Giving birth is often hailed as one of the most exciting milestones many women look forward to, especially when it’s their first time. However, despite the excitement and joy that surrounds this momentous occasion, it’s not an easy process. Carrying the baby for nine months, making crucial preparations, and going into labor all require hard work. But before you stress out and become overly anxious about your upcoming delivery, you need to remember that every woman is different, which means no labor experiences are the same.
So, instead of worrying and getting anxious while listening to your friends’ painful and unbearable birthing stories, the best you can do is focus on preparing yourself for your own labor experience. Setting a birth plan before heading to the delivery room will help your body, mind, and emotions be well-prepared for your baby’s arrival.
Here are eight positive ways to prepare yourself for labor to ensure you have an easier and more joyful birthing experience:
- Join A Birthing Class
As early as during the second trimester, you can sign yourself up for a birthing class. Birthing classes will give you a safe and reliable platform to raise all your questions related to childbirth and delivery. You’ll also know more here about how you can tell when labor begins, which strategies to take to stay in control and handle your contractions, and what birth plan choices you’ll have. The more acquainted you are, the better you can prepare yourself for what to expect and do.
- Train For Childbirth
The reason athletes need to train before any competition is to prepare their bodies. The same goes for pregnant women. Pregnancy can be hard for your body, sometimes, even more so than a typical sport. Thus, doctors would always recommend you train for childbirth by exercising and practicing poses that would help ease your labor experience.
Ideally, you should consult a physical therapist to be your coach during your exercises. They’ll introduce you to certain positions that will help push your baby during delivery and lower your risk of injury or pain during labor. They may also recommend you practice yoga, especially if you haven’t done it before. Some yoga poses can ease pregnancy discomfort and promote muscle flexibility in preparation for delivery.
- Keep Moving
Besides the training and yoga sessions you have with your physical therapist, it’s also ideal to create your own exercise plan and stay active. The more active you are when it comes to exercise or any physical activity, the more you can improve your stamina and strength—both of which can be useful during labor. If possible, aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Just remember to consult your obstetrician first and seek their approval if you’re physically fit to exercise while pregnant.
- Get Enough Rest
While getting enough childbirth training and exercises, ensure you’re also getting enough rest and sleep. Remember that you won’t be getting much sleep or rest once your baby is in your arms for late-night breastfeeding sessions. So, hit the hay earlier and take naps to keep your body well-recharged for the nearing delivery.
- Relax And Manage Your Stress Levels
Although the idea of delivering a baby any time soon is an exciting and joyous time, it can also cause anxiety and stress. Feeling constantly stressed during pregnancy could affect your baby’s development and your labor experience, causing pain, discomfort, and complications. Thus, it’s essential to manage your stress and, as much as possible, just relax. Deep breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques may help calm your nerves and control the pain. The more relaxed you are, the easier it’ll be for you to deal with whatever challenges you may face during labor.
- Customize Your Delivery Room
While some women can give birth easily and calmly in a typical delivery room, some need more customized rooms to help ease their nerves and boost their confidence during labor. If you belong to the latter group, make sure to prepare your delivery room ahead and inform your nurse, doctor, or midwife about it. Whether it’s wearing your favorite socks, lighting a scented candle, using your personal pillow, or playing your favorite music, these little personal touches can make a difference in making your labor experience easier.
- Seek Emotional Support
Having emotional support is crucial during pregnancy and especially during labor. The support of your family or partner can help reduce stress and make childbirth easier, as their presence assures you that you’re not alone. So, make sure your family and your partner are there to support you and don’t hesitate to ask for their assistance.
- Learn Techniques In Dealing With Labor Pain
The contractions will undoubtedly make you feel uncomfortable. While taking doctor-prescribed drugs is helpful, you can still use other techniques that don’t involve medication:
- Use a warm compress on your shoulders and back to reduce pain.
- Use a cold compress to relieve sweating caused by pain.
- Massage your body (preferably around the pelvis, back, and tailbone) with lotion or mild essential oils to relax your muscles and reduce labor stress.
- Practice breathing techniques.
- Move around a soothing and comfortable environment.
Knowing some tricks and techniques to manage and ease labor pains will make you feel more confident and at ease for your upcoming delivery.
Preparing For Labor
Even with your well-laid plans and preparations, your labor may not always be exactly how you envisioned it. But even so, these positive preparatory ways will help make the experience easier and ensure that you’re ready for whatever birthing challenges you might have. After all, what matters the most is the mother’s health and the safe and sound delivery of the baby.