When it comes to delivering your child, the number of options that you have may feel overwhelming. You will need to decide where you go, who does the delivery, who you want for support, what delivery methods you would prefer, what level of pain management (if any) you want, what kind of pre-training you want to do before delivery, and what things you do and don’t want done in the delivery room immediately after birth. Some women find this very empowering, while others may find themselves frozen, afraid to make the wrong decision. No matter which category you fall into, here are some tips on what to anticipate:

Something Unplanned will Happen

“Leading up to the big moment in the delivery room, you will have numerous appointments and a plan laid out with your physician,” said Dr. Gilbert Webb. Whether you have every detail worked out or are winging it, it is more than likely that something unexpected will still occur. This may be a departure from your birth plan, like being too late for an epidural, or deciding you want one after all. It may be that your baby comes faster than your support group. Or it may just be that they’re out of apple juice. Planning will help you get through a lot of the stress of birthing, but be ready to embrace plan B.

Preparing For The Big Moment: 5 Things To Anticipate In The Delivery Room

Birthing is Not Like it is on Television

If you had twenty-three minutes with commercial breaks to give birth, then it might be very different. However, birthing is often longer and slower than television shows make it appear. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the stages of labor average between six and eighteen hours. If you have an epidural, there is a chance that there will be some down time while you wait for your body to shift to the final stages.

Communication Will Make Everything Go More Smoothly

Many hospitals offer pre-enrollment for birthing to streamline the process. This is your opportunity to make all of the decisions you need to ahead of time. If you have a written birthing plan, it will go into your file. Pre-communication will prevent you from needing to list allergies and share insurance info between contractions. Even having everything written to bring to the hospital can go a long way in preventing miscommunication.

Choosing People Who Make You Comfortable Will Help

No matter your plan, birthing is an uncomfortable process. By choosing a medical provider who makes you feel comfortable, it will make things easier. Whether you need to make a shift in your birthing strategy to a different procedure or you just have to be patient through a very long labor, having people you can trust to guide you through this time will lower your stress levels and make everything easier. Even after delivery, as your body begins its post-pregnancy shift and teaching opportunities are offered for nursing and care, having people you trust to ask questions to will make new parenthood a lot easier.

It is All Worth it in the End

Whatever your experience, once you hold your little daughter, son, twins, or triplets, the birthing part will no longer matter as much. The truth of the matter is sometimes things go according to plan, and sometimes things take a left turn. But in the end, the story of how you delivered is always overshadowed by the beautiful new baby in your arms.

Delivery room stories may differ in a lot of small ways. These include the choice of things that make you comfortable, the loving person or people you want by your side, and even the pain or lack of pain you are willing to endure. But in the big ways, all mothers looking to meet your new children safely and securely, and providers are looking to provide just that.