Bringing a new life into this world can be one of the most beautiful and rewarding experiences a woman and her partner can have.
But let’s be real; the thought of giving birth can be pretty scary and overwhelming.
It’s completely normal to feel a little anxious, but don’t worry. There are some easy and effective steps you can take to make sure your birth experience is as blissful as possible.
By preparing for birth ahead of time, you can help reduce your anxiety and fear and have a more positive and empowering experience.
Not only that, but it’s also important to make sure your birth preferences are considered so you feel confident and informed during labour and delivery.
In this article, we’re going to cover 7 things you can do when preparing for birth. You got this!
Make a birth plan that matches your wishes
Alright, let’s talk about birth plans.
Think of it like a roadmap for your labour and delivery journey.
It’s a document that outlines your preferences for things like pain management, positions, and who’ll be present in the room as well as any cultural or religious practices that you want to observe.
Having a birth plan can help you feel more in control and confident during labour.
Your birth plan can be as detailed or as simple as you like. Just make sure it matches your wishes.
It also allows the birthing team to know what kind of birth you’d like to have so they can best support you.
So, mumma, grab a cup of tea, sit down, and start thinking about what you want your birth experience to look like.
Do you want a natural birth with minimal interventions? Or do you wish to have an epidural or gas to help you along?
Do you have any specific requests for your birthing environment, such as dim lighting or music?
Do you want to do a breast crawl, have optimal cord clamping, or spend the golden hour uninterrupted — just you, your baby and your partner?
These are all good questions to consider when creating your birth plan.
Remember, this is YOUR birth experience, and you have the right to voice your preferences and desires.
Now that you know the importance of creating a birth plan, let’s talk about how to make one.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Think about what’s important to you and what you want to happen during labour and delivery. Do you want a natural birth, or are you open to pain management options? Do you have a preference for positions to labour in? Would you like music or essential oils in the room? Do you want to give birth in the birth pool?
- Involve your partner in the process. They can provide valuable support during labour and delivery, and they should also be considered in the birth plan (e.g. if you have a cesarian, you’d like your partner to have skin-to-skin contact while the surgeons are finishing up).
- Talk to your healthcare provider about your preferences and any concerns you may have. They can provide guidance on what’s realistic and safe for you and your baby.
- Consider hiring a doula to support you emotionally, physically, and informationally during the birth. A doula can also help you create your birth plan and make sure your preferences are heard and respected by the healthcare team.
- Remember to keep your birth plan flexible and be open to changes if necessary. Birth can be unpredictable, and sometimes things don’t go as planned. The most important thing is to have a safe and healthy delivery for you and your baby.
Creating a birth plan is a great way to make sure your preferences are communicated to your healthcare team and that you have the birth experience you desire.
Don’t be afraid to speak up and advocate for yourself and your baby.
Take birthing classes with your partner
Birthing classes aren’t essential when preparing for birth, but they are a great way to arm yourself with knowledge about the birthing process and caring for your little one.
You’ll learn about different pain management techniques, what to expect during labour and delivery, and safely birth your baby whichever way you choose.
Taking classes with your partner can also help you both feel more involved and confident in the process.
Plus, you’ll get to meet other expectant parents and maybe even make some new friends who are in the same boat as you.
When choosing a birthing class, it’s important to find one that aligns with your values and preferences.
Whether you’re interested in a modern-day birthing class or something more alternative, like hypnobirthing, or prenatal yoga, there are plenty of options out there.
Do some research, read reviews, and ask for recommendations from friends or your healthcare provider to find a class that suits you.
Another great place to find birth classes is through your doula.
Many virtual doulas offer online courses like aromatherapy, acupressure or massage; these are all things that you and your partner can use during labour.
Once you’ve found the right class, here are some tips to help you get the most out of it:
- Bring your partner or a support person with you
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions or share your concerns
- Take notes and bring a pen and paper
- Practice the techniques you learn at home
- Connect with other expecting parents in the class
- Remember that everyone’s experience is different, and it’s okay to have different preferences and opinions.
By taking a birthing class, you can gain valuable knowledge and skills that can help you feel more prepared and confident during labour and delivery.
Read birthing books that resonate with your birthing plan
Reading books about birth can be helpful when preparing for birth.
There are many books available on birthing techniques, but not all of them will resonate with your birthing plan.
They can provide you with different perspectives, tools, and techniques for a more comfortable and positive birth experience.
Choose books that align with your values and preferences, whether that’s natural childbirth, water birth, or something else.
Books They can also help you to understand the process of childbirth and give you more confidence in your choices.
Here are 4 of my favourite birthing books and authors that align with different birthing styles:
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
“Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” encourages women to trust their bodies and provides a female-centred approach to natural childbirth.
She’s considered one of America’s leading midwives and has over 30 years of experience supporting women in their natural childbirth journeys.
- Home Birth on Your Own Terms by Heather Baker
If you’re planning a home birth or looking into unassisted birthing, “Home Birth on Your Own Terms” is another great book.
- The Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill
“The Positive Birth Book” is a guide to help you prepare for the birth you really want, with practical tips and advice for everything from building the perfect birth plan to understanding your rights during childbirth.
If you’re interested in learning more about these books, see my article on natural birthing books.
It’s important to remember that these books aren’t the be-all and end-all of birth preparation.
Everyone’s birth experience is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another.
Read with an open mind and take what resonates with you.
Remember that the most important thing is that you feel informed, empowered, and in control of your birth experience.
Sleep and eat — follow what your body is telling you
During your pregnancy, your body will go through many changes. It’s important to listen to your body and get the rest and nourishment you need.
Try to get plenty of sleep and eat a balanced diet. Don’t forget to stay hydrated as well.
