Assuming you’re not getting induced or having a planned cesarean, your ride to the hospital is something to plan for. Contractions – in a car – for many of you in New York City? I learned to drive on the FDR and still don’t envy anyone laboring on that road. In all seriousness, I would say the car ride is never as stressful as most people assume it will be. But to help you plan, here are four things to keep in mind and five tools you want to have on hand!
Tell your driver to be safe. This means don’t rush and don’t zig zag to avoid potholes. It is so unlikely that you will have your baby in the car a few extra minutes is not going to make a difference. And let’s be real, avoiding potholes is often more nausea-inducing than hitting them. Baby will be ok if you hit a bump!
Know where you’re going. Many hospitals have multiple entrances or difference entrances depending on the time of the day or night. Take a tour or get clear instructions from your midwife or doctor about where to go, when.
Don’t go too early. Unless you’re staying in a hotel or at a friends house nearby, getting the care ride “over-with” before your contractions pick up just means that you’ll likely be sent home. When should you go? This is something to explore in depth during a birthing class and/or with your midwife or doctor.
Take a photo of your cab. This one is new to me, but I’ll share it. A dad in one of my classes recently suggested, if you’re taking a cab to photograph it before you get in. Apparently there have been some cases of Uber drivers faking damages to their car to claim cleaning fees from riders. Might not be bad to protect yourself. Besides this I will say, I am partial to taxi’s over driving yourself if you’re in an urban area. You free up your partners hand’s for massage and don’t have to worry about parking. They can go back and get the car and carseat the next day.
In the car, cosy up in the back seat. No need to confine yourself to the front here. Here’s what you’ll want to have handy:
Eye mask or scarf. This can help you block out the lights and traffic patterns around you. That kind of processing can stress you out and disrupt your labor pattern.
Head phones. Block out the sounds! Put on a dance mix or some meditation tracks and stay in your own world.
2 pillows. For hugging or leaning over. Comfort is key! Maybe an airplane neck pillow too, if you have one!
Depends. So, if your water has broken you’re going to be leaking some fluids. If it hasn’t, it might break in the car. Either way, a pair of Depends (the adult diapers) or a large pad can avoid the need for you to sit on a towel or clean up after yourself.
Sickness Bag. Along the same lines, contraction or motion sickness may cause nausea, so you’ll want to be ready in case you need to throw up in the car. Have a friend take some from their next airplane ride or use my personal trick paper towel trick: fold up a bunch of paper towels and put them at the bottom of a regular plastic bag or large ziplock. The absorption factor works wonders.
Learn more with Ashley at our next All Things Birth Workshop (for those in their first or second trimester) or during a Comprehensive Childbirth Education Weekend @ FPC.