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​​​What Do You​​ Need to Pack Before Going to the Hospital? 

A common question, especially for first time parents, is “What do I need to pack for the hospital?” 

Do not be daunted by the huge size of this suggested list — you do not have to bring all the things that are listed here. 

The idea here is to have a comprehensive list that you can pick and choose from. This enables you to customise your own list of the things so that you can feel comfortable at the end of the day. 

Here are some suggestions:​ 

1. For Mom

Toiletries: 

  • ​​Lotion 

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste 

  • Hairbrush/comb 

  • Shampoo/soap 

  • Towel/facecloth 

Clothing (You will be wearing a hospital gown during your delivery) 

  • Two loose-fit nighties — preferably the breastfeeding kind (if you are not keen to use the hospital gown which are made for breastfeeding) 

  • A pair of slippers​ 

  • A few underwear items

  • Socks 

  • Nursing bra 

  • Clothing to wear upon discharge from the hospital 

Birth plan: 

2. For Your Partner: 

  • Some reading material when your spouse is sleeping or resting 

  • Toiletries 

  • Change of clothes 

  • Sweater 

3. For Baby: 

  • One baby outfit upon discharge 

  • Receiving blanket 

  • One pair of socks or booties 

  • One pair of mittens 

  • Cap 

After Delivery: 

  • Name list of people to call once baby arrives. You will inevitably forget to call someone. 

  • Digital camera/camcorder — to capture all those precious moments. 

Do Not Bring: 

  • ​Valuables

  • Jewelry 

  • Laptop computer 

​What Happens When You Arrive at the Delivery Suite? 

You will be attended to by the midwife and the doctor-on-duty, who will assess whether you are in labour or not at the triage area situated at the entrance of the delivery suite. 

Based on your condition, you will be either admitted to the delivery suite, antenatal ward, or advised to return home with a follow up appointment to see your ob​stetrician​. 

What Do I Expect in the Delivery Suite? 

Once admitted, you will be directed into one of the rooms by one of the staff. Monitoring is done to follow the course of labour (whether you are progressing normally) and to find out the status of the fetus during labour. 

Your Doctor/Nurse will Monitor the Following in the Delivery Suite: 

  • ​Your vital parameters such as general condition, pulse rate, blood pressure and temperature on a 4-hourly basis. 

  • A cardiotocograph will probably be used, whereby a strap will be gently placed around your abdomen to allow us to monitor the following: 

    • ​​The frequency and intensity of your uterine contractions — medication may be needed to help increase the contractions so that labour can progress normally. 

    • The continuous monitoring of your baby’s heart rate — this helps us to detect any abnormal patterns of the baby’s heart rate so that appropriate interventions may be administered. 

This may be performed at a half-hourly interval or for a continuous period till your baby is delivered. A continual beeping sound will be emitted during the monitoring process, so do not be alarmed as the volume can be adjusted accordingly. 

The use of this monitor is safe for you and your baby.​ 

  • ​​Periodic internal vaginal examination. Your doctor or nurse may do an internal examination periodically (usually at 4 hourly intervals) or as the situation requires. An internal examination is performed to assess the progress of labour and the colour of the amniotic fluid, which may be a reflection of your baby’s wellbeing during the course of labour. If your bag of waters is not yet ruptured, the doctor may do so using an amniohook when your cervix is dilated to about 3 cm. This procedure should be painless if you are well relaxed. You may feel some warm fluid trickling down your vulva and buttocks. 

  • An intravenous (IV) line may be inserted to administer IV fluids or other medications. This is especially important if you are kept nil-by-mouth or fasted as this prevents dehydration. 

Common Medications Used during Labour 

  • ​​Analgesics for pain relief to prevent or decrease labour pains (read the article on Labour Pain Relief​). 

  • Oxytocics to increase the effectiveness of uterine contractions so that the labour can progress normally. After your delivery, these medications will be used to reduce the amount of blood loss by promoting effective womb contractions. 

  • Antibiotics may be given intravenously to reduce the chance of infections under certain circumstances, such as in those with Group B streptococcus infections or prolonged rupture of membranes or maternal pyrexia/fever. 

  • A fleet enema may be given to you to help empty your bowels before your delivery. 

  • Medicines that may have been prescribed for you during your pregnancy will be continued to be served during your labour such as antiepileptic or thyroid medications. 

Breastfeeding After Your Delivery 

Many women prefer to breastfeed because it is natural and helps to provide the baby with the necessary antibodies to protect him/her from illness and disease. Immediately after the delivery, your baby will be handed to you for the early initiation of breastfeeding. This will facilitate subsequent successful breastfeeding, and promote close bonding between mother and baby. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What documents should I bring along? 

In addition to the above-mentioned items, you should bring along your outpatient appointment booklet, identity cards of both mum and dad, marriage certificate and admission form. 

2. What happens when I arrive at the delivery suite? 

You will be attended to by the midwife and the doctor-on-duty, who will assess whether you are in labour or not. Based on your condition, you will be either admitted to the delivery suite, antenatal ward, or advised to return home with a follow up appointment to see your obstetrician. 

3. What can I do to help myself? 

  • As far as your labour pains are concerned, in addition to the analgesia, you may try a variety of self-help methods like relaxation, deep breathing, etc. 
  • Keep yourself adequately hydrated — take ice chips to counter your thirst. 
  • A frequent mouth wash such as a periodic gargle can help you feel fresh and good. 
  • Pass urine frequently as a full bladder may impede labour. If you are unable to void, you may require a catheterization to empty your bladder. 
  • Using a damp cloth to wipe your face and body can help you feel refreshed. 
  • Having your spouse by your side throughout the labour can provide you with great physical and moral support. Your partner can massage your back, distract you and provide comfort and reassurance. This can be a great help in calming you down and helping you enjoy your labour. 
  • ​During the first stage of labour, remember not to push nor strain. Always make a conscious effort and tell yourself to relax in between your contractions. Pushing during this stage will not help in your progress in anyway. 
  • Your first stage will last for an average of 8–12 hours from the onset of labour. So remember that you will not deliver as soon as you are in the hospital.​   

Acknowledgement

Source: Dr TAN Thiam Chye, Dr TAN Kim Teng, Dr TAN Heng Hao, Dr TEE Chee Seng John, The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth, World Scientific 2008. 

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