While the actual process of childbirth has not changed, the way many new parents approach childbirth has. Gone are the days of "twilight sleep," and deliveries in which babies are yanked and sucked out into the world. Now, moms-to-be have choices when it comes to giving birth, and those choices are reflected in the modern items she can pack in her hospital go-bag.
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In addition to jammies and comfy going-home clothes for her and her new baby, new moms should bring along items that are important to her and her partner on the big day. Here's a peek inside the modern mom's pregnancy bag and how it differs from bags moms brought to the hospital just a few years ago.
A birthing plan can let your doctors and nurses know what you want during labor and delivery. (Photo: Inara Prusakova/Shutterstock)
Birthing plan. In the past, moms were told when, where and how their babies would be born. It was considered a medical procedure and moms were given little-to-no say as to how it went down. But now, moms are encouraged to create a birthing plan that details things such as the types of medications she may or may not want, pain management techniques she would like to try, and procedures she would like to avoid.
Make your own baby-day playlist. Or better yet, make several with different music that can vary with your mood. (Photo: nenetus/Shutterstock)
iPods and other gadgets. Forget about hospital magazines and medical brochures. Bring along your own entertainment for distractions by stashing an MP3 player and/or your Kindle in your bag. Not only can you listen to music while you give birth, you can even create a playlist of your favorite tunes for the experience.
Don't forget your phone and charger. You may not be able to use it to make calls, but you can play games, check messages, and even snap some pics. (Photo: Halfpoint/Shutterstock)
Cell phone and charger. While most hospitals still ask that you not use cellphones in your rooms, you don't need to rely on hospital phones and calling cards anymore. Hospitals and birthing centers usually have cellphone waiting rooms where you and/or your partner can send pics and messages to loved ones (and don't forget Facebook and Instagram!)
Flip-flops are more practical, and more fun to wear, than slippers. (Photo: Everything/Shutterstock)
Flip-flops. Previous generations of moms were advised to bring slippers to the hospital for walking the halls during labor and after birth. That's IF they were allowed to get out of bed. But savvy mom knows that flip-flops are actually a much better choice for hospital footwear because A) swollen pregnant feet may not fit in slippers, and B) flips can double as foot protectors in the shower.
A nursing pad can prevent leaks and keep you more comfortable as your milk comes in. (Photo: Venus Angel/Shutterstock)
Nursing pads. The reasons to breastfeed a baby are endless (see here and here for starters.) But regardless of whether or not you choose to nurse, nursing pads can be useful to new moms in those first few days after birth. They help to prevent leakage and keep you clean as your milk starts to flow.
Bring an empty diaper bag or tote to the hospital so that you can carry home all of your baby's new things. (Photo: Mukhina Viktoriia/Shutterstock)
An extra bag. New moms leave the hospital with lots more than they came with. And I'm not just talking about the new baby! This is the time when lots of baby gear companies want to smother you with samples so you will likely go home with stacks of disposable diapers, creams, wipes and onesies. If you can use this stuff, take it. Just make sure you have an extra tote or diaper bag stuffed in your go-bag so that you can juggle it all on your way out.
Help older kids adjust to the new kid in town with a small gift from the new baby. (Photo: Sarahbean/Shutterstock)
Big brother gift. if this is your second (or third or fourth) baby, you might want to consider picking up a small gift for your older children that comes either from you and your partner or from the new baby. A new baby in the house is a big adjustment for everyone, and it's nice for kids to know that they haven't been forgotten in the shuffle.
Yes, it's their job, but most OB-GYN nurses go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to caring for moms in labor. (Photo: Tyler Olson/Shutterstock)
Thank-you gift. The nurses who care for you during your labor, delivery and recovery will see you at your worst. They will pick you up, clean you up, and keep you stocked with those all-important ice chips. Sure, they get paid to do what they do. But a bag of chocolate to let them know they are appreciated can go a long way toward making their day just a little more awesome.