Preparing for the birth of a baby requires advanced strategic planning and meticulous preparation. It’s made harder because, for many of us, our experience of the Labour Ward and delivery rooms is entirely alien. Sensible parents-to-be are able to book a tour of the Labour Ward before the big day. Note, I was not one of the sensible ones!
There’s a long list of items you and your partner will need for your stay in hospital. My wife packed everything for the birth of our son and I honestly couldn’t tell you what was in the bags, except it felt like we were going on a week’s holiday.
I believe there were a few essential tech items that made our birth experience go more smoothly.
Here’s a quick run-down:
Let’s start with the obvious one. Everyone has a smart phone these days. This essential bit of kit can transform the birth experience. But first thing’s first, you don’t want to be using it to call anyone. In fact, turn the phone function off. The birth process is something that both of you need to focus on completely. Shut out the outside world and don’t think of anyone outside the walls of the delivery room. So what do you use it for? Photos mostly. And entertainment.
It’s good to have a tablet to hand. I didn’t use ours much, but when labour slowed down or got painful it was useful to put on BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Amazon, etc. We also compiled a playlist of songs for the birth using Spotify. Streaming music is a great invention and you can download playlists to your device. Not got an account with Spotify, Amazon, or Deezer? You can sign up for a month free trial and, if you time it around the due date, you can easily get your month’s worth of music and then cancel your plan.
These are fantastic inventions that have become much more affordable. For the birth of our first baby in 2012 all I brought along with me was an old digital radio tuned to Smooth Radio. And then the batteries ran out half way through the birth! A Bluetooth speaker, like a UE Boom or the JBL Flip 3 (which I bought) can play up to 15 hours of music. I had mine linked up to Spotify on the iPad. The sound is pretty impressive with good bass. There were moments during our son’s birth that we brought out the hard house music to get us through. Invest in one of these speakers if you can!
Alternatively, your partner might like to shut everything out. The delivery room can be a pretty overwhelming space, with midwives coming in and out, and monitors beeping. You can shut all this out with a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Basic models give you a good seal around your ears. More expensive options actively block out outside stimuli using some sort of advanced technology or magic spell. Find out more on Trusted Reviews.
LED candles and diffuser.
The delivery room can be a cold and unfamiliar place. A dad-to-be’s job is to make it as relaxing as possible. You can cover up the medical equipment, cover up the clock (because who wants to count the minutes?) and light some candles, right? No hospital would be happy with a room full of real candles and naked flames, but there are better alternatives. Why not take along some LED candles. Some even have an accompanying scent. Or take along a portable electronic diffuser for those soothing scents of lavender.
Ok, so we didn’t use these and I’m not sure if anyone ever has! But VR goggles fit over your eyes and hold a phone that displays virtual environments on apps such as Google Cardboard. Let’s say your partner doubled these up with the noise cancelling headphones, she could be transported to a faraway island or the top of a mountain. Whatever helps to calm her. Because ultimately a calm state of mind releases the hormone oxytocin which helps with the birth process. Stress creates adrenaline which slows things down. So, as silly as this idea might be, perhaps someone should try it sometime!
If you’re taking tech along to the delivery room you better be sure it works. You’ve only got one shot at this and you won’t be able to pop home to get something you’ve forgotten. Two final considerations:
Most hospitals are officially against charging your own equipment in their power sockets. There may not even be any suitable sockets around. So it’s important to charge all your devices fully. Take along a portable charger if you can. You never know how long you’re going to be there.
Most hospitals will have a good wifi network. Look into this before you go, especially if you’re planning on streaming music. If the wifi access is poor make sure you’ve downloaded any music onto your devices. Or if you have 4G you’re winning.
Let me know your thoughts, what are you planning on taking? What did you take? What worked and what didn’t?