No two women experience pregnancy the same way, which can sometimes make preparing for labor and delivery a bit challenging. However, some tried and true labor tips work for nearly everyone, and we’ve assembled five of the best to help you make your delivery as smooth as possible.
Take a Class
For new moms especially, the prospect of going into labor can be a bit scary. One of the best ways to mitigate labor-related anxiety is by learning about what the process will be like. The more familiar the experience is, the less frightening it will be, which is where childbirth classes come in. Not only will these classes explain what to expect during delivery, but they will also provide you with helpful birthing tips and answer any questions you may have. Additionally, taking a childbirth class can put you in contact with a supportive network of other expectant women.
As you get closer to your due date, you’ll want to begin preparing a birth plan. Typically, this plan will include things like who you want in the room, how you want to manage pain, and what you want done in an emergency. You should share this information with your doctor so that they can best support you during your labor. Of course, no delivery ever goes exactly according to plan, but planning ahead can both prevent stress and ensure your labor is as close to ideal as possible.
Pack a Bag
While you’re developing your birth plan, you’ll also want to pack a bag to take with you to the delivery room. This will prevent you from having to scramble to grab what you need once you go into labor. Good items to pack in this bag include hospital paperwork, a paper copy of your birth plan, comfortable clothes, snacks, slippers, and a phone charger. You might also want to include things that will make your delivery room a more soothing environment, such as your own pillows and blankets.
Be Prepared for a Long Experience
Labor often takes anywhere from 5 to 12 hours, so you should expect to be in your delivery room for quite awhile. Accordingly, you should prepare a few ways to keep yourself comfortable and entertained during this time. Some women might prefer to read books, while others may want to listen to music or watch movies on their phones. Ultimately, it’s up to you how you spend this time--just be sure to plan ahead so that you bring everything you need with you.
Practice Focus and Positivity
In addition to physically preparing for labor, you’ll also want to prepare yourself mentally. One way to do this is by incorporating yoga or meditation into your daily routine. Both of these practices can teach you how to remain calm and focused, which can help a lot with pain and stress management during labor. Another way to mentally prepare yourself for labor is by developing a few positive affirmations to repeat to yourself during delivery. The way we think about the world heavily affects our interactions with it, and practicing having a positive mindset can help make your labor a more positive experience.