Ramping up to Birth Article

Hospital Practice Runs

As the due date gets closer, make some practice driving runs to the hospital. Get an idea of how much time it takes to get there. Also be aware of traffic patterns.

Determine if rush hour traffic may be a factor on your route and the hours when it may be thickest. Have an alternate route planned in case there is a traffic jam.

As you near the date keep your gas tank topped off. (A worst case scenario would be timing your wife's contractions in line for gas during rush hour.)

While there is usually more than enough time to get to the hospital, a little bit of foresight can avoid making an exciting event into an overly stressful one, especially for a mom in labor.

Make sure your car is in good working order. Check the:

  • Tires
  • Battery
  • Brakes
  • Windshield wipers

Park in the visitor's lot; it would be very unfortunate to leave it in a restricted area and find it has been towed when you are ready to take your baby home.

Drive Gingerly and Watch the Bumps

Your trip to the hospital is not a NASCAR event; your practice runs and the real thing should be as smooth as possible because a woman in labor is extremely sensitive to sudden moves and even small bumps. A calm drive also helps mom stay calm and focused.

Install the Car Seat Early
Hospitals require your baby to be in a car seat for the ride home. This is no time to be fumbling with instructions and adjustments to the straps on these confounding things, while mom sits tired and waiting, perhaps with a crying baby. Install it early and get used to adjusting the straps; you will want to look like a pro when getting your baby situated for his first ride home.

If you have any concerns about installing the seat correctly, consult a certified expert at a car seat fitting station. Use the National Highway Traffic Administration's Child Safety Seat Inspection Station Locator to find a station near you.


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