It is PEAK SEASON and the maternity wards are overflowing with patients.
Labour Ward (LW) is my favourite place to work while on Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) because it is so similar to Accident and Emergency- except for (recently) pregnant women. It’s been 6 weeks into O&G and I have lost count of how many pregnant women I have seen come in and out of the LW.
The LW at my hospital has several signs that instruct patients on how to prepare for delivery, I thought I would share a few of these with you over the course of this month- since it is peak season.
When it comes closer to your due date, it’s time to start preparing for the baby, when you get to the delivery suite you’re expected to have a few things to pack in your basin. These are:
- Nightgown, underwear and slip
- Pack of maternity pads
- Dettol/ Savlon
- Pack of disposable sheets
- Two receivers
- Shirt, cap and socks for baby
- Olive oil
The only addition I have to the list is blood donor slips! Everyone who is pregnant should have at least 2 blood donor slips in the event that blood is needed during the peripartum (after birth) period.
Let’s go through each here.
When you get to the delivery suite you will be asked to change into your nightgown, depending on how far along you are, you may be asked to remove the underwear and slip and just place a maternity pad between your legs while lying on a disposable sheet (to prevent soiling of the bed).
After delivery, the baby is placed on one receiver and gently cleaned with it and olive oil. The olive oil makes it easier to clean the baby and prevent damage to the baby’s delicate skin. Once cleaned and shown to the mother to determine sex, the baby is put in another receiver. After doing various checks, the baby is dressed and wrapped in the receiver and given to the mother (if not admitted to the special care nursery).
The LW is fairly cold, so it’s important that appropriate clothing is brought for the baby to help keep them warm.
Giving birth can be a messy process and for quick cleanup, you are asked to bring Dettol or savlon to help with that process.
In my short experience, most persons don’t bring a fleet enema, a lot of times we don’t have the facilities to accommodate an enema, but it is exceptionally important of stool is felt while doing a vaginal examination and may pose as a problem during delivery.
When you are pushing, you’re asked to “bear down” as if you’re passing stool- and sometimes that’s exactly what happens! An enema ensures the rectum is empty- but more importantly, it clears the way for the baby if there’s a substantial amount of stool.
After delivery, you will be expected to be dressed in a nightgown and slip (for modesty) until you’re discharged. This is for ease of examination and takes the thought out of what and what is not appropriate hospital wear at the time.
For persons who deliver abdominally, meaning via a cesarean section, the things on this list are still what you should bring, however, there may be some small differences.
Having a baby takes a lot of preparation, financially, physically and mentally. During this peak season reach out to a mother who may need some help.
For those of you who are expecting, I wish you a quick and safe delivery!
Samantha C. Johnson
During this period remember there are many persons who are unable to afford basic necessities. I have three call to actions today:
- Donate blood for someone who is pregnant!
- Your local hospital accepts donations of sheets, clothes etc. So please feel free to donate!
- Speak with your doctor about contraception methods that might be right for you and your family and the benefits of family planning
Special thanks to my hospital and midwives for the information and a patient for allowing me to take a picture of their basin!