It's natural to be concerned about the pain and discomfort of childbirth if you're expecting your first child. However, if you listen to other mothers, you will hear that having a baby is one of the most beautiful experiences in life.
They also understand that, while labor can be painful, it does not have to be. And they did things during their deliveries to help minimize their discomfort and make the experience more enjoyable for everyone!
So, whether or not this pregnancy has been easy for you thus far, here are some pointers from other moms who have been there.
Take a child birthing class
Take a childbirth class if you intend to have your baby at home. Classes are available at hospitals and birthing centers across the country, and they will teach you about the labor process and how to deal with various situations during delivery. In most cases, there is no charge for these classes.
Stay focused on the benefits of labor and birth
Labor is a natural process, and it's normal to feel nervous or uneasy as your body prepares for the arrival of a baby. But keep in mind that you're doing it for a reason! When your baby arrives, you'll be able to focus on bonding with him or her right away—and once that happens, you'll both be pleased with how far along things have progressed!
Before going into labor, get some rest. According to one study, women who get enough sleep before giving birth are less likely to have complications during delivery than those who don't. So, if possible (or necessary), try not to think about anything other than yourself during this time. You could even consider learning to knit instead!
Attend your doctor's appointments
Attend all of your doctor's appointments to ensure that you're taking care of yourself and your baby. If you have any questions about what is being discussed, please seek clarification.
If your doctor instructs you to do something (such as take a pill or drink a certain amount of water), inquire as to why. Is there another option? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this treatment?
You should also request copies of any medical records pertaining to birth control methods, prenatal vitamins, and medications taken while pregnant so that they can be faxed over if necessary during an appointment; once again, ask!
Visit the hospital you plan to deliver in prior to labor
You can take a tour of the hospital as soon as you register for classes, and it's a great way to meet some of the staff. This is especially important if you plan on having a home birth because most birthing centers require parents to stay overnight and have their babies in birthing center beds with room temperature controls and blackout curtains.
You might also inquire about their childbirth classes: Do they provide them? Is there anything unique about them (for example, the capability to invite someone else into the room)?
Have a support person present during labor and delivery
During labor and delivery, you'll have a few people at the hospital with you: your doctor and nurse will be there to assist you. Then there's always someone to lean on when things get stressful or difficult. But what happens after that? That's when things get tricky—and having someone present can mean the difference between feeling like yourself again and feeling like an outsider in your own body.
Your partner is an excellent choice for intimate support during pregnancy and birth because it allows both of you to be present for each other without worrying about who's doing what at any given time (and also because they'll probably want their hands free to hold baby). If neither of those options works out for either party, consider asking one of your close friends or family members who lives nearby.
Switch positions when you become uncomfortable
When you're in labor, it's critical to switch positions to give your body the best possible relief. The goal is to make your body as comfortable as possible, and there are several ways to accomplish this:
- Changing positions between lying down and standing up will improve blood flow in your pelvis. This can reduce pressure on your back during labor, which can help alleviate pain at the most inconvenient times (such as when pushing).
- Switching positions on a regular basis can also relieve pressure on one part of your body while allowing others (such as your shoulders) to rest comfortably as well!
Try different relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques range from music listening to breathing exercises to meditation. The key is to figure out what works best for you, whether it's during labor or afterward.
Relaxation techniques can also help moms who are feeling overwhelmed by their new parental responsibilities or who have been experiencing physical pain during pregnancy like nausea.
You can learn how to lessen the pain by reading, attending classes, and talking to your doctor
Learn about the labor and delivery process. This can be accomplished by reading books, attending classes, and consulting with your doctor or midwife.
Learn how to reduce pain during labor and delivery. These may be available at local health care facilities or through online programs.
Discuss with your doctor which medications might help if you're experiencing pain during childbirth, especially since some of these are only available by prescription.