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It’s a good idea to prepare yourself for what may happen in labour and immediately after birth. Your LMC may run through an antenatal feeding checklist and your birth plan with you about how to make sure you have a chance to talk about anything you want to.
If you’re going to a maternity unit, it’s a good idea to pack two bags, one for labour and the other for afterwards. Here are our suggestions for what to put in them:
Afterwards (second bag)
You may be asked to come for an extra scan if:
It’s to check that all is fine and to make sure your baby’s still growing well.
Some women don’t want their partner with them – they may feel he or she is needed more at home looking after older children, or they may want to feel able to shout and scream as much as they like in labour with another woman who understands just how they feel!
Others want their partner to be with them throughout the whole experience. It’s worth talking things through with your partner. Some partners know they want to be there, others are not really sure. If your partner wants to opt out and pace the corridor, think about who else you would like to be with you. Perhaps your mother or your sister? How about a close friend?
Of course you will have an LMC with you during labour but it’s worthwhile having someone else with you who can hold your hands, rub your back and remind you why you are doing all this!
Your baby will be checked at birth, and then again after the first five minutes, and given a score called the Apgar score. The test is named after the doctor who first developed this checklist to give a quick picture of a new baby’s condition and help medical staff decide whether special care or some other help was needed. Your baby is checked on:
Appearance (colour) – 0 for pale, 1 for pink with blue hands and feet, 2 for pink all over.
Pulse (heartbeat) – 0 if none can be found, 1 for a heartbeat below 100, 2 for a heartbeat above 100 beats per minute.
Grimace (response to stimulation) – 0 if no response, 1 if the baby grimaces, 2 if the baby responds with a strong cry.
Activity (muscle tone) – 0 if the baby is weak or shows no activity, 1 if the baby shows some limited movement, 2 for strong movements.
Respiration (breathing) – 0 for none, 1 for slow and irregular breaths, 2 for good (usually involving crying!).
When the numbers are added up, the highest score is 10.