the contraction pattern and growing intensity.
Your job, as a partner, is try to remain as calm as possible. I teach "pain coping" practices to help mama's cope with the pain of labor. I also encourage partners to practice these techniques to relieve anxiety and to make decisions in a calm state of mind. These practices work wonders to help partners in the most intense and chaotic times during labor and the transition to the hospital!
If you have not already, it is a good idea to call the hospital or birthing center. Be ready for many questions and lots of directions when you arrive.
It can be very helpful, when you enter the room to be checked and monitored, to ask the nurse or care provider to have a few minutes to help mama get back into her laboring zone. You, or your doula, can do a visualization, prayer, or a calming technique to help put her at ease.
The transition to a new environment, new lights, people, smells, etc. can stall or slow labor.
Taking 10 to 15 minutes can be crucial to help mama get back into her laboring rhythm. Most care providers will be fine with leaving the room and letting you get settled. Then when you both are ready, it is your job as a partner, to let the nursing staff or care providers know when to return.
Partners and support people, you got this! You can be the guide to mama make a peaceful and easier transition to your place of birth!
Comment below your questions and tips you have to make that drive more peaceful!
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