Preparing for Labor: 5 Ways to Prepare for Labor

Preparing for Labor:  5 Ways to Prepare for Labor

The anticipation of labor can be a daunting and frightening experience, especially for first-time moms.  The fear of the unknown, expectation of pain and the anxiety of bringing home a newborn can all be very overwhelming.  Every mom’s labor experience is different and there will inevitably be unknown elements involved.  However, preparing for labor can help ease stress, fear and anxiety surrounding this major event.

Check out these 5 ways to prepare for labor to help wrap your head around what’s to come:

1)  Take a Childbirth Class

Knowledge is power and knowing what to expect during labor and delivery can help calm the nerves.  Not all birthing experiences are routine but having an understanding of the process can be extremely helpful.  Childbirth classes will review every step of labor and delivery, from recognizing the first signs of labor and when to call your doctor, to pain management techniques and the birthing process.  Invite your partner to the class as well so he can be full immersed in the experience with you.

2)  Have a Birth Plan

Prepare a birth plan that details your hopes and desires during labor, delivery and beyond.  This roadmap can act as a guide for you, your partner and caregivers to help carry out your expectations.  A birth plan may include ways in which you would like to labor, whether or not you want medication during labor and your plans to breastfeed.  However, like all medical procedures, you and your team will have to remain flexible and fluid with these plans.  If your situation dictates a change, everyone will have to proceed in the best interest of you and the baby.

3)  Strengthen Your Body

Labor is hard work and stronger bodies are better able to cope with its demands.  Having a strong core, specifically the lower abdominals and pelvic floor, will help you push alongside your contractions for a smoother delivery.  Strong back and leg muscles will help your body carry the extra weight of your growing belly during pregnancy. Going into labor without aches and pains will make the process much easier.  Also, maintaining an exercise routine is great for your heart, blood pressure, blood glucose levels and joints.  Those with a strong foundation of exercise, have an easier time dealing with pain associated with labor and delivery.

4)  Pack Your Bags

Frantically heading to the hospital without a single possession of your own can get things started off on the wrong foot.  Have your bag packed with your essentials including toiletries, clothes, pain management tools (heat packs, music, pillows, etc…), snacks and of course your nursing bras for post-delivery. The comfort of these items will help you settle into your labor and delivery room and keep your mind in the game.

5)  Stay Positive and Believe in Yourself

When “go time” arrives, you’re in it to win it.  Work through the pain and try to remember all you’ve done to prepare for this moment.  Lean on your partner, nurses, doctor and caregivers to help you get through.  They will give you direction, advice and encouragement throughout the process.  You’re not in it alone.  Remember, the prize at the end of the journey is well worth all you’re going through in this intense moment.