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As you prepare to welcome a new baby into your family, we’d like to welcome you into the WakeMed family. We’re here to take care of you, your baby and your entire family, not only now, but for many years to come.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Right now it’s all about you! We have many terrific programs and services to help you prepare for your new baby. We can even help you find the right pediatrician for your baby with our WakeMed Doctor Choice line. When the big day arrives, we’ll be ready and waiting to assist you in welcoming your new baby to the world. The peaceful, homelike setting of the WakeMed Women’s Pavilion & Birthplace, with locations in Raleigh and Cary, is the perfect place for this amazing event.

Is it time? 

Most women begin having “warm up” contractions during the last weeks of pregnancy. If these contractions continue, begin monitoring how often they come and how long each one lasts. If the contractions become longer, stronger and closer together, it may be a sign that the onset of labor is near.

Typically, you don’t need to call your doctor or leave for the hospital until contractions are five minutes apart and are so strong that you cannot walk or talk through them. In addition, if your water leaks or breaks, or if you experience any bleeding, call your doctor immediately.

What to Bring 

Many expectant mothers wonder what they should bring to the hospital to be most prepared and most comfortable during their stay. Here is what we recommend:

For Mommy

  • Personal identification/purse/wallet
  • Pillow and pillow case (the hospital does provide pillows but you might be most comfortable with your own)
  • Pajamas and robe
  • Bath towel (again, the hospital does provide towels but you might be most comfortable with one from home)
  • Two to three changes of comfortable clothing and underwear
  • Nursing bras
  • Socks with tread or slippers
  • Shampoo, conditioner and body/face soap
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Hairbrush and hairdryer
  • Make up, chapstick and lotion
  • Nursing pillow
  • Outfit and receiving blanket to bring baby home in (consider the weather – you might also need a hat for baby and a heavier blanket)
  • Cell phone and laptop/iPad
  • Chargers for your electronic devices

For Partner

  • Personal identification/wallet
  • Pillow and pillow case (the hospital does provide pillows but you might be most comfortable with your own)
  • Pajamas and slippers or house shoes
  • Bath towel (again, the hospital does provide towels but you might be most comfortable with one from home)
  • Two to three changes of clothing
  • Toothbrush
  • Toiletries 
  • Camera
  • Cell phone and laptop/iPad
  • Chargers for electronic devices
  • Car seat for baby

Birth Plan 

Prior to your baby's birth, it is important that you, your partner and your doctor understand your preferences, hopes and desires for the experience.  Although there is no guarantee that things will go exactly the way you anticipate, it is still helpful to have a plan in place.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, a birth plan is defined as a simple, clear, one-page statement of your preferences for the birth of your child.  For example, who do you want to be in the labor room with you?  What is your choice of labor pain management?  Do you want to use pain medication?  Would you rather stay in bed or be mobile during your labor?  What type of positions do you think will be most comfortable during labor?

About the Epidural 

Many women wonder if an epidural will take away all of the pain of labor and birth.  An epidural is typically administered after a woman has progressed well into labor.  At this point, a laboring woman has already had fairly intense contractions and may have experienced a fair amount of pain. While an epidural eases some of the pain, a lot of women still feel a lot of pressure and discomfort after receiving the epidural. That's why staying mobile and active, listening to your body, and employing other comfort measures are so important during labor.

Most expectant women are familiar with the epidural, but there are many other choices for pain relief that can be combined with, or used in lieu of, an epidural. These include analgesics (narcotics), hydrotherapy (shower and tub), massage, positioning, alternating hot and cold therapy, and comforting from your labor partner. It's best to discuss your choice of labor pain management with your doctor in your eighth or ninth month of pregnancy.

Cesarean Section 

If your baby's birth requires a Cesarean delivery, you will start off in a Labor & Delivery room and return to this room after surgery.  Your surgery will take place in an operating room (OR), and one person will be allowed in the OR with you. 

Time with Visitors and Your Baby

You will be cared for by the same nurse before and after your surgery, and while you are recovering, only one person will be allowed in the recovery room with you.  You will typically have the chance to see your baby while you are still in the OR, barring any complications, and based on your stability during recovery, your baby will be brought to you in your room.

Pain Management

Your incision may be painful and require medication for pain control. Please don't hesitate to ask your nurse for pain medication as needed. Keep the incision clean and dry. If you are permitted to take a shower, dry the incision carefully after showering.

Safety Strategies During Recovery

Call your nurse to assist you when you are ready to get out of bed. Walking is helpful to prevent complications, to stimulate your bowels and to relieve soreness from the incision. Do not lift objects heavier than your baby or do vigorous exercise until instructed to do so by your provider. Climb steps slowly and only when necessary.

Caring for Your Cesarean Incision

  • Examine your incision daily for any redness, swelling, open areas or drainage.
  • Staples are removed within seven days after surgery either:
    • before you leave the hospital.
    • in the provider’s office.
    • by a home health nurse.
  • If steri strips were applied to your incision, you may remove them in four to five days.
  • While it is fine to take showers, check with your provider before taking a bath in the tub.