There is no such thing called ‘easy labor’ – or is there?


I agree, to an extent, there is no such thing as easy labor, but with careful planning and learning what and what not to do, the labor pain can be reduced and you can have an ‘easier labor’ than if you would’ve otherwise had. After giving birth to three children, three different ways, I can tell you all the scary, funny, yucky stories of labor if you want me to, but I will leave that for your imagination and I’m sure you’ll have your own stories to add once you actually give birth to your little baby too.

Just to share with you the bare minimum, my first son was supposed to be born in the middle of a hot summer day. Well, the problem is that he didn’t want to come out of his happy place according to our schedule,  so after few days of waiting for labor pains, we had to give a little nudge and ask him so nicely to please come out so we can see his beautiful face. Even with an epidural on my back to ease the pains, I can tell you, I knew the moment he was ready to push out, I was in so much pain I couldn’t even call my sleeping hubby few feet away from me, so I gently threw my teddy bear at him to wake him up in the middle of the night to tell him ‘it’s time’. The second son couldn’t wait to get out  and explore this world – he’s seven years old today, an extremely curious little boy, still makes me worry about his safety – almost came out right on the couch at home, so we had to rush to the hospital and had an emergency C-section. The third, we planned a C-section because of pregnancy complications. Between my first and the second, I carried a baby for four months before having a painful miscarriage. So, as you can see, I’ve seen and been through it all and would like to share with you few tips to make this journey as easy as possible from what I learned along the way.


  1. Ask for a good support person:

Your partner obviously is the best support person in this journey. But remember, he is also going through an emotional roller coaster just as you are during the labor. So it is a good idea to have a doula (a person trained specially to help pregnant mothers during labor, most of them have experience that can be very useful for first time mothers) or a close relative to support you. Make sure to discuss clearly with your person of choice about expectations and preferences from each side. If you do have a birth plan, it is good to discuss the birth plan with the doula or the support person.


  1. Walk the pains away:

During the full nine months, I walked daily for exercise. Even while waiting at the hospital during labor pains, I walked around to distract myself from the pains. Most first time mothers have long labor periods, sometimes about ten, twelve hours long. My friend went baby gear shopping when she was already dilated!! She had planned to go to the nearest Baby item store on the way to the hospital. It was a great way to distract herself from the pains. She was with her husband and they were less than two minutes away from the hospital. The store was inside a shopping mall which made it easier for her to walk around and, talk about distractions, what else can you do for fun in a shopping mall other than people watching?


  1. Eat small meals or snack often:

pregnancy_625x350_41448621471Don’t worry now about the weight gains. You have done all that careful monitoring of your weight gain during the nine months. Right now, you need to focus on the birth of your child. Avoid fatty food or heavy meals that might make you nauseated during labor. Choose health snacks and pack some for hospital in case if you do not like what is offered to you. I even had a bar of chocolate in my hospital bag!!

  1. Stay home and rest until the right moment to go to the hospital:

One thing you do not want is to wait at the hospital for hours before the labor begins. If you have a comfortable and reliable way to get to the hospital within five to ten minutes, you can stay home until you feel the contractions within 4-5 minutes apart. For most mothers, it takes about an hour from this point to actual labor.  When the contractions are getting closer and stronger, you know it is time to get out of the house. Until then, it is better to take it slow, breath, drink water, rest, put your feet up and relax. This is not the time to run around packing the hospital bag, so make sure to have that ready few weeks ahead.


  1. Take a shower:

You can actually take a shower while having contractions and it is a good idea to do so because you never know when is the next time you get to have a shower on your own, in your own bathroom. So, make sure you are safe and that the hospital bag is ready, and go take that shower or even a soak in a bath tub would be helpful to ease the pains.


  1. Welcome the unexpected:

You might feel embarrassed having all those people around, about the unexpected bodily functions, noises you make, the lunatic behavior that you show, but remember, they are trained professionals to do the job right. They have seen in all. Your doctor might recommend pain medication or tips to help you at the moment, and you need to trust your doctor. Ask questions but remember you have trusted this individual through nine months of taking care of this baby. I remember when I faced my emergency C-section, my doctor wanted to explain me the procedure and I told her very clearly that I trusted her with my whole heart to do the right thing for me and my baby and that is all I needed to tell her. This trust makes everyone’s job much easier including yours.


