As much as moms-to-be are thrilled with joy at the thought of hugging their little one for the first time, there is also another thought that may overshadow their happiness: the birth. Not one single mother ever said, “Oh, the birth was so easy”.. It has always been described as an incomparable painful moment that we do not experience every day. And as if the pain was not enough, labor is considered to last somewhere between 8 to 24 hours, which can terrify anyone. Yet, every mother you would ask about her birth experience will say the same thing:“It all disappeared when I held the baby in my arms”.
Although moms can also choose the C-section in order to avoid the pain of a natural delivery, the perception on contractions and birth pain can cause fear, tension and anxiety regardless, which is why moms-to-be should join birth centers that teach pain management skills.
However, if you feel confident about natural childbirth, there are few tips you need to know:
- Birth Centers
As previously mentioned, birth centers can offer you a great support throughout your pregnancy, teach you how to control your emotions (i.e. anxiety, negative thoughts, fear, etc) and essential techniques to keep you present and in control while in labor. The classes will also prepare you on what you should expect at every stage of the labor and delivery, which means you will be less surprised or scared when challenges appear. The more you know, the better you will be prepared and ready to work with your body.
2. Physical Activity
Without further introduction, physical activities seem to play an important role in preparing your body for natural birth. Being physically fit is an advantage since your heart rate and muscles are used to movement and beneficial pressure. Ideally would be to spend 30 minutes, three days a week in the park walking or doing some yoga exercises. They will not only enhance your flexibility, but also your respiratory rates. As you are in tune with your body, you relax more and consequently, the pain becomes more bearable.
However, if you do not feel quite confident about it, it is best to have a chat with your doctor before as s/he would be able to design a cardio plan and perhaps a diet in order to prevent your body from gaining too much weight.
3. Visualize The Birth
If you are one of the women who experience the PMS every month, then you should know that the birth pain is 10 times sharper than that. Instead of being frightened of how you will feel or cope with the pain, you need to visualize it and think of how you could handle contractions as most of the pain can also be influenced by your mental attitude towards the birth.
No matter how much you prepare for the big day, there will be contractions that may catch you by surprise. As the pain will intensify, you will find that back and shoulder massages could reduce tension and stress. The same goes if you have swollen feet.
So, before your delivery date ask the hospital about the maternity services and if they can provide massages, otherwise your midwife or birth center will be more than willing to offer you the support you need.
5. Create a Birth Plan
While attending birth classes, it would be useful to keep a diary with all the useful subjects that you consider beneficial to your pregnancy and delivery. Since the birth plan is a personal record, you can also discuss with your midwife the pregnancy progress, your expectations on how the delivery should happen and what steps you would like to take after your baby’s arrival:
- Room’s ambient: is it spacious enough? Easy to adjust the lights?
- How many persons in the room?
- Position during pregnancy (i.e. squatting, sitting up, lying down on your back, etc.)
- How do you wish to deliver the placenta?
- Breastfeeding: immediate after birth?
- Considering a C-section in case things do not work out as planned?
These are some key points that you could discuss with your midwife and further concerns you may have.
The key is to seek advice, keep a positive attitude and know that you can do it. Regardless of the pain, hundreds of women feel empowered by the magic of natural childbirth. In that special moment you and your baby work for the first time together.