For a woman, giving birth is a momentous event. You’re bringing a new life into the world, which is a huge mental and physical task. So you want to have a positive birth experience. Advance preparation will help you to enter the experience feeling empowered and ready. Here are 5 ways you can do that.
Take a class
Whether you choose the standard prenatal, hypnobirthing or any other type of class, these are a great way to prepare your body and mind for birth. You will most likely do gentle exercises and learn techniques for managing contractions during labour. These classes will arm you with confidence and knowledge to help you have a positive birth experience so are well worth it.
It’s important to be aware that health and procedural guidelines for hospitals and birth may change from time to time. Stay informed by checking in with the hospital as your birth date approaches so you know what to expect on the day. This is especially important if you want to have somebody with you for the birth, whether it’s your partner, doula, family member, etc.
Some people just love to share their labour horror stories! This isn’t helpful when you are expecting so try to avoid these and focus on positive birth stories instead. Remember, for every bad experience, there are always more good ones. Talk to your friends and family members about their birth experience and let them reassure you. It’s important to prepare your mind as well as your body so do everything you can to make sure you are going into the hospital with a positive mindset.
Manage your expectations
We would all love to have every detail of our birth plan made possible but remember to be practical. Those scented candles might not be the best thing to take into a room where there is pressurised oxygen! Look for options that can be easily accommodated and if you need specialist equipment like a birthing ball, TENS machine, etc, check ahead of time to make sure these will be available or bring them yourself. Above all, keep in mind that your birth preferences may have to change if you or the baby need intervention. If this happens, don’t feel upset. All that matters in the end is that your little one arrives safe and healthy and that you are both getting the best medical care possible.
Do what feels right for you
TV has a lot to answer for in reinforcing the myth that all women give birth lying on their backs. Every woman’s body is different and what works for one might not necessarily feel right for another. So, if you prefer to stay upright for most of your labour, then do so. Walking the corridor or bouncing on a birthing ball can help you move through those labour pains until delivery time. If you prefer not to lie on your back, you don’t have to. Giving birth on all fours or squatting are other traditional birth positions you can try. Talk to your midwife to let them know what feels right for you.
Have an advocate
Before the birth, talk to your birth partner and make sure they are clear on what your wishes are for labour and delivery. You may need them to advocate for you if, for any reason, you are unable to.
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