  1. Take your unfinished crochet project to the hospital with you:

This might seem odd to you, but I actually had my project in hand during labor pains and the long waits felt much shorter with each new row I add to my project. The urge to finish the project kept me busy and distracted enough to ease the pains. I also benefited from the sitting position between contractions. In between contractions, I’ll forget all about the next contraction and add few chains or fillings to my baby blanket I was making for my baby. Years later, my son still brags about how his mom made this blanket while he was being born, it truly was labor of love!! You can take small coloring books, short stories, magazines to read if you are not into projects like I was. Something that you love and can’t wait to finish will keep that focus away from the contractions and pains.

3As with anything, things don’t always go in the direction you planned it to be. So, the important message here is to take it easy. Rest and less stressful is the best way to ease the pains of labor.  I have been reading a small book called “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. If it is not going to affect you at this moment, don’t worry about it now. If you hear about political crisis happening in the other side of the earth, thought it might affect you in the long run, at this moment, it belong to the ‘Small Stuff’. Try to stay away from any potentially stressful discussions unless you must engage in such conversations. Enjoy the moment and tune out any negative thoughts. Listen to music and read a good book. There is no way to predict how your labor will turn out no matter how much we want to know.


Dr Ganga Fernando received her PhD from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and currently teaching at Cottey College – a four-year University of liberal arts and sciences for women –  as an Associate Professor of Chemistry. In her role as a faculty member of the BS in Health Science program, she offers research and internship opportunities in the field of Global Public Health disparities and health care in rural South East Asia. She is a mother of 3 and a world traveler with vast experience in women’s health and maternity.



Pregnancy Diet – “ Bump and the balanced diet”

It is always recommended to have good nutrition during pregnancy, since it is very important for your baby to grow and develop. When consuming food and drinks you should always think of the life growing inside your tummy. Although nausea and vomiting during the first few months of pregnancy can make this difficult, try to eat a well-balanced diet and take prenatal vitamins. Here are some recommendations to keep you and your baby healthy. Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. pregnancy_625x350_41448621471Choose foods high in fiber that are enriched, such as whole-grain breads, cereals, beans, corn pasta, as well as fruits and vegetables. Although it’s best to get your fiber from foods, taking a fiber supplement can help you get the necessary amount. Always discuss with your doctor before starting any supplements. If you take a fiber supplement, increase the amount you take slowly. This can help prevent gas and cramping. It’s also important to drink enough liquids when you increase your fiber intake.

Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet while pregnant. You should take a prenatal vitamin supplement to make sure you are consistently getting enough vitamins and minerals every day. Your doctor can recommend an over-the-counter brand or prescribe a prenatal vitamin for you.

Vitamins that you need to take during pregnancy

The main vitamins that we need to take during pregnancy are:

  • Folic acid – helps prevent neural tube birth defects, which affect the brain and spinal cord.
  • Calcium – helps prevent pregnant mothers from losing her own bone density as the baby uses calcium for its own bone growth.
  • Iodine – is critical for a woman’s healthy thyroid function during pregnancy. A deficiency in iodine can stunt physical growth, severe mental disability and deafness. Also not enough iodine can lead to miscarriage.
  • Iron


    Foods to take during pregnancy:

  • Dairy Products – consuming more dairy products will help maintain the necessary amount of Calcium needed.
  • Broccoli and leafy greens – These include fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron, folate and potassium.
  • Meat – Iron is an essential mineral that is used by red blood cells as a part of hemoglobin. It is important for delivering oxygen to all cells in the body.
  • Fish liver oil – The oil is very rich in the omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for29fishoil-facebookjumbo fetal brain and eye development. Fish liver oil is also very high in vitamin D, which many people do not get enough of. It may be highly beneficial for those who don’t regularly eat seafood or supplement with omega-3 or vitamin D.
  • Berries – These contain water, healthy carbs, vitamin C, fiber and plant compounds. They generally contain high amounts of vitamin C, which helps the body absorb iron. Vitamin C is also important for skin health and immune function.


Foods to avoid during pregnancy

  • Alcohol
  • Fish with high levels of mercury
  • Unpasteurized food
  • Caffeine



Mrs. Ruwandi Fernando is reading for MPhil / PhD program in Physics and currently working as a Technology Entrepreneur in MAS Holdings. In her role as a Technology Entrepreneur, she explores new trends in the maternal apparel space, sustainable products, new technology trends that can be applied to the apparel sector. She is a mother of a newborn who is interested in Kandyan dancing, playing sports, mentoring teenagers, teaching during her leisure time.


