Pregnancy is a transformative journey for every woman. Irrespective of whether you’re a first-time mom or have given birth to a child before, it’s a life-altering experience. While the physical pain of childbirth is inevitable, it’s important to cherish the moments instead of writhing in discomfort. The good news is that there are various ways to ease the fear, relax your mind, and stay in the moment.
But here’s the thing – when you’re expecting, you’ll be surrounded by a plethora of self-proclaimed childbirth experts. They could be your friends, coworkers, or even close family members. You’ll feel even more overwhelmed when you turn to the internet for childbirth advice. From home remedies for pain-relief to diet and lifestyle changes – you’ll find a cornucopia of suggestions floating all around.
The important thing is to listen to your body and mind and carefully decide on what advice you need to follow. Here are a few things you can do to prepare for childbirth and ensure that it’s a beautiful experience:
1. Creating a Flexible Birth Plan
Are you open to getting an epidural or pain medication during labor? Is it okay if a nurse massages your back to ease the pain of childbirth? Who are the people you’d want to be around in your labor room? Who should cut the umbilical cord post-delivery? Are you open to trying alternative techniques such as hypnobirthing?
These are all decisions you need to make before the big day arrives. That’s why your birth plan is the key to having a smooth and memorable childbirth experience. Make sure you consult your OB-GYN or midwife to prepare a thorough yet realistic birth plan.
Having said that, it’s also important to remember that a birth plan only outlines your preferences. Every labor and delivery is unique and can come with a set of unprecedented complications. Keep enough room in your birth plan for changes and adjustments in case of any unforeseen challenges.
2. Preparing Your Mind
Of course, you’re going to have to endure extreme physical pain during labor. But preparing your mind to live through the pain will help you cherish the experience. The idea is to not let your mind overthink and imagine all possible worst-case scenarios. Instead of obsessing about the future, you need to relax and be present in the moment.
Try practicing mindfulness meditation throughout your pregnancy. It’ll help you focus on the present and relax your mind. You could also try other relaxation techniques such as self-hypnosis and deep breathing. Alternative modalities such as music therapy can also help reduce anxiety and stress throughout pregnancy.
3. Choosing Your Birth Setting & Team
The last thing you want is to go through labor and childbirth in an alien and hostile environment. That’s why it is essential to carefully select the setting and location of your birth room. Between a home-based water birth and specialized hospital birth, you’ll find a treasure trove of options. Make sure you select a place that makes you comfortable and will help you relax.
This is also a good time to decide who all should be around you during labor. Don’t worry about offending a few people if you don’t invite them to your labor room. The important thing is for you to be surrounded by trusted people who won’t judge you for being vulnerable. It is just as essential to carefully choose a dependable and helpful OB-GYN or midwife.
4. Staying Active & Mobile
No. You don’t have to lay on the bed throughout your pregnancy. Contrary to age-old beliefs, getting your daily dose of exercise won’t harm your baby. Instead, it’s known to improve maternal and fetal health. Also, it helps release pain-relieving endorphins. It even eases the process of postpartum recovery.
Nevertheless, it’s essential to consult your OB-GYN or care provider before you decide to start an exercise routine. If you weren’t particularly active before your pregnancy, it might be a good idea to steer clear of strenuous activities. Instead, you could try practicing prenatal yoga and light aerobic exercises or practice squatting to relax your pelvis.
Likewise, you should make it a point to remain mobile during labor. Moving around the room and using a birthing ball can help make the pain bearable. It’s also a great way to distract your mind from the fear and uncertainty of what’s going to happen next.
5. Seeking Guidance
In this age of information overload, it’s important to carefully decide what suggestions you want to use and what needs to be nixed. The best option is to seek advice from certified and experienced medical professionals who know what they’re doing. Avoid running a Google search for every symptom that you experience and every bad thought that crosses your mind.
Nevertheless, make sure you don’t go on your journey alone! Taking birthing classes with experienced midwives can give you the knowledge you need to have tranquility in the moments to come. The right childbirth education prepares you for different stages of labor and even helps you use the right pain management techniques.
What tips did you use to get through your big day? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.