With bright lights and stark walls, labor & delivery rooms in the hospital aren't usually what come to mind when most of us think of a serene environment. Choosing to deliver your baby in the hospital where you feel safest doesn't mean you cannot also create a cozy birthing space with reminders of home.
A darkened room facilitates relaxation and rest- and it can also aid in the progression of labor. Turn down the lights in the L&D room or switch them completely off. Ask your nurse to turn monitors away from you to reduce their bright glow.
Some women will bring along LED candles or a strand of white holiday lights for ambiance.
A Favorite Snuggle
If the idea of wearing the hospital-provided gown for the duration of your stay squicks you out, consider a soft gown + robe.
A friend purchased a lap quilt for me (made by another friend!) when I had baby boy #3 and it was the perfect size to bring for him. I love the Smitten Baby Quilt by CottonBerryQuilts.
I've worked with clients who have packed along a sweater from a parent or grandparent, or a deployed spouse's shirt to wrap up in during the early part of labor.
If you bring a clothing item from a loved one, you can spritz a bit of their cologne or perfume on it (Be careful not to overdo it!) You could also try using a swipe of their favorite deodorant, after-shave lotion, or whatever sparks those warm-fuzzy feelings (let the oxytocin flow!) for you.
Most of the hospitals in the Cincinnati area are accommodating of aromatherapy and the use of essential oils in L&D rooms, but plan ahead to utilize EOs safely during labor.
Soothing Sights & Sounds
Next think about what you might like to use as a focus point during labor. Many times we look deeply into the eyes or our partner or doula, especially in moments when labor sensations are taking a lot of strength to integrate. Other times we may prefer to close our eyes and draw inward to dig deep.
It can also be helpful to have a special item or photograph to focus on. A fun project to work on at the end of pregnancy is a labor vision board: decorate a small posterboard with imagery and affirmations that speak to you. Include baby's name and an ultrasound picture! Another option is to make a cute banner, or even pick up a Happy Birthday banner to hang up in the room.
Further capitalize on your heightened creativity to make a birth playlist. Some clients have chosen Jack Johnson for a chill vibe; praise and worship songs; or even dance music played at their wedding reception. Choose what speaks to you!
If music is too distracting, take your sound machine and listen to rain falling or a gentle hum.
If you had a hospital birth, what helped you to feel more comfortable?