If you’ve been following my blog for a little while now, or Instagram, then you’re probably very well aware that I’m currently quite heavily pregnant and due any day. As I write this post I am halfway through week 37, so full term in the eyes of pregnancy, which means I have to do the big scary task of giving birth. With that in mind, I wanted to write a post on some of the things that have helped me prepare for labour, and relax a little bit more, or at least attempt too.
As a bit of background, my pregnancy is classed as a low-risk pregnancy. Low-risk meaning I do not have any long-term medical conditions and haven’t had any major complications during my pregnancy, based on the NICE birthing care guidelines.
If you want to know anything more about my pregnancy journey, then please take a look at my pregnancy updates, which can be found here.
Okay, perhaps an obvious one, but giving birth and having to actually get the baby that is inside you, out of you sounds incredibly scary… but, it has to be done. Therefore, I’m trying to go with the positive approach that our bodies were made to do this, people do this every day, and we wouldn’t be able to get pregnant if we couldn’t do it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still scared as anything, but I personally don’t see the point in sitting there wondering all about the what if’s, and feel more comfortable remembering that point I mentioned a moment ago; we wouldn’t be able to get pregnant if we couldn’t do it.
Researching and reading books probably isn’t for everyone, but following on from my previous point the more knowledge I can gain helps me feel a little bit more relaxed about the situation and has really helped me prepare my mind for labour. I’ve read The Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill over the last couple of months, which has really helped me keep my positive mindset. It not only goes into the whole labour process in detail, but it also goes through the what if things go wrong, and details all the different interventions which could happen. It has allowed me to extend my knowledge and understand the positives, negatives and full details to every step of labour and/or any complications.
Separately, with this being my first pregnancy the number of questions I have had throughout my pregnancy is unbelievable. You question everything and some things you just want to be answered and the only way to do this is research, whether this is through books, online forums, the dreaded google, or through support groups.
I’ve been part of a due in November group since very early on in my pregnancy with about 80 of us and have found it invaluable. For some of us, we are due our first babies, some second or third, but we all have questions and have helped each other throughout. I don’t know many people pregnant closeby either so I honestly don’t think I could have got through or been able to prepare for labour without this group, especially in such a positive way.
ATTEND ANTENATAL CLASSES
Leading on from researching and/or reading books antenatal classes are something that has really helped me prepare for the big day. We have done the free NHS one in Southampton which involves attending a short course all about preparing for labour. During these classes, a midwife has gone through the stages of labour, what if things go wrong and pain relief, and they were also available for any questions after and during the class.
I did mention on my Instagram that one session, in particular, was really unhelpful and actually terrified me, but overall I found them all incredibly helpful and informative. It was a particularly useful way to involve my other half in preparing for labour too.
CREATE A BIRTH PLAN
Birth plans seem to be something people either love or hate, but for me it’s something that I’ve found incredibly helpful in helping keep the positive mindset in preparing for labour. Yes, it may not go to plan, but knowing what I want and my preferred choices have allowed me to not go into the whole labour process completely blind. It also makes me feel more in control in preparing for labour.
From antenatal classes to the Facebook group I’m part of, to Milli Hill’s book, all three things have helped me put this together and influenced my choices. Milli Hill’s book is a fantastic reference if you decide you want to write a birth plan for your own birth journey, and it even has a visual birth plan guide. She covers everything from delayed cord clamping to the vitamin K injection to a managed placenta delivery, and much more.
HAVE A TOUR AROUND THE DIFFERENT BIRTHING OPTION VENUES
At my very first midwife appointment, my midwife provided me with a link to a website which shows videos of all the different birthing option venues, including the two midwife-led units here in Southampton and the labour ward. This immediately made me re-think my options and start to consider a midwife-led unit.
We have since recently gone for a tour at the New Forest Birth Centre which completely sold it for me. Obviously, a birthing venue is a very personal decision, and a midwife-led unit may not be for everyone for multiple reasons, but for me, it’s the right choice if possible. I’m quite scared of hospitals from an experience from when I was younger, so if I can keep away then that’s definitely best for me, and if I need to transfer then I can be blue-lighted to the main hospital in under 10 minutes.
PACK YOUR HOSPITAL BAG
Okay, another obvious thing that has to be done, but thinking about this has helped me in my process preparing for labour. I never really thought much of it at the beginning other than knowing I would need one, but it has really helped me start to think about labour and what will help me during. This includes everything from comfy clothes, easy boob access nighties for after, glucose tablets to snacks throughout and even straws so I can drink easier.
I’ve included a little checklist below on what I’ve included in case this is of use to any of you.
If you’re currently pregnant how are you preparing for labour?