Home to hospital: How to find comfort during labor

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Bring the comforts of home to the hospital and help usher in calm relaxation while you labor. Home is where we feel our safest. It’s where we unwind at the end of a hectic day – and the place we’re eager to retreat to when times are tough. So, it makes good sense that bringing a bit of that safe haven with you to the hospital will help ward off fear that can impede progression during birthing. Here’s how to have a taste of a home birth, from the safety of a hospital setting:

Stay home

It’s an unfortunate and well documented occurrence, but transferring from home to hospital often slows or stalls labor. Many attribute this to the panic and fear a sterile setting can induce – or the interventions (induction, IV, fetal monitoring and more) readily accessible once you arrive. While you craft your birth plan, talk to your doctor or midwife about laboring at home for as long as possible. At home, you’ll have all the familiar sights, sounds and smells – and you’ll be able to drink and eat when necessary. Laboring in your own home, with your health care provider’s permission of course, also allows you to make use of many different positions that can help the process along.

Hire a doula

As a first time mom, going into the unknown with just your partner can be really scary. Put your confidence in a professional cheerleader and comforter by hiring a doula. A doula is a highly trained individual who will come to your home and accompany you to the hospital, offering comfort, support and guidance through the whole ordeal. Bringing in a doula can help you labor at home safely, as he or she will know when it’s best to leave for the hospital.

Bring music

While you count down the days until delivery, put some thought into a playlist that will keep you calm and focused. Once it’s set, pack an iPod or CD player away in your hospital bag for the big day. Hospitals can be noisy and unfamiliar places. Bringing some comforting tunes that remind you of home may be just what you need to put you in the right mindset.

Essential oils

You can’t burn candles or incense in the hospital, but you can make your own linen or room spray to help make your space feel more like home. Keep in mind, though, that nausea and vomiting often rear their ugly heads during labor. With that thought, you’ll want to choose a scent that’s not too powerful or cloyingly sweet.

Pillows and blankets

Anyone whose had a night’s stay in a hospital knows the linens leave a lot to be desired. Flat, scrawny pillows and thin, scratchy blankets have little that’s comforting about them. Bring in your own pillow from home and a small throw that can be tossed aside in the heat of the moment. You may even want these things during the car ride to the hospital.

What have we missed? If there’s an item from your home that makes you feel instantly comforted, tell us all about it in the comments below!

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