I’m a planner- always have been, always will be. It drives my husband kind of crazy because he is more of a “on the fly, let’s see what happens” kind of guy so when we found out we were expecting our daughter, I was already thinking to 9 months down the road when I would have to deliver her. And why shouldn’t I? From a pretty early age, it’s a known fact that birthing a child is a tough job so in my head, the best way to prepare for that was to plan. Or maybe you aren’t like me and you are like my best friend- who up until about a week before she gave birth, didn’t give it a single thought. No matter which type you are, we’ve come up with a list of ways to help you feel more prepared for the big day! So, whether you are ready to read now or bookmark it to closer to the big day, we hope this list helps you to feel ready, whether you are or not!
1. Make a Birth Plan- This is pretty obvious but this “birth plan” can cover a wide range of things that can help you when the time comes. What positions are you comfortable with using? What type of birth do you want to have? Who is going to be there? Having a plan from start to finish will not only help get your and your partner on the same page, but your entire birthing team.
2. Plan everything else- Once you have a plan of how you want your labor and delivery to go, it’s time to plan everything else. Pack your hospital bag, stock up on essentials, make arrangements for your children and/or pets, ask a neighbor to grab your mail for a few days, etc. Tying up loose ends for life’s logistics will help ease your stress before, during and after the birth.
3. Consider a Doula- If making birthing plans are proving to be difficult or you just want some extra help and guidance, consider using a doula. Studies have shown that the use of a doula showed a very high number of positive birth outcomes and women who use a doula are less likely to use pain-relief medications and have a lower rate of cesarean birth. Now, using a doula will not guarantee these things- but it’s worth keeping in mind if you are considering the extra help!
4. Self -Care- These may seem a little strange but helping to better take care of yourself will definitely have an impact on how calm and relaxed you feel going into childbirth. In the weeks leading up to your due date, get a fresh haircut and a pedicure. Consider a prenatal massage and try and get some light exercise in. Not only will these things have you looking good before the day comes, but will also leave you feeling great too.
5. Educate Yourself- If any of the above suggestions have you feeling clueless, this tip is especially right up your alley. Educate yourself on all things birth/post-partum related and this will definitely have you feeling more ready for the big day. Talk to your OBGYN and/or pick up a few books about things such as the birthing process, labor, c-sections, and anything post-partum related. Do you want to use an epidural? Do you know if you are going to breast or bottle feed? Doing research and making educated decisions now will help prepare you better moving forward and help avoid having a make snap decision. They say “prepare for the worst, hope for the best” but we say “prepare and learn about everything”.
6. Stay Positive- Keeping a positive attitude will go a long way when it comes to getting mentally prepared for giving birth. Try blocking out all the people, mothers especially, who are going to throw every horror story and/or “worst-case scenario” at you. Listening to that noise isn’t going to help anything so try your best to block it out. At the end of the day, having a positive attitude and trusting your gut will help prepare you much better than stories of birthing past.
What tip do you have for preparing for labor and delivery? We would love to hear about it in the comments below!