Newborns – “the smallest feet make the biggest footprints in our hearts”

A newborn is meant to be one of the most precious gifts that can truly be a blessing to a family. It is one of the most beautiful enchanting feelings that most of the parents enjoy and cherish in their life. In the prevailing society, most parents are used to have hectic schedules during their pregnancy period.


If you are new to the parenthood there are lot of things to learn while dealing with them simultaneously.  Knowing what to expect when you have a newborn can ease the anxiety that every new parent feels and give you confidence as you bond with your newborn.

The following facts might be helpful in getting to know about your newborn’s changes and behaviors.

It is important to give the newborn sponge baths until the umbilical cord falls off

If it’s kept dry, it falls off faster — usually within two weeks. Besides, newborns don’t get very dirty! If the cord does get wet, pat it dry. And if the stump bleeds a little when the cord falls off, that’s okay. It scared me first, but then I found out that, as with a scab, mild bleeding was normal.

Dry skin is the norm for newborns

Initially, he may be soft and silky, but that changes. “If you soaked yourself in liquid for nine months and then hit the air, you’d be dry too!” You don’t have to do anything about dry skin (it typically peels and flakes off), but if you’re so inclined, reach for a hypoallergenic baby lotion that is fragrance-free. Little pink bumps, diaper rashes, and even baby acne may also make an appearance.

CRY: How babies communicate

Their piercing wails will let you know they’re hungry, cold, have a dirty diaper, or want to be held. These early “conversations” can be frustrating, but rest assured, you’ll get a better handle on what the baby needs in time. Initially we set an alarm to go off every two hours to wake our baby for feeding. However, we did not need the alarm, we love to laugh at that one now.

Worries that you will have in newborns: Facts you never knew

Soft spots on your baby’s scalp:p_iStock_000002307811

The soft spots exist so your baby can safely negotiate the narrow birth canal. Since his skull is flexible, your little one’s downy head has already survived a pretty rough ride with no harm done.

Blood in your Newborn Girl’s Diaper:

During pregnancy, a surge in maternal estrogen levels can stimulate a female fetus’s uterus. Within the first week of life, it’s not uncommon for baby girls to have a mini period in which the uterus sheds a little blood.

Soft, Squishy Poops After Every Feeding:

Breastfed babies may poop after each feeding because breast milk is so quickly digested. (Formula-fed babies may have less-frequent bowel movements.) As for as the squishy issue is concerned, most newborn poops are soft simply because babies are on an all-liquid diet. Also during feeding newborns might pass flatus. Some newborns will excessively cry while passing flatus until they are few months older.

Excessive crying while peeing:


If the baby cries every time she passes urine then you must be vigilant on that. You have to slowly check whether she cries before, during or after passing urine. Say your baby cries before passing urine then you need not worry a lot. But if the baby excessively cries while passing urine then you must see the pediatrician and get a urine culture report. If the urine culture is sensitive for certain organisms / bacteria then you will have to give your baby anti bacteria to kill the germ. If not, this may cause harmful side effects to the kidneys. Don’t worry too much, newborns anyway cry a lot when they pee during the first few months.

Constant Hiccupping:


Experts aren’t sure why young babies hiccup so much; some say it’s due to a miscommunication between the brain and the diaphragm, the abdominal muscle that controls breathing. Regardless of their cause, hiccups are a harmless part of babyhood.

Swollen Breasts on a Newborn Girl…or Boy!

Those same hormones that cause baby girls to have a mini period can also swell the breasts of babies of both genders. Surprising? Yes. Temporary? Absolutely. Have to worry? Not at all.


Mrs. Ruwandi Fernando is reading for MPhil / PhD program in Physics and currently working as a Technology Entrepreneur in MAS Holdings. In her role as a Technology Entrepreneur, she explores new trends in the maternal apparel space, sustainable products, new technology trends that can be applied to the apparel sector. She is a mother of a newborn who is interested in Kandyan dancing, playing sports, mentoring teenagers, teaching during her leisure time.


Pregnancy Massage – It’s about being good to yourself

Massage therapy is the manipulation of soft tissues of the body including, muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments and joints. According to some university studies it has been demonstrated that massage therapy is very effective during pregnancy. Women who received massage therapy reported decreased depression, less leg and back pain. In the massage group, cortisol levels decreased, fetal activity decreased and the rate of prematurity was lower.


In a study of labor pain, women who received massage therapy experienced significantly less pain and on average, their labor period was 3 hours shorter with less need for medication. An underlying mechanism we have been exploring is that these effects are mediated by increased vagal activity. This likely occurs by the stimulation of pressure receptors that are innervated by the vagal afferent fibers, which ultimately projects to the limbic system, including hypothalamic structures involved in autonomic nervous system regulation and cortisol secretion.

