Being pregnant – or even just being a woman – the thought of giving birth can be exciting and scary. The first time I was pregnant I worried quite a bit both about the pain and the risk that something would go terribly wrong (like me or the baby dying…).
For various reasons I ended up spending the last three months of my first pregnancy in bed. So I had plenty of time read about the signs of labor, the stages of labor, the pain and pain relief. And I sure had a lot of time practicing breathing and relaxation!
Actually, I had trained Lamaze breathing so much that I actually thought I would be one of those women experiencing painless childbirth… Ha ha! But the breathing and relaxation did help me a lot! Definitely!
No matter what your thoughts are about giving birth, learning and preparing is always good! (Not only with your first child, but every time.)
Here are things you can do to give yourself the best possible preparation for giving birth.
Tips On How to Prepare For Giving Birth
If you’re not yet fully aware of what actually happens in your body when you give birth, make sure you learn. Understanding the different stages of labor, what happens and why it hurts, can be very helpful to prevent becoming scared when the pain sets in for example.
Also, while deciding before hand what pain relief you want is really hard, at least the first time, knowing the options and the pros and cons is very good. That way you can talk to the midwife and decide together once you’re in labor.
And then how do you know if you actually are in labor? Find the most common (and some unusual) signs of labor here.
You might also want to read up on cesarean risks, if you are one of all the pregnant moms considering elected c-section to avoid the pain and risk or vaginal birth.
Write a birth plan
A birth plan may seem really stupid – how can you plan a child birth!?
Well, you can’t really, but you can think through what kind of help you think you will want (cheering, instructions, pain relief etc) and you can also communicate any particular worries that you may have. This way it will be easier for the midwife as well as your spouse or any other people that are there to support you, to know how to help you the most.
I can almost guarantee that your birth will not follow your plan, but that doesn’t really matter!
Attend a childbirth class
Make sure you attend a childbirth class and bring your spouse along! In these classes, it is often well explained how a birth actually happens, when you should call your midwife, pain relief and much more.
Learn breathing and relaxation
Breathing and relaxation are fantastic ways to be able to stay on top of the whole birthing and pain. Buy a book or attend a class or do both.
It wasn’t until giving birth the second time that I prepared by taking a breathing class together with my husband. It was a wonderful thing to do together! And even if he was a great help during my first childbirth, the second time I was giving birth, he was simply fantastic! Then he had a lot more tools to help me.
So grab your spouse along (or whoever you plan to bring with you when you give birth.)
Try prenatal yoga
Prenatal yoga can both be used instead of or in addition to learning breathing techniques.
Prenatal yoga may not only teach you breathing and relaxation, but also strengthen and stretch some of the muscles useful for giving birth. Highly recommended!
You can either attend a class or work in front of a DVD or even youtube at home. Or do both… To get started, check out these free video clips on prenatal yoga poses that I have gathered for you.
There are many more different positions for giving birth in addition to the the traditional lying-on-your-back-so-that-the-doctor-has-a-good-view. Actually, that is probably one of the worst position for a smooth ride through labor and delivery.
You can stand on you knees, lie on your side, sit on a birthing stool, rest in water, walk around (well, not the whole time, maybe) and more. What is the most important is that you can relax in whatever position you choose in each moment and that you feel as comfortable as possible.
Home birth or hospital birth
In some cultures home birth is common and natural and in some it is almost unheard of. If you do want to consider a home birth you need to prepare for it:
- Make sure you will get help from an experienced midwife, who is also experienced with home births.
- Have her or him visit your home in advance and discuss the best routines for your childbirth.
- Educate yourself properly about labor and delivery as well as about postnatal care.
- A doula might be a good option too.
- Also make sure you have a plan for adverse events, such as if you will have to reach a hospital fast. Keep telephone numbers and contact persons available and visible close to your phone.
Prepare for the unexpected
Prepare yourself mentally that nothing will turn out exactly the way you think. Well of course, most likely you will, after some 8-24 hours hold your perfect baby in your arms and basically forget the hard work and pain. But the road to get there…
This is the one situation you can’t control! And with the right preparation and support this is completely fine!
Curious on how other moms experienced giving birth? Check out the birth stories shared by other moms here. (No dads yet…)
What are you thoughts about giving birth? Feel free to share by leaving a comment below!