Your baby bump is jutting out in front, everyone’s asking when you’re due. The house is filled with baby stuff…
It’s starting to get real.
When you get to your third trimester, the thought of delivery might still feel surreal but labor is just round the corner. Preparing for labor can be a little nerve-wracking because you’ll actually need to accept that it’s gonna happen soon! But it’s important to do everything you can to make sure your labor goes as smoothly as possible.
Let’s take a deep dive:
How do you prepare for labor?
The third trimester is a waiting game. You’ll be anxious until the day arrives, but try to focus on enjoying your pregnancy as much as possible. The last few weeks go by quickly!
Although every woman’s experience is different, there are some general tips that can help you get ready. Labor prep is mainly focused on 3 things:
All three aspects are important and being mentally prepared is the best thing you can do to have a calmer, more empowered labor.
Mentally prepare for labor
I can tell you now, if this is your first baby, nothing will fully prepare you for labor or the days after. But arming yourself with knowledge and mentally preparing yourself for the gruelling (but satisfying) journey ahead can make the experience more enjoyable and manageable.
Create a birth plan
A birth plan is a way to communicate your wishes for labor and delivery with your partner and the nursing staff. It can be as simple or detailed as you like, but it’s important to include key information such as the type of birth you want e.g water birthing, who will be in the room with you, what type of pain relief you want, and whether you want to breastfeed.
You can create a birth plan on your own or use a template like the one found in my pregnancy journal. This will walk you through all the important decisions that need to be made and help ensure that nothing is left out.
Once your birth plan is complete, give it to hospital staff as soon as you arrive so they are aware of your wishes. Keep in mind that things may change once you’re actually in labor, so it’s important to remain flexible. However, having a birth plan gives you a strong foundation for how you’d like things to go.
Planning ahead is always a good idea – especially when it comes to something as momentous as giving birth! Make sure all your bases are covered by creating a detailed birth plan with all the pertinent information included. This way, everyone involved will know exactly what’s expected of them – from start to finish!
They say knowledge is power and forewarned is forearmed. All true when it comes to labor and delivery. There is nothing as scary as going into the unknown, your mind filled with scary stories your friends have told you about labor.
Giving birth is unpredictable, so it is important that you do your own research and be as prepared as possible. This may include attending counselling and class sessions, watching videos or reading articles on the subject, and practicing positioning exercises. It is also a good idea to join online mothers’ groups which can give you access to real-life experience about childbirth and motherhood. This way, you will feel empowered and in control of your experience when the time comes.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about childbirth classes in your third trimester. These classes can be extremely helpful in preparing you for the big day. They typically cover a wide range of topics, from pain relief and relaxation techniques to basic newborn care.
Most childbirth classes also have a “take your partner” element, which is great for couples. This gives both partners the chance to learn about labor and delivery together. It can also help reduce any anxiety or stress that either of you may be feeling.
Physical classes are generally offered at hospitals, prenatal yoga studios, or local providers. You should take one as early in your third trimester as possible so that you have plenty of time to prepare for labor and delivery.
There are also plenty of online childbirth classes. I much prefer these ones because they are heaps cheaper, can be done without leaving the comfort of my home at whatever time suits me, and I can go back and rewatch all the important bits anytime.
My favorite childbirth class is the hypnobirthing course by Hypnobubs. You get 10 video sessions, ebooks and lots of free goodies like Affirmations for Beautiful Birthing, Prompts for Birthing and inspiring birth videos!
Think about the pain
Pain is inevitable during labor and delivery. In fact, they say delivering vaginally is the most painful experience ever! How do you even prepare for that kind of pain?
There are actually a variety of different things that you can do to manage pain during labor and it’s good to have a few ‘non-medication’ techniques up your sleeves.
Some popular techniques include self-hypnosis (this is where hypnobirthing courses come in), labor position changes, and heat pack application. If you know of any methods that work for you personally, be sure to include them in your birth plan.
You can also talk with your doctor about pain relief before labor begins. This will help ease any anxiety you may have about the process.
It is important to remember that everyone experiences childbirth differently. What works for one person may not work for another. Be sure to discuss all of your options with your healthcare provider so that you can make the best decision for yourself and your baby.
Practise relaxation techniques
One of the most important things to do is to relax and get comfortable with your body. Try taking deep breaths and focusing on your relaxation techniques. This will help you stay calm when the time comes.
Labor can be an intense experience, but learning to relax and breathe can help alleviate the pain. There are many different techniques that you can practise before and during pregnancy, so that labour is as comfortable as possible for you. Two popular relaxation techniques are meditation and visualisation.
Use meditation to create your own positive space and vibe. It’s helpful to have something to focus on other than the pain, and meditation can help you remain calm and focused throughout labour.
Complementary therapies such as acupuncture can also be helpful in relieving stress during labour and delivery. If you’re looking for an alternative to induction during pregnancy, acupuncture may be a good option for you. Make sure your acupuncturist is qualified and uses disposable needles at every treatment session .
Some mums find hypnobirthing helpful too. It’s important to relax before giving birth for the best chance at a smooth delivery, with less pain and stress on both mother and child – so practise these relaxation techniques regularly!
Share your fears
It can be helpful to share your fears with your partner, friends, or family members. This will help reduce anxiety and make you feel more supported. Talking openly about your feelings can also help you process them. However, if you don’t feel like anyone is listening or they lack compassion, consider journaling.
Accept your fear
Fear is a natural reaction to labour and delivery, but it doesn’t have to control you. It’s important to remember that every woman goes through labour, and you can too! You just need to prepare your mind for the experience. This means accepting that labour will be hard work, but also knowing that it will be worth it in the end.
One way to reduce fear is by reading positive birth narratives. These stories of women who have successfully given birth can help build your confidence as a mum-to-be. It’s also helpful to talk to friends who’ve given birth about their experience. You’ll find out that labour isn’t as scary as you think!
Another way to ease your mind is by practicing relaxation techniques. Remember that every mom goes through labour and delivery, so you can do it too!
To wrap up
Remember, you are in control of your own labor, and you can do anything you set your mind to. By preparing yourself mentally for labor, you are taking an important step towards having a positive birth experience. Stay positive and focused, and let your body do what it was designed to do.
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