The idea of a “stress free” childbirth might make you choke on your latte and the truth is there is going to be an element of stress involved. Even if you are the most organised zen mother whose birth plan runs exactly according to schedule. However, you can put steps in place to ensure that your labour experience is as stress-free as possible, considering the circumstances.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare for what is going to be a life-changing experience.
Knowing what lies ahead is vital. Things might change and baby might have plans that conflict with your carefully thought out birth plan, but as long as you know that this is always a possibility, then you won’t be too thrown off should something change. Take pre-natal classes, read books and talk to new moms. Everyone has their own story and it helps to get the bigger picture.
Go with your own flow
No two women are the same and no single method works for everyone. Explore your options during the early stages of labour and see what works for you. If you want to bounce on a gym ball, sit in a Jacuzzi or lie on the floor then go for it. It’s your experience and you are the only one who knows what’s working for you.
Set the scene
A soothing environment is an important part of the labour process. Many hospitals offer alternative delivery rooms that look more like your great aunts sitting room than a labour ward. But even if you are in a standard hospital bed try and make it yours. Bring a couple of photos, download some of your favourite chill-out tracks onto your iPod. You could even ask permission to light a few scented candles if that’s your thing.
Things get hazy during labour and you can feel like you are on another planet to the people around you, but it will help if you ask your midwife to explain your progress with you. If you are unfamiliar with any of the equipment ask about it and obviously, chat about any possible forms of pain relief. If you know what is going on and what is happening to you and your baby it will help give you peace of mind and strength to press on.
Choose your people wisely
C-sections tend to be just you and your partner and the attendants in the room, but if you are having a vaginal birth you can often choose a friend, sister, mother or Doula to be with you and your partner through the process. Many women find it helps having a woman who has given birth in the room. Just choose support people who are calm and supportive and won’t take offence when you hurl insults at them for telling you to calm down (kidding, that only happens in the movies!)
Other articles you may be interested in:
Treatments to avoid when pregnant
Natural cures for those pregnancy pains
Should you wear fragrances while you are pregnant?
Sex and your pregnancy
The importance of being a mother