Preparing for delivery

Labor, delivery and beyond.

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Congratulations! You’re in the home stretch. Before you know it, your baby will be here. So now’s the time to plan for your baby’s birth.

In most cases, a vaginal delivery is the safest option for you and your baby. In fact, the process of labor and delivery is nature’s way of helping your baby slowly adjust to life outside the womb. Plus, there are many benefits of vaginal birth for both you and your baby like:

Benefits for you

  • Shorter hospital stay and faster recovery
  • Avoid risks of major surgery
  • Less likely to have complications in future pregnancies
  • Less likely to suffer from future fertility problems

Benefits for your baby

  • Avoids potential health risks associated with cesarean delivery
  • Beneficial, protective bacteria as they pass through the birth canal
  • Lower risk of respiratory problems by getting fluid squeezed from their lungs
  • More likely to engage in early breastfeeding
How can I prepare for a vaginal delivery?

Understanding more about your delivery options can help you feel more confident in making decisions about how you want to delivery your baby. We recommend the following tips for preparing for delivery.

  • Take a child birth class

    It's important to have a clear understanding about the process of labor and birth. Sign up for a childbirth class, which will provide you with education about everything from cervical dilation to the delivery of the placenta. The more you understand about the biological process your body experiences during labor, the easier it will be to feel like your experience is progressing normally. Sharp HealthCare offers a lot of different classes and events for new parents, including childbirth preparation classes.

  • Understand your anxieties

    Giving birth often comes with very individual concerns. Some women are nervous about experiencing contractions or knowing when to go to the hospital. Talk to your doctor about your concerns so that they can help explain normal procedures and reassure you about what might happen in the birthing room.

  • Make a birth plan

    Make a plan that includes the best-case scenario to help you feel calm — but also think through what your preferences would be if that best-case scenario was not possible. Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns offers a free birth plan worksheet to help you document and communicate the type of birth you want with your care team.

  • Consider a Doula (a mother’s advocate)

    Doulas are trained nonmedical childbirth support professionals who provide mental, emotional, physical, and sometimes informational support during pregnancy and birth. Evidence continues to show that the support of a doula during birth leads to great outcomes for mothers and babies alike, including a lower risk of a cesarean section and a higher chance of feeling satisfied with the birth experience.

  • Learn about comfort measures

    Discomfort is often one of the biggest concerns for someone anticipating having a vaginal birth. Make sure you understand the options you may have, including epidural anesthesia, IV pain medication, and more. Ask questions so you understand the risks and benefits of each, as well as when they're most appropriate to use during labor.

    It's also helpful to learn about nonmedical comfort measures, like massage, counterpressure, hydrotherapy, and more. These measures can often be used before, after, or alongside medical options. Sharp HealthCare offers a labor comfort measures and relaxation skills class that covers various techniques for couples to gain greater comfort and sense of control during the birth experience.

  • Prepare for after birth

    Stock up on soothing supplies you can have at home once your baby is born. This includes a peri bottle, hemmorhoid cream and/or Tucks pads, and sitz bath supplies. It’s also a good idea to research postpartum and breastfeeding support groups in case you need some extra support once baby is born. Sharp HealthCare offers support groups with various meeting locations for you to choose from.

Can I have a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)?

If you had a cesarean in the past, you may be able to safely deliver future children vaginally, which offers many benefits including a faster recovery time and a lower risk of infection. Talk to your doctor to find out if you meet the requirements to attempt a VBAC.


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