Often times we prepare for labor & delivery by packing mom and baby's hospital bag, put together baby gear etc.. Have you thought about preparing an emergency plan in the event labor begin while traveling, walking , in the car or in a public place? What about if birth happens in a public place and you are alone? What would you do? Who would you call?
Most first-time parents aren't thinking to prepare for scenarios such as these. Time is spent preparing for normal labor, birth and postpartum as opposed to preparing for emergencies.
No, we don't expect things to ever go wrong but why not plan in advance if we can right?
Here is what I teach my clients & their families:
Once you reach 37 weeks you are considered full term. By 36 weeks you should have established the following:
- Emergency Contacts -- These are friends, family, or neighbors you trust and can rely on in the event you call and there is an emergency. 1.) Ask your emergency contacts if it would be okay for you to them as such. Not everyone may feel comfortable being an emergency contact for a pregnant/laboring mom lol! Not everyone will know how to react to a laboring mom, so just be sure the individuals you choose are comfortable with that role. 2.) Make a list (whether hand written or typed) of every contact name, address, phone number, and email. Keep a copy with you at all times and give a copy to close relatives or friends.
- Nearest Hospital -- Especially for families who travel whether for work, or for the holidays to visit family or friends, you should establish where the nearest Maternity Hospital in the area in which you are traveling to. Assign roles, will you go by ambulance or will you drive? Who will be the driver? Who will call the OB? Who will call the hospital in the area to make them aware of a laboring mom? Who will call other family members or friends?
- Health Records -- You should keep a copy of your updated OB medical history records including recent ultrasound reports with you at all times. This will come in-handy specifically when traveling. Say for instance "Your water break and your contractions are too intense for you to drive back home to your birthing hospital or center safely?" If you decide to go to the nearest hospital you will have a copy of your health records which will decrease the chances of unnecessary medical interventions. Why? Well, because the hospital is now aware of your medical history and has something to go by to help provide appropriate care for the laboring mom.
- Mom & Baby Bag -- Last but not least you should have your mom and baby bag packed and ready. I encourage my clients to pack it and leave it in the back of your trunk. Why? Well, if you drive your car, wherever you drive, your bags will be with you.