Preparing for labour is definitely the key when it comes to childbirth. Every woman needs to prepare both mentally and physically for labour and birth. By doing a little bit of reading and a little bit of preparation it can take some of the fear and anxiety out of having a baby. Knowledge and preparation will also help you and your partner make informed choices for any unexpected events
Preparing your body
From approx. 30 weeks of pregnancy get bouncing on your ball. You don’t need to be permanently parked on it but do use it as often as you can. Perhaps when watching your favourite soap or crime thriller. Practise different positions and get your partner involved! They can practice their back massage techniques on you.
The birthing ball really will help you with your posture and also helps with getting your baby’s head to engage. At Antenatal classes your teacher will show you techniques and positions for labour using the ball. Also see the Aptaclub Care of Your Body in Pregnancy booklet.
Perineal massage really does help in reducing tears and the need for episiotomy (A cut that is made in the mother’s perineum (the area between the vagina and anus) to prevent you tearing badly)
Where is my perineum? There are some useful diagrams in our Care of Your Body in Pregnancy booklet.
You don’t need to massage your perineum every day unless you want to. Just 2/3 times a week. Start massaging from around 32wks.
If massage is not appealing to you there are other options available for helping to stretch your perineum in your pharmacy so speak to your pharmacist for advice on this.
At your Antenatal classes you will be taught various breathing techniques to help you cope with contractions. Hypnobirthing classes are also a very effective way to learn techniques to help you and your partner cope.
Hire your Tens Machine
Become familiar with how it works and where to place the pads. When you feel that labour is beginning that is when you need to start using the Tens follow the manufacturer’s instruction from that point on.
Preparing Mentally for Child Birth
A birth plan is something that should be developed along with your Midwife/Doctor. A birth plan essentially is how you would like your labour to proceed. It’s the ideal place to write down any fears or anxieties you may have. It then gives you an opportunity to discuss these with your Midwife.
It is important to remember that it is just a plan and we all know that things don’t always go to plan (especially where babies are concerned), the end result is what is important – a healthy and happy mother and baby is the main goal and this is what every Midwife and Doctor works toward.
Knowing that you are prepared can help relax you, so get your labour bag packed. It’s a good idea to have this done from about 30wks of pregnancy so you won’t be caught off guard. Only pack essentials! Most hospitals don’t have enough space to accommodate large suitcases. We have developed a handy hospital bag checklist for you to download.
Make sure your partner knows what your labour bag looks like and where it is.
Make a list of phone numbers you need and stick them up on the fridge i.e.
Hospital labour ward, Child-minder (If you have other children).
If you need anymore support, contact our Careline.