9 ways to prepare for labor
A pending labor can often bring about anxiety, stress and nervousness, particularly with your first-born.
It is important to remember that childbirth is a natural process and that your body is created to cope with it. The wonderful thing about pregnancy is that you have 9 months to prepare – both physically and mentally.
Educate yourself throughout your pregnancy and take time to read. There are many wonderful books and magazines available that will inform you of your changing body, your baby’s development and what to expect from the pending birth.
Knowledge is power. Remember that all women’s bodies are different so expect some variation from what you have read.
These classes are a wonderful resource. Not only do you meet other new moms and dads to be, but also you are exposed to a highly qualified educator whose job it is to help prepare you for labor.
Antenatal classes are held over a period of a few weeks and may include all or some of the following: birthing techniques, labor and a woman’s body, the different stages of labor, breathing techniques, labor videos, nursing products, hospital bag essentials etc.
Antenatal classes are highly recommended and widely available in most communities. Make sure you book your spot early on in your pregnancy, to avoid disappointment.
Ask lots of questions and show interest in your changing body.
Don’t feel afraid to ask those niggling questions. Less worry and more knowledge will free your mind.
Take each day as it comes and do not spend a lot of time worrying or thinking about the pending birth. Surround yourself with happy positive people.
Yoga and meditation are wonderful calming forms of exercise. They are gentle on the body and do not require excessive amounts of effort.
Join a prenatal yoga class and attend regularly. The calm relaxed atmosphere will help to keep you centered and stress free.
Keeping fit during your pregnancy will not only help to make you feel better mentally but will also help to prepare a stronger body for birth. Go for long walks up to 3 times a week and enjoy the benefits of the fresh air and keeping mobile.
Surround yourself with positive people. Decide early on who you want to be in the delivery room. Encourage them to participate in the antenatal classes and discuss with them your wants and needs during the labor process.
NOTE: It is important to understand that sometimes birth plans do not always go to plan. Both you and your birth partner need to be flexible and be prepared to change the plan as required. Sometimes complications can occur. Go with the flow.
Pack your hospital bag well in advance. Include all the necessary baby essentials and new mommy items.
Knowing that you are all packed and ready to leave will be reassuring and one less thing to worry about on the big day!
Pre-do the drive to the hospital with your birthing partner. Understanding how long the trip will take in peak and off peek times will help to prevent any anxiety as labor begins.