Expecting - Getting prepared and ready
It is good to have someone with you, who can give you support during labour. This person is usually a partner, but could just as well be a parent, a friend or two people. You play an incredibly valuable role as a support person, simply by being there. There are many ways you can be helpful and supportive during the birth.
Think about your wishes and expectations for your labour and birth experience. And about what you need to help you feel calm and confident. Perhaps some music, a massage or something else entirely. Write it all down and discuss it with your midwife. It’s not essential to have a birth plan, but it can be a good way to help you mentally prepare yourself for labour.
An important reminder
You must take your photo ID along with you to hospital.
Good to have
It can be a good idea to have some fruit and snacks to give you extra energy during labour. You’ll want to feel comfortable while in hospital, so pack slippers, soft clothes, a nursing bra and a bag of toiletries. Don’t forget a charger for your phone and the birth plan, if you’ve written one.
For the baby
As much skin-to-skin contact as possible is best for your baby. So you’ll only need to pack a few bodysuits, trousers, pajamas and socks. A little wooly hat is also a good idea, whatever the time of year. And, if the weather is cold, a blanket and overalls for the journey home.
Make sure your bag is packed and waiting by the door well in advance. It can be reassuring and take some of the stress out of the situation to have everything ready.
The safest way to transport a newborn is in a baby capsule (baby car seat). Swedish law requires children to sit in some kind of safety chair when travelling by car until they’ve grown to a height of 135 cm. It is possible to rent a baby capsule from a number of places if you don’t want to purchase one.
Most people drive to the hospital with their own car. You might feel more prepared and comfortable if you’ve visited the hospital during your pregnancy, so you know where the maternity unit is and where to park your car.
Some people say that giving birth is like running a marathon. It uses a huge amount of energy, so it’s important to fuel up your body in good time by eating a nutritious and varied diet with slow release carbohydrates.
It can feel disappointing, frustrating and worrying if the baby hasn’t arrived by its due date. The days that follow may seem like an eternity. But going beyond that date is common and perfectly normal. Take this opportunity to rest and do things that you enjoy because very soon you’ll be starting a new chapter in your life.
Parents-to-be who are in a couple relationship may have slightly different focuses and expectations during this period. It’s common that the pregnant partner is mainly focused on the pregnancy and birth, while the other is thinking more about life later on with their baby. Whatever you are thinking about, it is good to share your thoughts with someone close to you. If you have a partner, it is important to talk to each other and try to prepare yourselves together as a team.
To all parents-to-be
- How have you been affected during the pregnancy?
- What are you worried about?
- How do you think your life will be affected by the baby?
- What are your own experiences of being a child?
- Which of those would you like to pass on to your child?
- What kind of parent do you want to be?
- What is important?
- What would you like, and not like, to pass on?
To those of you in a couple relationship
- How do you show love and make your partner feel important?
- How do you think your relationship will change when the baby arrives?
- How can you make things easier for each other both now and when the baby has arrived?
Your body is already prepared
It is good to do some preparation so that you feel calm and confident about the birth. But there is nothing that you absolutely must do. Your body will be ready for the birth whether or not you’ve attended courses in breathing techniques or packed the perfect hospital bag.