5 Tips to Get the Best Treatment from Your Delivery Team
It should go without saying that when you head to your hospital or birth center to have your baby, your delivery team will be some of the most caring, kind, and supportive people you will ever meet.
To this day, some of the most amazing people I've ever encountered in my life have been in the wards of the labor and delivery units of the hospitals I've worked at. OB nurses, NICU nurses, midwives, doctors — they are all a special brand of tireless, selfless, hilarious, and hardworking people, and I loved working with them all.
But of course, labor and birth doesn't always happen by the books, and heading into the hospital isn't always picture perfect. To help ensure that you have the most smooth transition and best care possible, here are a few tips for preparing to work with the delivery team at your place of delivery.
Take a hospital tour
Even if you don't take childbirth classes at the facility you are delivering with, or even if it's your second or third (or fourth or more) baby, it's a good idea to set up an appointment if you can for a quick tour of the facility. That way, you can meet some of the nurses face to face and feel more comfortable with exactly where you will be delivering.
Plus, you can get practice parking and rushing through those elevator doors, two things that sometimes are harder than you would think!
Ask the nurses
Labor nurses are your best source of insider information for the questions that matter, like which doctors are more likely to let you labor naturally, which anesthesiologist gives the best epidurals, and which is the best place to get food after you deliver.
If you don't feel comfortable asking those kinds of questions straight-up (although you totally should!), simply and casually ask a few nurses where they delivered their own babies and who delivered them. That will tell you a lot, if you know what I'm saying.
Rethink the birth plan
I'm not saying to not have a birth plan prepared or to not think about the kinds of things you want during your labor and delivery, but it's more than likely not necessary to print it out.
Instead, talk to the nurse who is admitting you and hit the basics: epidural or not, baby meds, who you want present at the birth. In a fast or rushed labor or with staff changes, I would say short and sweet will be more effective in getting exactly what you want.
Use your partner
One way to help your whole stay go a lot smoother is to prepare your partner to be as helpful as possible. That means a few things:
- Staying out of the way whenever medical people start moving quickly because sometimes there's no time to explain things in labor
- Being sure to ask right away where the food and ice machine is because, if your partner can be your fetcher of ice, I guarantee the nurses and medical team will be so, so grateful and freed up to focus on other aspects of your care.
Saying thanks is always a plus
I can't tell you how much of a difference it makes to simply say “thank you” to the people caring for you and your family. And if you're extra thankful and wondering what the quickest and surest way to any OB personnel's heart is, the answer is always FOOD.
There are so many days that OB nurses, doctors, and staff simply don't get a break at all to eat, and I'm not even exaggerating a little bit. If you plan for a tray of cookies, a few chocolates, or if you're feeling really generous, a pan of pasta and breadsticks to be delivered during your stay as a special thank you to the staff, you will be quickly elevated to Favorite Patient of The Year status.
Not that such gifts will ever affect your care, of course, because all patients are treated with the utmost care and respect, but a little kindness never hurt anyone either. And when baby #2 rolls around, you can rest assured that big brother or sister will get extra suckers and stickers for sure from all the staff. Wink, wink.
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