From the time you saw those two blue stripes until you feel the first contraction and realise that the time has come to meet your baby, can feel like an eternity for some, but for others - it's gone too fast! Can you believe that it only takes 9 months to create a perfect little human.
As you near your due date, you have probably been wondering how you are going to cope - perhaps you have concerns, fears, anxiety - all of which are totally normal. I have come up with some tips that may help you to achieve the best birth possible - whether you choose to have a completely natural birth, or a planned c-section or you are dead keen on having an epidural. And remember, the birth you want is not guaranteed going to be the birth you get, but even if you don't have the no intervention, drug-free birth you had planned for, there is no medals for the marathon depending on whether you had a natural drug-free birth, or you underwent a c-section or had an epidural. You will have to visualise the birth you want, but keep flexible and keep your options open should things not pan out exactly how you'd dreamed they would.
Nevertheless, here are some tips worth reading as you near your due date:
1. Start already now by thinking positivley about your birth. Keep telling yourself that you will rock this birth. Anxiety and fear can get you all tensed up, and we don't want 'all tensed up' in labour. We want soft and loose <3
2. Remember always that pain is temporary. However long it takes, it will end and when it ends you will finally get to meet that little baby - if that's not the cherry on the cake then what is !?
3. Take your mind off your contractions by remembering your mantras, your affirmations. Keep reading them, saying them, have them always placed where you can see them during the day. Your partner or doula will remind you of them if you get led astray. Visualise your contractions as waves that come and go, bringing your baby closer and closer - or visualise birth as a flower opening. Practice these mantras and visualisations - they will become your reality and you will benefit from this during labour and birth.
4. Use the breathing techniques we have spoken about. Practice them already before you go in to labour, all the preparation and training you do beforehand will benefit you during labour and birth. Just like a marathon runner - if she/he hasn't trained beforehand, both physically and mentally, the marathon is going to be - well, not so groovy!
5. Educate yourself on your options and get aquainted with the different interventions and what side effects and/or domino affects they have . If you have knowledge - you will more likely be able to make informed decisions about interventions - and remember - it is OK to change the course of plan if YOU decide to do so.
6. Back rubs in labour are wonderful for most. Putting pressure on the lower back really helps a lot, or the hip-squeeze, or accupressure on just the right spots. For other Moms, gentle stroking is all they need to distract from pain, while others don't want you near them at all. Go with what feels right for you.
7 Positioning. It's very important to keep moving, dancing, changing from being on all fours, to kneeling, to standing, rocking. Lying on your back is the last place you want to be. The pressure on your back will be very painful, and you will be working against gravity.
8. Having the use of a shower, bath/birth pool, big ball can all help at various stages of labour.
9. Stay at home for as long as you can before you head for the hospital. Home is your comfortable environment - your good, uninterrupted first stage of labour can take place at home. Move to the hospital when contractions are getting 5 mins apart and have been so for about and hour.
10. Get plenty of exercise during your pregnancy - remember the marathon runner in point 4!! :-)
11. Come prepared to the hospital if that is where you will be having your baby. You will need nourishment - energy-rich snacks that are easy to digest! Nuts, smoothies (with added oats for energy), frozen grapes! - yes, some women like to eat ice-blocks, but frozen grapes have the added glucose for energy.
Birth is fantastic! You are fantastic! Motherhood is fantastic!
Do you have any tips of your own to add? Please share them in the comments below.