Preparing For Birth
Readying your mind and body for the challenge ahead
There are several ways to prepare for childbirth, and you should take advantage of different methods for a holistic approach to a holistic experience. Preparing your mind, body and spirit can help you overcome obstacles, restore self-confidence and apply your focus for a smooth and controlled childbirth.
How Childbirth Classes Help
Like so many challenges in life, labor and delivery is really about confidence and control. In order to proceed in the best manner possible, you need to be confident that your body is capable of making it through labor, overcoming the pain and delivering a baby. While most childbirth classes focus on similar themes, they differ wildly when it comes to the techniques they teach to restore confidence and control.
Whether you choose Lamaze, Bradley Method, Alexander Technique or a Natural childbirth class, you'll learn about both the physical and emotional aspects of labor and birth. From pain relief to birthing facilities, fetal monitoring to the role of your labor partner, a class should cover everything you need to know from the time your labor pains begin to the moment of delivery and the events that follow. Many new parents tend to choose an inclusive class that covers pregnancy and postpartum lifestyle, including breastfeeding support and physical and emotional postpartum care.
Emotional and Psychological Preparation
It's quite natural to feel a flurry of emotions in the weeks leading up to your delivery. The excitement, anxiety, fear and anticipation that fill your days can have you feeling less confident and less in control. Fortunately, there are some good techniques to help you manage your emotions and overcome your self-doubt regarding childbirth.
First and foremost, treat your body right. Fatigue and hunger can have a sudden and severe effect on your emotions, so try to restore balance to your mind with a balanced lifestyle. Add a daily walk to ease your stress, a nap to restore your energy and one baby-related task (like washing new baby clothes or setting up a part of the nursery) to stay excited about your little one's arrival into the world. Along with your childbirth class, this should help you to stay focused but also relaxed and confident with your realistic expectations.
Aside from the emotional lead up to delivery, many people find that they're worried about doing a good job as parents. If your own childhood experience is at the heart of your parenting concerns, think about what you liked or disliked about it, and talk to a professional to sort through your worries, if you need to. Parenting is a learning experience, but you don't have to go it alone -- use the resources around you to restore your confidence and encourage each other to grow as parents.
Physical Training for Childbirth
If you've been doing your Kegel exercises, practicing prenatal yoga and sticking with your general workout routine, you're off to a good start. A strong and flexible body will be able to handle the physical trauma of labor and delivery better than a weak body, as you'll have greater muscle control and stability. Over the final weeks of your pregnancy, you'll want to explore different birthing tools and consider using the help of a doula for your delivery.
While there are many gimmicks out there, there are also some very helpful tools to get your through your labor and position your body in the best way for delivery. A birthing ball is one of the most familiar, and many women swear by it. It allows you to roll your hips around, which can help to relieve back pain and coax the baby down further into your pelvis. It may be a good idea to try a few different accessories before settling on a favorite, as every woman experiences labor differently. If you're interested in adding the emotional support of a doula, begin looking around and interviewing some women as early as you can to find one who understands your expectations and shares your childbirth philosophy.
Read & Learn More:
The Needle's Edge - A Breakdown of Prenatal Testing
Sober Mama: Having a Drug-Free Delivery
When To Call The Doctor - Things You Shouldn't Ignore During Your Pregnancy