Labour and birth is something that can not be followed by a text book. Each labour and pregnancy is unique. The same women could give birth multiple times and have very different pregnancies and births each time. Nothing is going to prepare you 100% and no one can tell you how it will all happen, but educating yourself before hand can only benefit the end result.
How can you help prepare yourself for labour, especially as a first time mum?
- Talk to other mothers who have recently given birth. Some women won’t want to discuss things very deeply where as others will be happy to spill their guts and tell you everything.
- Read Birth Stories. There are plenty out there online- we have a whole section dedicated to birth stories to help parents prepare themselves after reading about the reality of birth opposed to movie style births where it is made to look relatively easy. Birth Stories on our blog. This can be confronting and scary, but I strongly believe that knowing more, and knowing they are just possibilities opens your mind to the whole situation instead of going in blind and being shocked by what happens.
- Attend Antenatal Classes to learn from a midwife a variety of information (Pain relief, positions to birth your baby, managing contraction pain, How your partner/support person can help, a tour of the birth unit so you know what to expect before having your baby, etc).
- Watch births on You-Tube – this can be super confronting but also really helped bring the reality of possibilities to me before I gave birth and made it less confronting and scary when my turn came as I knew what it was really could look like.
- Look into your options- There are MANY ways you can give birth, many positions you can try to birth your baby. As seen on TV or movies they generally have babies laying down on your back on the bed. The midwives say this is actually working against gravity and making it harder to birth your baby. I had an open mind about how I would give birth, knowing the things I wanted to try but nothing set in stone. I ended up having Miss A standing/squatting in the shower with the water running on my back for pain relief. When she was about to come out the water had to be turned off in case she swallowed any water as she came out. HERE is My Birth Story!
I was really glad that I looked into birth videos, read some birth stories and got heads up from friends and family about various things related to birth. As scary as it sounds at the time, I strongly believe that going in with an open, educated mindset you will be more relaxed in the end.
By Clare at Relaxed Parenting