What I Wish I Had Known About Hospital Birth


I’ve had both my babies in hospitals. One naturally, and one surgically. Both times there were things about my stay while giving birth that surprised me. Good and bad. I thought I was more prepared the second time, but I was still taken aback about some things that came differently with a vaginal birth!

You can do all the research and feel as prepared as possible. I was, and there are still things I wish I had known going into it, or things I would’ve prepared for or done differently!

You Can Wear You Own Clothes

Up until I received my epidural, I was allowed to wear my own clothes. From the epidural through birth I had to be in a hospital gown so they could routinely check me and I could push when the time came, but until then I stayed in my comfy sweats, nursing tank, and robe. After I got cleaned up after birth I changed back into my own clothes too. Pack lots of lounge outfits and cute pajamas! I often go visit friends who have had babies and they’re still in that hospital gown for days after birth during their hospital stay because they didn’t bring anything else. You’ll be so much warmer and more comfortable, just make sure it’s nursing friendly!

The Uterus Massage

After birth, the nurse is going to massage your uterus. It is a technique used to decrease bleeding and cramping after birth. It’s good for you in the long run, but it’s going to hurt. A lot. You’ve been warned.

Your Baby Won’t Be Bathed for 8 Hours

This could vary by hospital. But at mine they didn’t bathe the baby until it was 8 hours old. In all honesty, I’ve forgotten why, but be prepared your baby might have vernix (the white creamy coating that covers their skin in the womb) stuck to them for a while. They’ll be so cute and squishy you probably won’t mind.

You Can Save Baby’s Cord Blood

This is one of my biggest regrets. I’m not sure why nobody gave me this information during my prenatal care for either of my pregnancies, but no one ever talked to me about my options for banking my baby’s cord blood. It wasn’t until after Oliver was born that I started learning more about the benefits of cord blood and the different companies that can collect and store it for you. Every expecting family should make sure they are educated on the option to preserve their newborn’s stem cells.

Newborns and their stem cells are full of potential. Today, many conditions may be treatable with cord blood as a part of a stem cell transplant, including various cancers and blood, immune, and metabolic disorders.* Cord Blood Registry (CBR) is helping to advance stem cell research by partnering with reputable research institutions on FDA-regulated clinical trials.

Most recently, results of a CBR funded clinical trial led by researchers at Sutter Medical Center, were published. The study showed that the use of a child’s own cord blood was safe in children with autism. To learn more about the trial click here or watch this great video.

There are other clinical trials currently underway that are investigating the use of cord blood stem cells in regenerative medicine. The hope is that one day stem cells will be used to help repair, regenerate and heal the body. Preserving your newborn’s stem cells may give your child or an immediate family member, depending on the condition and other factors, the opportunity to use this resource for current cord blood therapies*. Every parent does their best to prepare for their family’s future. Preserving your baby’s newborn stem cells with CBR is one way to do that.

Here are 5 steps to get set-up with CBR:

  1. Enroll with CBR online HERE, or call 1-888-240-1996
  2. CBR will ship you a collection kit
  3. Bring your kit to the hospital with you on baby’s birthday
  4. Call the medical courier after the blood has been collected by a healthcare professional
  5. CBR will handle the rest and call you once the kit is received

Every family who enrolls with Cord Blood Registry (CBR) will have access to their team of Certified Genetic Counselors who can discuss your family’s history and educate you on your options. They have plenty of options to make it affordable for you including payment plans, the option to add it to your registry so friends and family can contribute, and assistance programs for those who qualify. There is research being done to to investigate the potential for newborn stem cells to treat certain conditions that currently have no cure. You don’t want to miss out on this possibly life saving technology. Head here to learn more about CBR.

Do Not Skip the Lactation Consultations

When they ask you if you would like a lactation consultant to come to your room, SAY YES. Even if it’s your 7th baby. Even if your baby seems to be nursing perfectly. SAY YES. These women are geniuses. Breastfeeding is hard. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done (twice now) and the lactation consults were so helpful (shout out to Nurse Fran in the NICU at St. Josephs. She’s my favorite human). In the hospital they’re free and once you leave you’re kind of on your own or paying out of pocket to work with a lactation consultant (it isn’t covered by most insurance policies), so absorb absolutely all the information you can during your hospital stay. If you end up staying in the hospital a few extra days for whatever reason, or your baby stays in the NICU for any amount of time, take extra lactation consults! Trust me, you will never regret getting “too many” professional tips when it comes to breastfeeding. You’ll need all the help you can get!

What are some thing you weren’t expecting about your hospital stay? What would you have done differently? Comment below!