There are plenty of different reasons that parents choose to have hospital births. For some it’s merely out of preference and comfort, while others choose to give birth in a hospital out of necessity due to health conditions. These are all perfectly valid decisions! But regardless of the reasons, one of the drawbacks of hospital births is that they can sometimes feel too sterile. Some people enjoy the feeling of extreme cleanliness, but for many parents it can make room for a lot of anxiety, discomfort, and the feeling of being a “sick patient” instead of someone who is bringing life into the world. Of course, we WANT our hospitals to be sterile, but feeling sterile isn’t always conducive with the feelings of relaxation/safety that are so key to a smooth labor. Thankfully there are a lot of things you can do to make a hospital birth feel more home-y!
Here are a few of our tried tips and tricks for bringing the comfort of your own home to the hospital:
- Play your favorite music – this doesn’t necessarily have to be calming music! We’ve been to many births where parents were dancing around and treating their baby’s birth like a party 🙂
- Scented candles (please don’t light them in the hospital though!)
- Soft lighting
- Sheets/ pillows of your own – make sure you’re okay with them getting dirty because birth can be messy!
- Flame-less candles – especially if you have access to a birthing tub or shower, you can make your very own spa
- A comfy robe
- Movies – fantastic for when you need a distraction
- Your favorite scents/ aroma therapy
- Photos of loved ones/things that make you happy
- Flowers – and if you don’t want the smell of real flowers in your room, Dollar Stores usually have really stunning plastic flowers that you can grab!
- Your own food if your doctor hasn’t requested dietary restrictions for medical reasons – that way you’ll feel less like a “sick patient” and keep your blood sugar up!
- Tapestries to hang on the walls – command strips will be extra handy for this
- Comfy slippers
- Remove the clock from the wall – take the pressure off, you’re not on a time crunch! Birth your baby at your own pace.
- Fun socks
- Gatorade/protein shake to keep your energy up
- Your own lamp if you don’t like fluorescent lighting
- Comfy clothes to wear after birth
- Lotion (can also be a part of aroma therapy!)
- Your own soaps to shower after birth – because who doesn’t like smelling like themselves?
- Your own pillow – this can be a wonderful way to bring the smell and comfort of your own bed along with you
- A colorful or comforting throw blanket
From the outside, all of these things might seem small on their own, but we’ve seen them work WONDERS in helping labor along. Especially if your goal is to have a vaginal birth and/or a birth with minimal interventions! It all comes down to hormones. Feelings of safety, love, peace, and comfort all facilitate the release of the hormone oxytocin, which is the exact hormone that causes the uterine contractions that push your baby out. If the person who is giving birth feels tense, stressed, afraid, or unsafe, these emotions can cause birth hormones to decrease and contractions to slow/stall as a result of the fight-or-flight response. Even if this does happen, do not worry! One of the best ways to keep this from happening, or to start contractions back up again, is to decrease that adrenaline, and get you back into your relaxed, focused birth mode again. What better way to do this than feeling at home in your surroundings? So wrap up in your favorite blanket, put on your favorite music, and look at the beautiful photos of your loved ones that you brought along with you. In other words:
Get that oxytocin in motion!