Depressed pregnant women were massaged over a 16-week period using the same protocol (20-min massages twice weekly). Similar to the first study, significant decreases were observed in depression and anxiety, as well as cortisol levels. In addition, pregnancy outcomes were improved, including a reduction in excessive fetal movement that has been noted in fetuses of depressed women. The most important finding was the lower incidence of prematurity.

The use of pregnancy massage can also help reduce the weight on the joints. Like other forms of massage therapy, it may also the flow of blood circulation and lymphatic flow. A regime of massage may also increase the pliability of the skin. This is helpful both during the pregnancy and while the client is in labor. Prenatal massage can be a positive experience. It can help pregnant women emotionally and physically. The massage therapist also needs to communicate clearly with the mother and understand any specific worries or possible problems.

What you get from Massage Therapy ?

  • Tranquil relaxation and reduce stress.together
  • Relief from muscle cramp, spasms, especially in the lower back, neck, hips & legs
  • Enhances the pliability of skin and underlying tissues.
  • Reduce weight absorbing joints.
  • Increase in blood circulation which can reduce swelling.
  • Improve the outcome of labor and eases labor pain.
  • Provides support for the new mother with physical & emotional strains of mothering.



Mrs. Ruwandi Fernando is reading for MPhil / PhD program in Physics and currently working as a Technology Entrepreneur in MAS Holdings. In her role as a Technology Entrepreneur, she explores new trends in the maternal apparel space, sustainable products, new technology trends that can be applied to the apparel sector. She is a mother of a newborn who is interested in Kandyan dancing, playing sports, mentoring teenagers, teaching during her leisure time.


Putting Baby on a schedule? Would you let him cry for a minute before picking up?

My first pregnancy came pretty late because I spend half of my life chasing my dream of educating myself and settling with a steady income. We were ready for that baby and we read baby books, attended new mom classes, read every single leaflet the doctor handed me month after month, kept a pregnancy journal, painted the nursery with safe paint and the list goes on. Then arrived the day that he was ready to show up and I thought I was ready.


Then he arrived!! With mom and my very supportive husband right by my side, I came home with that new bundle of joy, except hubby figured changing diaper is not a job he really like to take over, despite his own promises he made that he would be the only one in the house who changes the baby any time he is home – that lasted about two days – pretty soon he got to “I’ll wash baby’s clothes but please can you change that dirty diaper?” And then came all those ‘firsts’ – the first smile, first time held my tiny finger, first doctor’s appointment. A week goes by and I was following everything as the books told me, take naps when baby sleeps, eat and drink enough water and feed the baby – only to find out that I was constantly tired and sad most of the time.

Here’s the bad news ladies, nothing actually goes according to the book. How is it that while other mothers talk about a baby that sleep for four, five hours at night and mine seems to be wide awake all night long? Was my baby sick? Should I take him to the doctor? Why is he not sleeping? Did I feed him long enough? Is my baby getting dehydrated?  Was the house too cold? Was the house too hot? Was I experiencing post-partum depression? How will I ever go back to work with this baby? Millions of questions…


Then I found an old book from the library about how to put the baby on a schedule. I have read about baby schedules, I knew both pros and cons, but none actually told me how to do it. Some books supported the idea of going on a pre-written plan and some are against the idea of telling baby to do what you want him to do – let the baby lead the way – both sides are right.

From my own experience I can assure you that it is infect a good thing to get yourself and your baby on a schedule soon no matter how you go about doing it. A routine for everything make life so much easier. You know what to wake up to. You know what the first thing you’ll do and so will your baby, he will catch up very quickly. Find your balance – I would like to share with you how I found mine. You do not have to force-feed a two month old if he doesn’t seem to be hungry. Your baby will still lead the way. Always think about the baby first, not your comfort, but ultimately it was you who decide.

Wait a second, who said giving up myself and my self-care to take care of my new born baby is good for my baby? I took all the advice but went with my own gut feelings and followed this very old book. For the first couple days, my own mother complained that I am a mean mother and not picking up my baby the moment I hear the faintest cry. I wasn’t constantly holding him or feeding him. I wasn’t letting him use me for a comfort pillow or pacifier. I set a schedule, I woke up early, followed the clock to the point and fed and washed the baby according to this schedule. When it is time to feed the baby, I got myself ready for the ride, I made sure to follow every advice my midwife has given about how to feed my baby right, find a peaceful but bright place to help him eat without falling asleep half full. My focus was completely on feeding this baby. I did the same with washing and putting him to sleep. I worked around the clock. In less than a week, I was getting thing done around the house because I planned my day accordingly and the baby was happy. Of course I had to ask the rest of the family members to help me here.

