Awaiting the arrival of your newborn is incredibly exciting. You get to experience buying their first set of clothes, nappies, bibs, breast feeding equipment or bottles and formula, as well as painting the nursery and making sure that your partner is ready! However, in this late stage of pregnancy it’s also a good time to start getting ready for labour. Preparing yourself for labour is more than just putting together an overnight bag, it’s the perfect opportunity to prepare yourself mentally and physically for what is going to be the ultimate life changing moment.
Research the realities of childbirth
Many women who have been through labour, usually wish that they did a little more research into assisted births and also negative birth experiences. When you head into labour armed with the knowledge of what could happen, you’re more likely to feel in control and not feel overwhelmed. Researching assisted births, pain relief as well as birth injuries is certainly advisable – for information on birth injury diagnosis click this link – this information isn’t there to frighten you, it’s to show you the reality that the birth you want, might not happen. So researching every possible eventuality will give you confidence and control during labour.
Prepare your mind
Whist its important to research the realities of labour, try not to get bogged down with the incessant flow of negative birth stories that friends, colleagues and family will want to indulge you with. Remember, that every birth is unique and try to keep a positive outlook. Try to think positively as much as possible and remember that a straightforward, unassisted birth is perfectly achievable.
Prepare your body
Labour can last for hours, sometimes even days which means you’re going to need stamina and strength. The human body is an incredible thing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make things a little easier for yourself! Taking part in regular exercise and keeping active during pregnancy will certainly make things easier. Try a little pregnancy yoga, and head to some antenatal classes where you’ll find out about helping your baby into a better birthing position. You can also get to grips with some breathing and relaxation techniques to get you through the pain.
Find what relaxation techniques work for you
Everyone is different, and someone who enjoys whale music and pan pipes to relax to might not enjoy a mixtape of classic 80s ballads in the birthing room. With this in mind, it’s important to find which relaxation techniques work you and practice them throughout the remainder of your pregnancy. Meditation and visualisation are also renown for promoting relaxation and control during labour, as are breathing techniques and hypnobirthing.
Plan as much as you can
Discussing your birth plan with your midwife allows you to talk through your options and your wishes. If you have your heart set on a waterbirth, then you have the opportunity to write down a second preference in case it doesn’t happen as well as the position you’d like to be in and what kind of pain relief you want. Just remember that these preferences need to be flexible!