12 Labor and Delivery Do's and Don'ts – According to Real Moms

True fact: Every woman’s labor and delivery experience is different. (Don’t get us started on our sister’s friend’s cousin who had her baby in the back of an Uber.) But we do firmly believe there’s wisdom to be found in others’ been-there advice. That’s why we rounded up some labor and delivery tips from real moms around the country—all for you to heed or ignore however you see fit. 

Here’s How Mothers Give Birth Around the World

delivery do 1

Do: Bring a water bottle. No matter how it goes down, you're going to be thirsty, and you'll want something leak-proof you can keep at your side.

Don't: Bring reading material. Nobody actually ever reads at the hospital.

-Julia, Minnesota

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Do: Be aware of your contractions so you go to the hospital at the right time. If you go too late, you’ll miss your epidural window. 

Don’t: Assume you’ll have a private room. Find out ahead of time what your options are and reserve one as soon as you’re able to. (Well worth the extra cost.)

-Dabee, New York

delivery dos donts 3

Do: Bring your own pads and granny panties. The pads from the hospital are about six inches thick…and no one wants to feel like there’s a pillow-top mattress in her underwear.

Don't: Demand a cold bottle of Champagne an hour after a C-section. It will still be a few days before that actually sounds good.  

- Morgan, Arkansas

body pillow
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Do: Bring a body pillow. In addition to providing extra comfort during a long labor, it can double as support if you’re learning to breastfeed while lying down (which I also recommend).

Don't: Be afraid to yell at family members to give you space. It's wonderful if you want someone there, but if they’re making fun of your contraction noises or walk in on you as you’re actively pushing when you specifically told them not to come in, kick them out!

- Caitrin, Pennsylvania

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Do: Ask the nurses to turn the wall-mounted TVs away from you. Otherwise you/your partner will see the reflection of your baby exiting your body. (Which maybe you’re into, but I wasn’t.)

Don't: Buy pregnancy bras before you give birth, because your boobs will literally double in size overnight.

- Megan, California

delivery dos donts 6

Do: Bring your own shampoo, conditioner, lotion and soap (or really anything that smells familiar). You'll be so thankful in that first shower when all you want is to feel like yourself again.

Don't: Worry about being a "good patient." Doctors and nurses aren't mind readers, so make your wishes known clearly. Don't assume they're going to know what you mean. If you need more pain meds, press the damn button and do not apologize.

- Ashley, Texas 

jillian quint

Editor-in-Chief, Avid Reader, Wallpaper Enthusiast

Jillian Quint is the Editor-in-Chief of PureWow, where she oversees the editorial staff and all the fabulous content you read every day. Jillian began her career as a book editor...