What to expect on delivery day

healthy mama

Hello! I’m Dr. Matthew Steed and I work at Mercy. I’m also a husband and dad. A couple of weeks ago, Gwen and Shannon asked me to do an article on what a first-time mother should expect on delivery day.

Although I will never understand the “urge to push” or how it feels to look at a doctor and say “Did I just…?! I am so sorry, but you told me to push!” I have delivered hundreds of babies and remember a conversation my wife Kim and I had around the 37th week of her first pregnancy about what to expect on “delivery day.”

On multiple occasions we discussed things that were important to her: 

  • wanting to feel contractions, but not be overwhelmed with pain;
  • to remain informed as labor progressed and be involved in decision making;
  • not getting an episiotomy or foley catheter unless absolutely necessary;
  • what is going to happen to her body during delivery;
  • does she need an epidural and is it ever too late or too soon to get one; 
  • what if she wanted to have a natural delivery or to walk around after her water broke;
  • what if she could not manage her emotions or gave up or “just wanted to have a c-section….NOW!” and,
  • after the delivery does everything go back to the way it was before pregnancy?

Having been to all of her prenatal visits, I remembered her obstetrician going over most of these questions, but like any doctor-slash-husband would do, we started at the top of the list and talked through the delivery details.  Yes, sometimes “that” happens just before delivery. It’s okay. It really is. Doctors and nurses expect it and are ready for it.

If you want to have low intervention delivery, your nurse and doctor will be supportive. My wife’s obstetrician told her that, anytime after she dilated 3 centimeters, and as long as the baby was not “about to deliver,” she could get an epidural and would only need a foley catheter if and after she got an epidural.

dr matthew steed familyWell, Kim’s delivery went well and, after pushing for a few hours, Matthew Glyn Steed arrived. We both cried and I delivered our first child. (It went so well that 26 months later we did the whole thing over again. As you can see in the pic on the right, Kimberly and I are very proud of Glyn and Araceli.)

So what advice would I give to a first time mother-to-be? Be happy! You’re about to be a mom. Identify your delivery support system before the 35-week visit and make sure your delivery team knows your plans. If there is someone you would like to keep out of the room during delivery, your team can help “limit the number of people in the room” without making it obvious you requested it. (Sorry, mother in-laws.)

Bring a new inexpensive set of PJ’s, house shoes, your pillow, camera with new batteries, makeup, and other personal hygiene items. These items will be very helpful after delivery when taking pictures. The baby will need a couple of blankets, a few pair of clothes, car seat and always keep the receipts. (Let’s not forget that sometimes ultrasounds and doctors do get it wrong!)

If possible, visit labor and delivery, see a delivery room, meet the staff and if you want to score big, bring the nurses chocolates. 🙂 Bring your birth plan and understand that your baby cannot read and might not follow all 100 steps. Plan to stay in the hospital between 24 and 48 hours after delivery and remember healthy babies and happy moms make the world go around.

Your perfect delivery awaits.

To schedule a visit with Dr. Steed, call the Mercy clinic at 479-338-5555. His office is located in the Mercy Physician’s Plaza just off Interstate 540 in Rogers.

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