Since I’ve been back on the Mummy circuit, I’ve heard a lot on first time Mum’s talk about their fear of labour and giving birth. It’s completely natural to feel this way as you’ve not been through it before. I’d even say it’s pretty common to feel a little nervous even if you have had children, because until you get to hold your baby in your arms, you still worry about everything going OK.
There’s lots of things you can do to prepare for labour, and reduce your fears and anxieties for childbirth. Feeling stressed and anxious isn’t ideal for delivering a baby, and will stop you getting into the ‘birthing zone’, for want of better words.
Look After Yourself
Make sure you eat well and drink plenty of water during your pregnancy. There’s no need to eat for 2, but eat regularly and sensibly. This will also help you manage any sickness you maybe feeling.
Exercise is important too. I suffered with pelvic girdle pain in my last 2 pregnancies and keeping mobile and attending classes for pregnant women and yoga really help manage it. Walking and swimming are great too.
Rest is also really important. I think we underestimate how hard the body has to work to to create a little person, and you need to be able to put your feet up. If you work, think carefully about when you want to start your maternity leave. You’ll be surprised how tiring the last weeks can be when you’re big and uncomfortable.
During your pregnancy and as you go into labour, make sure you keep your thoughts positive. You could use meditation for this, or just practise self talk techniques. Remind yourself regularly that you can deliver your baby, it is what you body is designed for especially when the seeds of doubt start to creep in.
Keep the energy around you positive too. Everyone has a birth story to tell, but make sure you hear the positive ones. Avoid negative attitudes and stories, and take advice from people you trust or specific antenatal classes.
I used relaxation and breathing techniques throughout my pregnancy and labour. The longer you use them for, the more effective they will be as you will train yourself to remain calm.
It can be something as simple as visualising your favourite place or relaxing each area of the body in turn. Whatever you use, breath slowly and clear your mind of the daily stresses.
I know this sounds a little vague, but trust me, after 3 babies born naturally, having faith in your ability to deal with labour plays such a big part in birthing your baby. As you go through the stages of labour, give everything over to your body and focus on delivering your child. Breathing will help you, and don’t rule out pain relief.
I’ve always found gravity a huge aid in the birthing process, and staying on your feet as long as you can up until delivery will make the birth so much easier.
You will also feel that fed up in those last weeks, you won’t be at all phased by the thought of labour as you’ll do just about anything to have your baby arrive, and most importantly safely in your arms.
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