Not only will self-care help you feel better, but it can also improve birth outcomes.
When you prioritise self-care, you’re giving your body the tools it needs to support a healthy pregnancy and birth.
Whether it’s taking a relaxing bath, going for a walk, or indulging in your favourite pregnancy cravings, make sure to take time for yourself during this special time.
Sleep and nutrition are two crucial elements of self-care during pregnancy that can have a significant impact on birth outcomes.
Lack of sleep can lead to increased stress and anxiety, which can have negative effects on pregnancy and labour.
Poor nutrition can also lead to complications during pregnancy and birth, such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.
It’s essential to get enough rest and eat a healthy, balanced diet to support a healthy pregnancy and birth.
Here are some tips for getting enough rest and eating well during pregnancy:
- Establish a bedtime routine and stick to it, including winding down activities such as reading or taking a warm bath
- Sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs for added comfort
- Avoid caffeine, sugary and fatty foods, and processed snacks
- Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day
- Snack on healthy options such as nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit
- Consider speaking with a nutritionist or healthcare provider to develop a personalised plan for your unique needs.
Remember, taking care of yourself during pregnancy isn’t selfish; it’s essential.
By prioritising self-care, you’re giving yourself and your baby the best chance for a healthy and happy pregnancy and birth.
Spend time with your significant other
mumma, let’s talk about your significant other for a sec.
Spending quality time with your significant other is important during pregnancy.
It’s a great way to bond with your significant other when preparing for birth of your little one.
Take walks, watch movies, or plan a weekend getaway. These moments will help you relax and enjoy the experience.
Feeling lost for bonding activities with your partner during pregnancy? We’ve got you covered!
- Walking is a great way to get some fresh air and gentle exercise while bonding with your significant other.
- Watching your favourite movies can be a good activity for mummas who are on bed rest or are just feeling tired and ready to get off their feet.
- Planning your baby moon is a fun and romantic way to reconnect with your significant other before the baby comes.
- Prenatal yoga classes are great for both you and your partner when preparing for birth.
Couples yoga classes are offered not only to help your body strengthen essential baby birthing muscles, they also help find some great movements to try during labour — when your movin’ and groovin’ your baby out.
There are some good prenatal classes offered by virtual doulas that you could try.
No matter what activity you choose, the important thing is that you spend time together and strengthen your connection.
A positive relationship with your partner can make all the difference in your birth experience.
When you have a strong bond with your partner, you can rely on them for support during labour and delivery.
Plus, when you feel loved and supported, you’re more likely to feel calm and confident during birth.
So, take the time to nurture your relationship with your significant other.
Remember, a happy mumma equals a happy baby!
Hire a doula to support you emotionally, physically, and informationally
The world of doulas might be new to some of you. So let’s start with the basics.
A doula is a trained professional who provides emotional, physical, and informational support to a mother and their partner during pregnancy, labour, and postpartum.
There are different types of doulas you can choose from:
- Pregnancy doulas who help you prepare for labour and birth.
- Birth and labour doulas who support you during labour and delivery.
- Postpartum doulas who help you adjust to life with a newborn.
- Virtual doulas who offer their services online.
Doulas don’t provide medical care, but they can offer practical support, answer questions, and advocate for you during your birthing experience.
Having a doula by your side during birth can have numerous benefits.
Studies show that women who have doulas present during birth experience fewer interventions, including c-sections and epidurals, and are more likely to have a positive birth experience.
Doulas can also provide emotional support, helping you feel more confident and empowered during the birthing process.
A doula can help you create a birth plan, offer suggestions for natural forms of pain management, provide massages and other comfort measures, and act as a liaison between you and medical staff.
They also provide support to your partner and help them get more involved during the birth.
If you’re interested in hiring a doula, there are several ways to find one.
You can start by checking out doula directories online, looking at Instagram pages or websites of doulas in your area, or asking friends and family members for recommendations.
When you’ve found a few potential doulas, arrange to meet them at your local coffee shop, take the time to talk to them, and ask questions to make sure they are the right fit for you.
Make sure to choose someone who you feel comfortable with and who shares your values and birthing preferences.
It’s important to hire a doula early in your pregnancy, as many doulas can fill up their schedules quickly.
Remember, having a doula by your side during birth can help you feel more supported and empowered, leading to a more positive birthing experience.
In order to have the birth that you’ve planned for, or as close to that as possible, you must be able to advocate for yourself during pregnancy, birth and also after birth.
This means asking questions, doing your own research, and speaking up for what YOU want.
I know, it can be confronting to speak up to someone who is thought to be a professional in this area.
BUT in fact, no one knows your body and your baby like you do.
Follow your feeling when making decisions, and 9 times out of 10, you’ll be right.
Don’t be afraid to express your preferences to your healthcare provider and ask them to explain things in detail.
Remember that you are the one giving birth, and you have the right to make informed decisions about your own body and your baby.
This is where having a doula by your side can be an invaluable resource when it comes to advocating for YOU.
They can help you ask the right questions and communicate your preferences to your healthcare provider.
A doula can also be the perfect middleman in the hospital, helping you navigate conversations with healthcare providers and ensuring that you’re fully informed and in control of YOUR birth experience.
You got this!
Preparing for birth doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task.
By following these 7 easy and effective ways to prepare for birth, you will be sure to have an amazing experience and journey.
From creating a birth plan that matches your wishes to hiring a doula for emotional and physical support, there are many ways to ensure you feel confident and informed during labour and delivery.
Taking the time to sleep, eat well and bond with your significant other can also help reduce anxiety and increase satisfaction.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and advocate for yourself, as this can lead to a more positive and empowering birth experience.
Remember, you got this!