There are a lot of things that go into birth preparation.
A first-time mom may find it hard to imagine what she needs and how she can really prepare for the unpredictability of birthing. Usually our babies have minds of their own and they create the birth experience for us. So how do we really get ready for the unpredictable? Prepare your mind and body, and bring the essentials.
- Educate yourself and stay informed. There may be lots of birth horror stories but birth doesn’t have to be an anticipated scary movie. Using all of the available resources and building your knowledge about labor can prepare you for the unexpected. Resources like Doula Spot can help you get, and stay informed.
- Go in with an open mind. Think of all the different scenarios that may happen and then erase them all. Let your mind be open to the utmost impossibility, because it’s birth and you really don’t know what can happen.
- Learn to Breathe. Deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth are super important. It can really help you stay centered and focused during contractions.
- Turn off your Brain and the Lights. A calming environment, less stress, and more relaxation will help your labor go more smoothly and quickly. Remember, tension only makes your body tighten up and slows down labor. Relaxation programs like the one from Rachel Yellin are great prep for helping stay relaxed during pregnancy.
- Birth Classes. Both fun for you and your partner but also prepares and teaches you different methods to cope with labor. There is hypnobirthing, Lamaze, and so much more. Here in the Bay Area, there are a wealth of places to attend childbirth education classes. Here are a just a few to check out. Natural Resource, Community Well , and Then Comes Baby are great places for expecting parents.
- Prenatal Yoga Classes. Prepare your mind and body. Yoga can be helpful in preparing your body for birth, and can improve your birth experience. They also help you meet other moms who are pregnant and build a supportive community. Trust me, no one will understand you like those moms who are going through the same baby stages. Britt Fohrman offers wonderful prenatal yoga classes and prenatal yoga retreats throughout the year.
- Don’t forget the most important! Hire a birth team. Yes, you heard me. Birth TEAM. Whoever you want to be taking care of you for those last few weeks leading up to and during labor. Be prepared for “what ifs?” and have those professionals on board. Acupuncturists, Chiropractors, and of course a Doula! They can help start labor, progress labor, and cope with labor pains.
- Stock up. They really don’t tell you this during all of those prenatal visits (at least my ObGyn forgot to mention it) but bring those important hygiene items that you need during postpartum with you to birth. Stock up on witch hazel, big pads, panties that you don’t care about getting ruined, a spray bottle, and that antiseptic spray.
- Hydrate. Drinking lots of water will help with progressing labor and give you energy to keep going. Favorites for hydration are coconut water and Gatorade.
- Birth Ball & Peanut ball. It will help with opening up your hips during labor. Great for assisting with different positions. Peanut ball can help progress labor even if you decide to get an epidural.
- Essential Oils. They help with progressing labor and calming labor pains.
- Make it feel like your SAFE SPACE. Wherever you decide to birth, make it feel safe and calming. You need to be relaxed for labor to take place. Feel free to bring things like battery powered candles, pictures, music, or movies to make you feel good. Create a place where you want to birth no matter where it is.
Preparing for birth is kind of a big deal but if you start early and plan ahead you will be ready. Happy Labor Day!
Kseniya Gershberg works in the birth world serving the community of moms. She is the founder of Millennial Momee and Millennial Parenthood, an online supportive blog community that educates parents about pregnancy, postpartum care, nutrition, health, and fitness. She is a mom to a toddler and in her spare time loves to cook nutritious meals for her family. Leading a healthy lifestyle is her number one goal because she believes healthy families are happy families.