How can I prepare for the birth?
"Pack your hospital bag early! I wish I'd planned for an early arrival. My twins arrived at 28 weeks, and I wasn’t prepared at all. My husband didn’t have a clue about what to bring me, or where to find things in the house. Being in hospital for a long time, and not having my home comforts, was quite stressful."
"Learn about c-sections and pain medications, even if you hope to avoid them. I skipped the chapters on caesareans in my pregnancy books but, like many women, ended up having one. And if you change your mind about pain relief during labour, it's good to know your options."
"Due dates aren't exact, so don't stress if your baby is a little late."
"Avoid the childbirth horror stories people want to share. I took every story to heart and was terrified. I could have saved myself a lot of worry. My imagination was much worse than the actual event."
"We have this preconceived notion that all labours start a certain way and progress at a certain rate. The truth is, births are as different as each child. Going into labour with an open mind makes for a more positive experience."
"I tore and had to have an episiotomy during my first birth. So during this pregnancy, I talked with my midwife about how to avoid them both. I wound up having neither, and I was amazed by how great I felt afterwards!"
"Learn natural pain-relief techniques, even if you plan on taking drugs. Drugs don't always numb you completely. If your labour goes really fast, you may not have the chance to get pain medication until you're well into the process."
What should I take to the hospital?
"Take lots of fruit and high-fibre snacks. You'll need them to get your digestive system moving again, and hospital food isn’t always very nutritious!"
"Bring a nursing pillow. The hospital pillows don't provide enough height and support to get the baby into a comfortable feeding position, and your arms may be tired after labour."
"Take your own nightie for breastfeeding, or pyjamas. The ones they gave me were awful."
"Bring breast pads. I started leaking breastmilk on my last day in the hospital."
"It can get annoying asking nurses for things like lanolin cream for sore nipples and extra pairs of comfortable knickers that will keep your pads on. So make sure you pack these things in your hospital bag."
"If you've bought disposable knickers for after the birth, try them on before you pack them in your bag. I didn't and found out they were too small for me, by which time it was too late!"
See what to pack in your hospital bag and our preparing for birth videos.
Take a look at what mums wish they had known during the birth and after the birth.