Preparing for childbirth takes many forms. There are practical considerations – buying clothes, preparing the nursery etc. – but there is also the emotional preparation for labour and childbirth. Feeling prepared is important, and can help in the safe delivery of your baby. Take a look at these suggestions from HARTMANN Direct on how to prepare your mind for the impending birth.
Admire and work with your body
The female body is fantastic but, we are often told of its inadequacies and for many of, negative body image and issues were apparent before pregnancy.
Throughout your body focus on the power of your amazing body – it is protecting and nurturing a growing baby. And it is doing all this seemingly by magic!
We also interfere with the process of pregnancy and birth. You need to trust that your body knows what to do – it has the hormones that kick start labour, the urge to push and so on – and as a result, your baby knows what to do as well.
Build a support network
It is an understated part of preparing emotionally for labour and birth but there is no doubt that having a village of support around you will be incredibly helpful.
As well as family and friends, get to know the other expectant mums at your childbirth or ante-natal classes. There are also many other communities that are great for offering the support that you need.
Filter out negative voices
Unfortunately, just as your pregnancy announcement brought many congratulations, it also brought negative stories of labour and birth in equal measure.
When women discuss their birth plans, it is possible that others will tell you that this is an idealistic vision and one that will never happen. They will tell you horror stories of their own, or of other women that they know, and so on.
They think they are being helpful, giving you a ‘reality check’ and preparing you for what is likely or could happen. But for many women, this is frightening.
Labour and birth is different for every woman, with some having a great experience but other women experiencing difficulties. There are many concerns and fears that are common, from waters breaking in public to something being wrong with the baby.
This is how you can take out the fear from labour and birth;
* Talk – having a support network around you is important, and this is one reason why. Be prepared that when you ask other people ‘what is it really like?’, you will get a mixed response. If you have a specific concern, try asking them directly about it.
If you think your anxiety and fear is building to significant proportions, talk with your midwife. They can answer all the queries and concerns you have, and will want to allay your fears so that you are on control of the birth and enjoy it.
* Read and watch – for some women, understanding and seeing what can and does happen is part and parcel of being able to prepare themselves emotionally for the birth.
* Filter out people who are persistently negative – it is important that women share their experiences with others but, when you feel a horror story coming your way, it is OK to politely limit your participation in the story!
Positive birth stories
There are many, many women who have positive stories about birth and do share them for others to understand.
Take a look online, enjoy and smile at some of the fantastic stories that are out there. At your ante natal class, you may find that the midwife invites a couple back with their new born to talk about their experiences with the group.
We are often encouraged to take steps to prepare our bodies physically for pregnancy, labour and birth, but little attention is paid to preparing ourselves emotionally.
We are taught that pain is bad and that when we are in pain, we need to make it go away. With birth, the opposite is true: when we are in pain, it means our body is working hard. This means not shunning the pain, but welcoming it and working with it.
To do this, our minds need to be calm and focussed. Practicing meditation and other relaxing techniques, focussing specifically on controlling the breathing can be especially helpful in labour, more so when the pain increases in intensity and frequency before giving birth.
Giving birth is wondrous. And once you hold your new born, all memories of any ‘pain’ simply vanish.
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