While most women are ecstatic when they find out they are expecting, plenty of them are also dreading the delivery part of the pregnancy. But if you prepare your body for labour, you are doing the very best for yourself and your new baby.
This is mostly due to the fact that every pregnancy is different and the birth can often be unpredictable. However, giving birth can also be a transformative journey so if you prepare properly, there is nothing to be afraid of.
Read up on the process and attend classes
You should slowly start to prepare your body for labour from the moment you find out you are pregnant. Just like there are plenty of books on parenting, you can find many authors tackling the topic of the entire gestation period and the labour itself. So, read up as much as you can. Something else you will probably be doing during pregnancy is attending various classes. These will provide you with information on everything from labour to breastfeeding so be sure to find the best local classes available.
Decide on the birth plan
Once you learn a bit more about childbirth by reading books and attending classes, you can decide on the approach you think would suit you best. For example, you can have a natural birth at home or a birthing centre. This means no drugs and limited medical interventions during labour. You can give birth in a tub of warm water and choose any position you find most comfortable, from kneeling to squatting. Natural birth usually involves a midwife or a doula who will help with the delivery. On the other hand, you can go to a hospital and opt for a drug-free delivery or decide to get an epidural. Finally, keep in mind that a Caesarian section is also an option.
Prepare your body
It’s very important to start to prepare your body for labour as soon as possible. You will go through many changes during pregnancy, so adjusting your diet is highly recommended. For one, drink plenty of water. Then, you should eat small but frequent meals that are rich in protein as well as fresh fruits and veggies. Avoid refined and processed food, such as white flours and chemical sweeteners. Something else you cannot neglect is exercise. You have to stay active as regular workouts can be very helpful. Of course, consult with your physician but you should be able to go swimming, do some prenatal yoga, or at least go for walks.
Prepare your mind
Besides your body, you also need to prepare your mind. You will be hearing many stories about childbirth, some positive and some negative. All of this plus the fact that we are currently faced with a pandemic can make you really nervous. However, you should not let this affect your mental health. For one, limit your daily intake of the news. Don’t read every article you see on social media – rely only on official sources and do your best to avoid fake news. Then, make sure you get enough sleep and look for different ways to relax. Something that you can turn to is meditation or listening to audiobooks and podcasts that were made to help you relax during pregnancy.
Get your team ready
A big part of being ready for labour is having a team of people there to help you out. As your partner will probably be with you from the start, they will be familiar with all the books you read, the classes you took, and the type of birth you want. In addition to your partner, you can choose who else will be there with you for this big moment of your life. For a home birth, you can invite whoever you want. If you plan on giving birth in the hospital, keep in mind that the staff might not allow too many people in the room. Plus, make sure you notify your doula as well if you have one.
Adjust your space
If you opt for a home birth, you need to have your space ready. So, decide on the approach and equip your home properly. Stock up your fridge, create a relaxing playlist, get your favourite pillow, and think of anything else that might make the whole process easier.
Pack your bag
If you’re going to the hospital for the birth, make sure you have a bag of things that you will need. Comfortable clothes, toiletries and bath towels are just some of the essentials. Make a hospital bag checklist and ensure you’ve packed everything.
You can never know what your childbirth experience will be like but by taking steps to prepare your body for labour, as well as your mind, you will be as prepared as you can be to welcome your little bundle of joy into this world.
How did you prepare your body for labour? Tell us in the comments below.