Preparing for labor
Childbirth is like running a 25-mile marathon. You wouldn’t wing it then, why do so now? Babytalk Founder + Childbirth Educator, Maggie Price shares 5 ways to better prepare for the labor and delivery process.
Overcome your fear
Let’s first address the elephant in the room – fear. Fear is a common concern for women when it comes to childbirth, and for good reason. The thought of bringing a new life into this world CAN be scary, it CAN be painful, and there MAY be surprises. Women experience fear for many different reasons, whether it be fear of pain or fear of something going wrong. The only way to deal with fear is to face it head on. The very last thing you want to do is to avoid your fears and then go into labor unprepared which could result in a less than pleasant experience. The very best way to overcome your fears about labor is to be informed.
Knowledge is power
Take a childbirth education class. I repeat, take a childbirth education class. They are essential to breaking down your fear about the process for not only for you but also for your partner. Taking a childbirth or prenatal class allows you to to learn from an expert about what to expect throughout labor and delivery, what your body is doing, how to cope with the intensity you may experience, what your pain management options are, and what to expect with your newborn. Yes, you could just read a book or two in the comfort of your own home, but it’s inevitable that you may have questions that need to be answered. Again, the more you talk about childbirth, the more questions you ask, the more comfortable you will feel when the time comes to start timing your contractions.
As I mentioned, childbirth can be compared to running a 25-mile marathon. Unless you’re a seasoned pro, this isn’t something you’re going to want to take on solo. It’s essential your birth partner understands what to expect during childbirth, and more importantly how they can best support you not only emotionally but physically. Discussing your wants and needs beforehand is vital to a productive labor experience. If you’d like additional labor support, we highly recommend looking into hiring a birth doula. Birth doulas remain with you throughout your entire labor and delivery process and are specially trained to emotionally and physically support you by providing guidance, hands-on support, and advocacy for what’s in your and your baby’s best interest.
Understand the ‘What If’s’
The truth is, most birth experiences do not go as planned. We encourage you to develop a birth plan with the help of your birth team and partner, not necessarily to plan your birth but to open the discussion of what to expect, what your options are, and your preferences. Even if you’re planning for a vaginal delivery, it’s important to understand reasons for an emergency cesarean section. If the time were to come and it was determined medically necessary for you to go in for an emergency c, you want to know what happens next. In contrast, you may be thinking of having a planned cesarean section, but what if your labor progresses faster than expected and you end up having a vaginal delivery. Again you’re going to want to know what to expect.
Be your biggest advocate
For all moms, but especially first time moms, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the childbirth experience. You’re exhausted, unsure, and again overwhelmed which can make you feel “off your game” when it comes to decision-making and advocating for yourself and for your baby. Looking back, many seasoned moms say “I wish I would have done this differently, or that differently.” The best thing you can do to ensure that you’re feeling as confident as possible on the big day, is again, to be as informed as possible, to understand all of your options and preferences and to speak up when you don’t understand something or if you’re not totally comfortable with what’s going on. Lastly, make sure you have a good team around to support you and who are committed to making this the best experience it can be for all.
If you’re interested in a prenatal course in the comfort of your own home? Babytalk offers a comprehensive 3-part self-directed Expecting Baby class that covers topics from pregnancy, labor and delivery, feeding your baby and more.