As you approach the end of your pregnancy, you may be both excited and overwhelmed. After all, you’ve waited for this moment for the past nine months, and now you can finally meet your little one. But before you can cradle your baby in your arms, you must prepare for the most critical stage in your pregnancy, which is labor. Once you begin active labor, your body will go through several changes. While you may be scared of going through painful contractions, exhaustion, and back pain, that doesn’t have to be the case.
Every mother experiences labor differently, which is why it helps to have a birth plan. You can smoothly deliver your baby by studying, understanding, and preparing yourself for labor. Staying informed also keeps your baby safe since you can recognize warning signs as your labor progresses. Therefore, For the sake of your baby and yourself, here’s what you need to do:
1. Be Prepared For Anything
As ominous as this sounds, anything can happen during your labor. So by being in the know, you can prevent dangerous complications and protect your baby. Start by learning about optimal birthing positions and try practicing them at home. This makes you comfortable adjusting your body into these new poses without injuring yourself.
Likewise, you may also need to dig a little deeper and learn what can go wrong during active labor. The idea of educating yourself on these concepts is to help you develop a better understanding of how your labor may become uncomfortable. As a result, if your blood pressure dips, you have trouble breathing, or you cannot push your baby out on time, you can inform the medical staff and get help immediately.
Similarly, resources like childbirthinjuries.com can give you the necessary details on birth injuries, how they commonly occur and if your case warrants a lawsuit. If you feel stressed by all this new knowledge, talk to a loved one or a birthing coach to ease your worries and prevent your fears from accumulating. You can also look into joining a birthing class for additional support.
2. Chart Out A Birth Plan
A birth plan gives you an idea of how you wish to deliver your baby and have a good experience bringing your child to this world. Your birthing plan should include where you want to give birth, the healthcare professional in charge of your case, and if you wish to take an epidural. You can also decide if you’ll take additional medications like painkillers or get a membrane scan and if your water doesn’t break on time, how long do you want to wait before asking the doctor to intervene?
3. Learn What Your Contractions Mean
As your due date starts getting closer, you may begin experiencing contractions. The early stages of your labor have the most prolonged contractions, and you may need to wait a few hours before you’re ready to give birth. At the same time, you may experience Braxton Hicks contractions, also known as false labor pangs. These only stimulate your uterus to contract but don’t put you into labor. Therefore you should follow the 411 rule, which is an excellent way to keep track of your contractions and know the right time to rush to the hospital.
According to most midwives, you should time yourself until your contractions are about 4 minutes apart, lasting at least a minute each. Get to the hospital if you feel a rhythm in the pressure and your water breaks.
4. Ask For A Massage
During labor, your body may feel stressed and rigid; your muscles may be exhausted from the constant contraction and need a break. In such cases, you should look into getting a massage. If you have your partner with you, ask them to knead out knots, or you can lean on your birthing coach for support. Common examples include pressing on your tailbone, light grazing your shoulders, and gently rubbing your back. These can release endorphins, making you feel good and helping you relax as you deal with labor.
5. Pack A Hospital Bag
Per medical protocols, you may need to stay at the hospital for at least a day once you enter labor and give birth. This is because the staff needs to monitor your condition and ensure you are doing well before and after the baby. Therefore, by packing all the essential items you will need, you may feel more at ease being away from home. Your hospital bag can hold anything you need, such as your medication, hospital ID, and spare clothing for yourself and your child. You can also put in your toiletries which can help you wash off after birth, making you feel fresh and in excellent shape to hold your child.
As an expectant mother, there is no greater joy than your baby’s arrival. But before you can welcome your child with warm arms, you still need to power through your labor. This process can be painful and exhausting, so you must prepare for what’s to come. The best way to cover your basics is to read up on labor to identify what you may be at risk for and prevent it from happening. Being prepared will only save you and your baby from any mishaps.