Remember Instant gratification does no good to nobody. Today we are raising a generation of kids with instant gratification. They do not understand what it is like to wait three days for a mail to arrive, three days if you are lucky. It is ok to let the baby cry for a minute to see if can soothe himself back to sleep without your help. I promise you, when I first heard this from my pediatrician – remember I was a first time mom, I would do anything to make my baby happy – I was not very happy about that plan either. Trust me, I did let my baby cry for a little bit while I stayed close by. You won’t have to be this “mean mom” too long.   Babies are great at learning what you teach them. After all, your baby will be walking and talking soon, where do you think they learned that from?

What are the benefits? Whether you are a working mother or not, your baby will be cared by many people at times of need. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, day care providers and teachers, remember it takes a village to raise a kid. If you only think of the baby’s comfort and be there constantly to help him in every small sound he makes, think of your ‘village’. Are they going to be able to care for him for couple hours? Remember you are the only one who ‘knows’ what your baby wants. No one else can figure it out and you can’t leave the baby to go take a peaceful shower let alone going back to work full time.

No wonder most new mothers feel like they are over worked, underpaid, comfort pillows. No wonder new moms end up feeling depressed even though we are supposed to be enjoying this little bundle of joy we just created. When my first son was born, I took a deep breath and looked at him. The feeling that he did not exist before this, the feeling that he just came out and now he has a name, a birthday, a family – all we created for him – that was a scary feeling at first. Enjoy this creation. You can be overly depressed while surrounded by many people – a high functioning depression and only you can avoid it.

Going back to work:


My first baby stayed home with my mom for one year before he hit the day care. My second stayed home with a sitter for two years and the third went to day care when he was six weeks old!!! All my three are different from each other. With all three, I went back to work after six weeks maternity leave!! It was great to be back at work – sense of purpose can do wonders to a new mom. Had I not made an executive decision to put him on a schedule, all our lives would have been a complete mess trying to figure out what he needs and trying to read his different types of ‘baby cry clues’. When I went back to work, my mom, my sitter and my day care provider all had a clear idea when and how he will sleep and what to do to get him to calm down. Things did go wrong of course, sometimes things don’t work out exactly according to your plan. But for the most part, we were all happy knowing the schedule and clearly written instructions.


Did I think I was going to put him on a schedule? Not at all.  While pregnant if you asked me if I would let the baby cry for five minutes because he was hungry, I would have told you to don’t bother coming around me again. Look at me now, I had a six week old baby in day care, who survived only with my own breast milk, in freezer milk pouches, who I knew exactly how much milk he would need and when he would eat that. I would pump and freeze milk for the baby and did it on my schedule to my milk did not dry up. I love all three of my boys more than anything in the world, but I can sure tell you, a happy mom means happy kids, not the other way around.

So, ladies, whether you are a new mom, planning to be a mom or already on your third trimester, take care of yourself first, while keeping the baby’s needs a priority. I still advice new moms to read a lot of pregnancy books, subscribe to a monthly parenting magazine, don’t stick with just one, read as much as you can and learn what is out there. Pregnancy is a great time to catch up on all that reading. Learn from experts but ultimately, do what feels right for you.

Get out of the house often – with and without baby – just for a half an hour.

My son was just three weeks old. I was surrounded by people, visitors that came to see bay, my mother and hubby who were mostly home with me. Yet, I felt like I was stuck in the house. Remember, I used to be a world traveler and I used to get out of the house and go wherever I want to go whenever I want to go, I was an independent young woman with a stable income and a driver’s license. Now suddenly I am home, stuck without being able to get out of the house. It was scary to go out, it was very new to me, what if he gets hungry, what if he needs to be changed – I had million questions in my mind. I thought I prepared myself for this, I knew it will be different, but it was extremely harder than I expected. It was the three week mark, I had to get out of the house, I took my son to the shopping mall an hour away when he was just twenty days old. I stayed clear of too crowded times and places, I found the department stores that had the best women’s room with a designated area for new mothers, I invested in disposable mats to lay my baby down when I need to change him. It was a good break for all of us, including my hubby and mom, we all enjoyed spending little time among other adults.  We took him on a fourteen-hour, five-day road trip to the Niagara Falls, we even rode the Maid of the Mist, just before he reached seven month milestone. My third son flew across the country when he was just two months old. I was a traveler already before the baby was born and I didn’t change my whole life for the baby, I wanted him to be a part of me, part of who I am.


