Kathy Schaaf, the birth advisor at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, helps expectant moms and dads with everything from normal pre-baby jitters to complex medical or family concerns. The one piece of insight she shares with everyone: “During the labor and delivery process, if you expect the unexpected, you will not be disappointed.”

Here are some answers Kathy has for the questions she hears most about delivering at Shady Grove Medical Center and life after the birth of your baby:

Q:  How can I prepare for my baby?

Kathy: Shady Grove offers classes that cover topics from childbirth to breastfeeding to CPR training. Although the classes are not mandatory, I suggest taking one on childbirth and one on breastfeeding.

Q:  What’s a birth plan?

Kathy: A birth plan can be thought of as a way to communicate your childbirth preferences to your care team. Creating a birth plan does not guarantee that things will go exactly as you’ve dreamed. It’s important to remember that our dedicated staff will always do what it takes to help make sure you and your baby are healthy.

Q:  What should I pack for the hospital?

Kathy: We recommend you have your bag packed at around 34 weeks. Include a pair of slippers or flip-flops, personal toiletries, pajamas, and a nursing bra. Also, make sure to have an outfit for you and your baby when it’s time to go home. Everything else, including sanitary pads, wipes, diapers and blankets, will be provided by your Shady Grove care team.

Q:  When should I go to the hospital if I think I’m in labor?

Kathy: If you’re a first-time mom, please call your doctor if you have contractions that are painful and last 45-60 seconds, every 5-7 minutes, for one hour. For your second baby, call your physician if you have contractions every 7-10 minutes for one hour. Your doctor will tell you when to go to the hospital. Always call your doctor first, even in the middle of the night.

Schedule a FREE, one-on-one consultation with Kathy Schaaf to discuss your birth plan or upcoming delivery