How to Prepare for Giving Birthby Maryann DePietro
As your pregnancy progresses, the idea of giving birth may be both exciting and a little scary for some women. Women may decide early on in their pregnancy where they plan to give birth. Options include a home birth, a birthing center or a hospital. Depending on where you want to give birth, your preparations may be slightly different. However, there are some general ways to prepare both your mind and body for giving birth.
Write a birth plan. This helps communicate your wishes to personnel such a nurse, midwife or the doctor who will be attending the birth. Include whom you want in the room and who will be your birth coach. Write down special instructions, such as music you want played and preferred labor positions. Understand that every birth plan may not be able to be followed exactly. Complications arise, and the most important thing is for mom and baby to be healthy.
Take a childbirth class. Childbirth classes can help you recognize when labor starts and teach you about the different stages of giving birth. Information will be given about pain relief options to help you make an informed decision. Knowing what to expect can help reduce fears and make you feel more in control. Childbirth classes are offered at hospitals across the country, even if you are not giving birth at the hospital.
Perform Kegel exercises. This type of exercise helps strengthen the pelvic floor, which may prevent urine leakage after you give birth. Contract the muscles of the pelvic floor and hold the contraction for 5 seconds, release and repeat the exercise several times each day. The pelvic floor muscles are the muscles that help you stop urine from flowing out.
Do perineum massage. The perineum is the area between the rectum and the vagina. Start around the thirty-fourth week of pregnancy to prepare for giving birth. Perineum massage is thought to condition the perineum and may make it stretch more easily during labor and possibly prevent tearing or the need for an episiotomy. Use some type of lubricant, such as massage oil, and using two fingers massage the perineum area of a few minutes, a few times a day.
Learn some type of relaxation technique. The discomfort of giving birth, along with normal fears, may make a woman anxious during labor. Doing some type of relaxation technique can help a woman focus on pushing properly and may make giving birth both easier and more enjoyable. Learn breathing techniques, such as Lamaze breathing. Use visualization, which involves picturing yourself in a favorite location, such as the mountains or beach where you feel calm. Take a class in hypnosis, which will teach you how to go into a deep state of relaxation.
- Think about practical matters. If you are not giving birth at home, pack your suitcase in advance. This will prevent you from having to run around and pack when labor starts.