Preparing for Labour and Delivery
I have a series of Instagram posts giving helpful tips for what to pack in your hospital bag. Check it out if you’re interested @planetparenthood1.
However, I found that a bigger part of getting ready for labour and delivery is the mental preparation – you need to prepare for the rigours of labour, what happens during the delivery process, and so much more.
An important part for me was considering different outcomes. My mom always went on and on about how easy her birth experience was. Although I wanted desperately to almost have my baby in the toilet, her athleticism versus my completely sedentary lifestyle and inability to do much of anything during pregnancy let me know that my birth story may be a little different.
I tried to keep in mind that a first baby often entails long, arduous labour, that a c-section is always a possibility (in addition to the greater recovery time and complications that come with that process), and of course that there is the heartbreaking possibility that something went wrong for me or baby. Keeping a realistic outlook helped save me from the shock a lot of moms experience when their birth plan ends up changing drastically when the time comes.
If at all possible, giving birth and recovery is much easier if your body is strong and healthy. This is much easier said than done, of course, but trying your best to stay in shape and eat well is helpful. I didn’t do much of this. I really wasn’t in any state to work out because of how I was feeling during pregnancy, but I at least did daily walks and some prenatal yoga. More intense workouts would have helped strengthen my body for the trials ahead, though, so if you can – do!
Breathing exercises, meditation and visualization can also serve you well during contractions. Practicing these skills can help keep you calm and energized. There are lots of classes and YouTube videos that are helpful in training yourself.
Everyone is so different when it comes to what provides comfort leading up to the big day (or days, sorry…).
I found that I wanted to know the least information possible because my anxiety would just get out of control if I knew too much about the process itself. No “your baby is the size of an avocado this week” for me.
On the other hand, some people ease their apprehension by doing all the reading and asking all the questions. And that’s okay. Everyone is different. Do what feels right for you and just know that you are in good hands and ultimately, your body knows what to do, even if you don’t.
Like every aspect of parenting, you can only prepare to a point. When you begin labour and delivery, there are going to be a lot of unknowns and likely some unexpected moments. Personally, I found it an empowering experience and thought about all the badass mf women who did this crazy thing before me and felt lucky to count myself among them.
One way or another, when you have a baby, you will do something you never thought you could, and that’s pretty amazing.