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Preparing for Birth: The Drive to the Hospital

Katlyn Joy |24, June 2013


If you've written and finalized your birth plan with your doctor, picked out a name or at least the final list, packed your labor bag and washed up the layette, you are all set. Right? Almost. Have you gotten set for the trip to the hospital?

Know Where to Go.

First you need to start at the end; what's the exact destination. If you didn't get an info pack from your doctor or the info from birthing classes, then call your hospital and get the details. Where do you go when labor has started; to admissions, emergency, to a separate entrance? Are there times when you need to use the emergency room entrance but other times you go to admissions?

Next find out if you have to pre-register. For many hospitals this is a must, or at least a huge time saver. If you haven't done so, use this trip to the hospital to try out your route. Do an alternate one on the way home.

One last question for the hospital is to ask where you should park. Does your husband just pull up to the emergency room parking lot or is he supposed to let you out and then park in the regular lot? Some hospitals even have valet parking during normal hours. Find out if there are time limits or fees associated with the parking lots.

When you get to the hospital, get a map of the facility to look over to be sure you know where everything is that concerns you. Also, you may want to have copies to give to immediate family members who will be visiting you.

Mapping Your Route

Use google or yahoo maps and get a couple routes to compare. Sometimes these online sources are dead on and extremely helpful and other times, you may end up on a newly dead ending street. Print up the map complete with highlighted routes. Time yourself and compare to the times listed on the web. Consider how different times of day commuter traffic will affect the times.

It may be best to have one route planned for off peak travel times, and another for congested times. Remember there can be events or construction that will affect travel routes and times so double check on this as the labor looms ever closer.

Get Your Ride Ready

By the time you reach the 8th month, you will want to give the car a good check. How are the tires? Is there plenty of tread left on them? Do you even have a spare? Is it running good and has the oil been changed? Always keep a full tank of gas at this critical stage of pregnancy so there is no need to stop for fueling on the way to the hospital.

Keep a few towels in the car, in case the water breaks or any other needs come up. Also, make sure you have your car charger for your cell in the car at all times.

Make Back Up Plans

Imagine your husband happens to be off site from work when your labor starts suddenly. You need to get to the hospital pronto due to rapidly accelerating contractions, but you can't reach your husband. What will you do? Have a back up driver for these circumstances. Choose someone who would be home and available at times that there is a possibility your husband could be unavailable right away. Whoever you tap for the job needs to have copies of your hospital route and also be reminded to keep gas in their tank.

What if the worst happens and you can't reach anyone and you are gripped in labor pains. Have the number for the local taxi on your frig for this unlikely emergency.

Laboring in the Car

Most women are most comfortable in the back seat where they can stretch out or lie down. Remind your husband that those bumps are more than a little jarring and to slow down. Plus you don't want to get into a fender bender on this of all days.

You'll have your essentials packed for the hospital already so all you'll need to do is grab and go. However, besides the towel you might want a pillow with you in the car to help you make yourself a bit more comfy.

Should you begin feeling like your contractions are unending, with one coming directly on the heels of the last one, let your partner know immediately. Also, if you feel an intense pressure, often accompanied by a more grunting sound, realize you may be one of those rare people who experience rapid labors. The baby may be coming sooner than you can get to the hospital. Should that be the case, tell your husband to pull over somewhere safe.

Once parked, have him call 911 right away. You don't want to deliver in a racing car. The operator will instruct him on what to do while waiting for help to arrive. Don't worry or panic; babies have been born outside the hospital for time untold and you'll be fine. Relax and let things happen. Don't rush it or try to stop it; like you could anyhow!

Katlyn Joy is a mother to 7 children, and a freelance writer. She earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing and Poetry, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and was previously an adviser to new mothers on breastfeeding through a maternity home program. She currently resides in Colorado with her family.

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