Labor induction is a medical procedure to stimulate contractions before they begin naturally. Your physician may recommend that labor be induced if you are overdue, or if you have a medical condition that's putting mom or baby at risk. There are two steps to labor induction- the first is to soften to cervix, and the second is to stimulate uterine contractions. Depending on your body and how your body reacts during the procedure, the entire labor process can take anywhere from a few hours to several days. That's why it’s so important to show up to the hospital prepared for anything to happen!
The first thing that you need to bring is a change of clothes for both yourself and your birthing partner. Prepare for at least two days for the labor process itself, and two more days post-birth. However, you can always ask a friend or family member to bring you more clothes if you end up needing them. The hospital will provide you with a hospital gown to wear during the birth and a fresh one each day. Personally, I found them comfortable enough to wear that I didn’t bother taking out my own clothes. I did bring my own flip flops to avoid walking barefoot to the hospital bathroom, as well as a thick dressing gown to wear when I got cold. You and your birthing partner will also want to bring toiletries for a few days; so think about toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, face-wash and extra hair ties. If you need them, bring contact lens solution and a lens case, as well as your eyeglasses. I didn’t bother with shampoo or makeup, as I figured giving birth was a good enough excuse to go without for a few days.
Knowing that you may be in for a long wait before contractions even start, prepare some distractions for yourself and your birthing partner. Bring a laptop or tablet that has lots of TV shows or movies downloaded on it beforehand. Also, bring your cellphone along with a small speaker to play some music or relaxation exercises. Don’t forget your chargers and an extension cord, in case you don’t have a nearby power outlet. Bring some snacks for you and your birthing partner, and make sure that you eat throughout your labor to keep your energy up. I also brought myself a water bottle to remind myself to stay hydrated.
Once you’ve delivered your baby, it’s time to recover! I brought myself a pack of disposable underwear and some heavy-duty sanitary pads to wear post-birth. After all, the absolute last thing you want to have to deal with in the hospital is dirty underwear. If you’re planning on breastfeeding, bring some lanolin cream to soothe sore nipples; some women like to bring a nursing bra along too, but I found I was comfortable enough without one. In addition, you’ll need a few outfits for baby to wear in the hospital and on the drive home. Don't forget that you won’t be allowed to drive home from the hospital without a properly installed car seat, so make sure that that's all prepared beforehand.
One of the advantages of being induced is that you know exactly when you’re going to go into labor, so you can prepare accordingly. On the other hand, you may end up bringing way too much stuff because you’ve had too much time to prepare. There were a few things that I brought with me that never got taken out of my hospital bag. On was my birthing ball that I had brought to sit on during contractions. It wasn’t practical at all because I was hooked up to an IV and a heart-rate monitor the entire time. The same thing goes for the extra towels and bathing suit I brought in case I wanted to bathe while laboring. While my husband did grumble a bit about having to lug a mostly unused suitcase around the hospital, I still feel like it was better to go in prepared than to want something and not have it. We’re going in to give birth, after all, so we should be able to bring in whatever we think we’ll need.