Prepare Your Hospital Birth Space in 5 Steps
Bright fluorescent lights and the sterile vibe of a hospital room aren't conducive of an intimate birthing experience. Leaving the serenity and comfort of your home can actually increase adrenaline which interferes with the production of ocytocin, slowing surges tremendously (caveman-style defensive mechanism to prevent labor when there are potentially dangerous impending circumstances).
Creating a more comfortable environment will help your body relax and feel safe enough to birth.
Zone in on your senses to align your room with what you're typically surrounded by at home. Things like softer lighting, soft music to drown out monitors/nurses' station chatter, covering visual disturbances, creating a homey scent, and surrounding yourself with familiar textures.
Over the countless births I've attended, here my favorite tried and true things to bring for your hospital room:
If you've toured your hospital, you'll have an idea of how large the rooms are. If you don't have one already, make sure it's big enough to fill the space and will run for several hours. My favorite to bring is this Plant Therapy diffuser. It has a few different settings and easily fills even large hospital rooms with a pleasant balance of your essential oils.
A Lavender, frankincense, and patchouli blend creates a wonderful earthy, calming aroma that is really pleasant. Clary Sage essential oil has a stronger, flowery scent but is known for stimulating the uterus and strengthening a slow labor, so I always make sure to bring it to every birth I attend.
It's important to have someone turn the diffuser off as you near the actual birth (10-15 minutes is sufficient) to ensure baby's first breath is clear air, as most essential oils aren't ideal to use around newborns.
Himalayan salt lamps give off such a beautiful, deep orange glow that is grounding, yet still enough to see what you're doing making them perfect for labor and the nursing rounds. You can find them fairly small and portable too, like this one!
Another favorite are LED candles. These let off less light, so aren't typically sufficient for nursing rounds, but they do set a wonderful ambiance with their warm glow and flicker.
Bring your pillow. Seriously. I've seen way too many moms struggle with the discomforts of the elaborate hospital beds and stiff, heavily bleached pillow cases. When you're attempting to catch a few moments of rest between surges, you'll be happy to sink into that little piece of familiarity. Don’t forget to stick it in a brightly colored case to help differentiate it from the others easily.
You can also veto the hospital gown and wear your own clothing throughout your hospital stay, or order a softer gown designed for labor like this one.
A playlist, white noise, ocean waves... anything to drown out the beeping monitors and chatter in the hall. Bring a small, portable bluetooth speaker to boost the volume of your phone and not be tethered to the potential incoming storm of text messages and calls.
This applies even in the event of a cesarean! You can choose to bring your speaker and request soft, focused voices throughout the process.
This is your birth, and your space.
You can absolutely stick a sign on the door requesting quiet voices, cover the pain scale, and even specify that no one is to offer medications unless you ask for them.
Every person that you encounter interferes with your hormone production. With so many hospitals teaching students, it’s important to understand your right to decline working with them. You aren’t being difficult or uncooperative… you are establishing boundaries to protect your birth experience.
This experience is the journey that transforms you from maiden to mother. Choose some of your favorite birth affirmations to hang up, check off your supplies from this list, and enjoy your beautiful birth oasis.
Want to take it a step farther? I carry all this and more in my doula bag to every birth I attend. Let me handle the ambiance while providing unmatched support to you and your partner. Learn how we can work together to help you have an empowered, blissful birth here.