Today my boys travel around the world at just ten years old. Schedules and routines made all our lives very manageable. More about traveling with the new born in my next article.


Dr Ganga Fernando received her PhD from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and currently teaching at Cottey College – a four-year University of liberal arts and sciences for women –  as an Associate Professor of Chemistry. In her role as a faculty member of the BS in Health Science program, she offers research and internship opportunities in the field of Global Public Health disparities and health care in rural South East Asia. She is a mother of 3 and a world traveler with vast experience in women’s health and maternity.

Birth Plan

When I have to travel for work and leave my three kids to a baby sitter, I always leave a plan posted on the fridge mounted with fridge magnets. It includes their sports schedules, what they would like to eat that day, whom to call in an emergency, who will drive each kid to and from school. A clearly defined plan makes it easy on both me and my baby sitter. Less emergency calls asking where’s the cough syrup, are the kidsallowed to stay late for one more TV show. Spending twenty minutes of quiet and less stressed time to write the plan saves me many hours of answering phone calls from home or worrying about the kids while at work.


A birth plan is a carefully thought out plan of simple things; sometimes as simple as ‘what music you would love to listen to while you are in the recovery room’; to more complicated things as ‘who will cut the umbilical cord’. Why let someone else decide that while you can have it written, you know what music makes you feel like you want to live again, you never know how the whole ‘giving birth’ thing is going to turn out, especially if this is your first pregnancy. Once you have it written down, it makes the packing much easier as well.


When you are actually ready to pack your bags for hospital, you have one place to refer to. Remember no matter what you planned; be prepared to face different circumstances. Plans may need to be adjusted last minute as needed, an emergency C-section for example. So be ready to go alone with the changes if needed. Your care provider would like to have read what your requests were so he/she can prepare to give as much room as possible for your requests.

Journaling about your thoughts and plans while pregnant is a good way to start your birth plan. A simple note book to put down your ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ would be extremely useful as your own unique source of information for your birth plan, whether you are a first time mom or if this is your third pregnancy.

American Pregnancy Association provides a compilation of sample questions to guide you when writing your birth plan. If your gynecologist can afford the time, it is better to answer some of these questions together so you both have a good understanding behind the reason of a certain request. So they will know how to improvise if the request cannot be fulfilled for some reason. Who do you want to be present?

  • Do you want a doula?
  • Will there be children/siblings present?
  • Are you wishing to delay the cord clamping for baby?
  • Do you want immediate skin to skin contact?
  • Do you wish to breastfeed immediately after birth?
  • Do you want mobility, or do you wish to stay in bed?
  • What activities or positions do you plan to use? (walking, standing, squatting, hands and knees)
  • Do you prefer a certain position to give birth?
  • What will you do for pain relief? (massage, hot and cold packs, positions, labor imagery, relaxation, breathing exercises, tub or Jacuzzi, medication)
  • How do you feel about fetal monitoring?
  • How do you plan to stay hydrated? (sips of drinks, ice chips, IV)
  • Do you want to take pain medications, or not? Do you have a preference for certain pain medications?
  • Would you be willing to have an episiotomy? Or, are there certain measures you want to use to avoid one?
  • What are your preferences for your baby’s care? (when to feed, where to sleep)
  • Do you want a routine IV, a heparin/saline block, or neither?
  • Do you want to wear your own clothing?
  • Do you want to listen to music and have focal points?
  • Do you want to use the tub or shower?
  • For home and birth center births, what are your plans for hospital transport in case of emergency?
  • If you need a cesarean, do you have any special requests?

Make sure to leave room for last minute change of plans. After delivering my first baby, I asked the nurses to keep the baby in the nursery for an hour during that 2am hour and I hadn’t had a minute of close eye, despite my own initial request of not keeping baby in the nursery. This new ‘mom’ role had started kicking in and I needed a minute to rest and I asked for help.


Dr Ganga Fernando received her PhD from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and currently teaching at Cottey College – a four-year University of liberal arts and sciences for women –  as an Associate Professor of Chemistry. In her role as a faculty member of the BS in Health Science program, she offers research and internship opportunities in the field of Global Public Health disparities and health care in rural South East Asia. She is a mother of 3 and a world traveler with vast experience in women’s health and maternity.