As with all women, Native women need to prepare for the birth of their child carefully. There are cultural, logistical, and practical considerations to take into account, but these will vary according to tribal background and personal circumstances.
However, regardless of these variations, there’s a checklist of items that are essential for a trouble-free labor, delivery, and the first few months as a new parent.
In the weeks before the birth
The best way to make sure that things go smoothly is to prepare in advance, and to do this, you’ll need the following things in place.
1 Your hospital bag
You should have a bag ready with all the essentials for your stay in the hospital. As well as the obvious items like clothing and toiletries, you should also remember snacks and drinks to keep you hydrated and your blood sugar at a reasonable level if you’re kept waiting for any extended amount of time.
Something that you also need to add to the list is charging cables for your phone, as you’ll still need to communicate with family and friends while you’re in the hospital. Your phone will also be essential for any relaxation aids in the form of meditation apps or music playlists you’ve created to keep you calm on the day.
2 Birth plan
You should also have a birth plan in place, as the medical team involved might not be aware of any specific requirements regarding the birth of your child. This is especially important because as a Native woman, they could be very different from what they might normally do. You should also include instructions on pain management and anyone you’d like to be present at the birth.
3 Insurance and important information
In addition to these preparations, you need to make sure that you have all your medical insurance documentation with you and any paperwork that needs to be completed before you can be admitted to the maternity center.
You should also be prepared to seek support should things not go as planned and have the contact details for an experienced birth trauma attorney in your list of contacts. Doing this in advance might seem overly pessimistic, but it’ll be easier to do it this way rather than trying to find somebody when you’re in an emotionally charged state.
As the due date approaches
In the run-up to labor, there are additional practicalities to consider, and these will include making sure that your vehicle or your partner’s is fully fueled and mechanically sound to get you to the hospital. You should also be aware of where you can park at the medical center and which entrance to use when the big day arrives.
It’s also time to pack the essentials for the baby, including newborn diapers, a blanket to keep them warm during the trip home, and a “coming home” outfit for them to wear. A car seat is normally required by hospitals before they allow you to leave with your new baby, so you need to make sure that one is in place and is fitted correctly.