Childbirth Preparation

Preparing for labor will ease your delivery

Packing a hospital bag and practicing your breathing exercises are important steps toward a successful delivery, but your labor preparations should include more than last-minute maneuvers. Considering the stress and excitement your labor and delivery will bring, it makes sense to begin preparing your body and mind for these powerful events in the months leading up to the big day. From strengthening and relaxation tips, like those in the video on this page, to gathering support and helpful accessories, learn how you can increase your chances of having a comfortable and controlled labor experience that will be easier on your mind and body.


Preparing for Labor Naturally

Labor is exciting and scary. It's a feeling unlike anything else, and your expectations, emotions and anticipation will combine with the physical strain to make for a pretty intense experience. The best thing you can do for yourself in the months and weeks leading up to the big day is to prepare both your mind and your body with regular exercises and concentration and relaxation techniques that will help you stay in control and relatively comfortable during labor.

Not surprisingly, strength and stamina are the main physical attributes that you'll need for labor and birth. Of course, that strength will come from specific muscle groups, namely your pelvic muscles and thigh muscles. Prenatal yoga is your best route to strong and flexible muscles that will help you push, and the associated breathing techniques can be very effective in controlling the waves of pain and discomfort many women experience. In the weeks leading up to your delivery, find a pregnancy exercise video that works for you, and consider exploring some deeper meditation techniques to calm your mind and body. This is also a good time to practice gentle perineal massage, which will help your skin stretch easily when you give birth.

Tools to Help You through Labor and Birth

One indispensible tool for labor and birth is the pregnancy support and advice you receive from trusted peers and a childbirth preparation class. Lean on your friends and family when you need to, and discuss your fears, expectations and hopes with your labor partner. Find a childbirth class that suits your personality and delivery style, and try to sign up for classes that finish shortly before your due date. Your labor probably won't go just as you had planned, but if you're comfortable with your support system and remain open-minded with your birth plan, you'll likely get through any obstacles with ease.

Another type of tool to consider is a piece of equipment that's designed to ease labor and increase your chances of giving birth naturally. While a labor tool is really anything that will help you cope with pain, specially designed equipment like the birthing ball may provide the most comfort and assistance for a pregnant body. The ball acts as a rolling seat, and with various hip and leg movements, you can better position the baby in the birth canal, stimulate labor and speed up delivery. There are plenty of innovative labor tools to experiment with, so begin to test them out earlier in your pregnancy to find one that works for you and to give yourself plenty of time to learn how to use it correctly and efficiently.

Please consult with your physician before starting any new exercise or making any lifestyle changes during your pregnancy.

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