Easing Labor Anxiety
There’s no doubt that one of the biggest worries in your head is that of how labor will be, especially for first time moms. After all, it’s not called ‘labor’ for nothing, but always keep in mind it is a labor of love, and once you’re holding that little bundle of joy, you’ll be glad you endured it. However, it doesn’t hurt to prepare yourself for that trying time with the following steps.
Increase your knowledge
It is a great idea for you and your partner to enroll in a child birthing class. Check with your hospital and search locally to see what your options are. If this is not an option for you (and even if it is), it is a good idea to arm yourself with knowledge of how to make labor easier. The internet is a great place to start (as you obviously know, since you’re reading this article), there are many websites full of useful information. Try sites such as parents.com, babycenter.com, and thebump.com. There are many great books full of information out there as well, try browsing through your local bookstore for help. It might also help to converse with other moms and learn about their experiences, however, make sure they don’t burden you with horror stories from their labor, as that is the last thing you need at this time!
Make a birth plan
It is also a good idea to create and finalize your birth plan, a best-of-circumstances outline of your preferences during labor, delivery, and the rest of the time spent in the hospital. Spend some time thinking about what you want as far as pain management, who you want in the room with you, the actual delivery processes, rooming-in options, etc, and type up an outline of it. Make sure you are clear that you understand that things may happen beyond your control which may make some of your preferences impossible. By telling them you are flexible the hospital staff will hopefully be more understanding of your needs. Discuss your birth plan with your doctor and partner and have them sign it as well as you, and make a few copies of it: one for your doctor, one for you, and a couple others to give to the hospital staff that is there when you are in labor.
Know real labor
Make sure you are well educated on the difference between false labor and actual labor. Nothing is more stressful and disappointing then rushing to the hospital thinking “it’s time!” only to be sent home from the emergency room. Important points to remember: false contractions are irregular and can usually be quelled by changing position or walking around, and they are usually not painful. It’s a good idea to head to the hospital if your contractions are painful and occur five minutes apart consistently for one hour.
Prepare your body
Now is a good time to try and prepare your body for labor. Research and practice meditation techniques, for now and when you go into labor. Even if you plan on medication for pain management, meditation and deep breathing techniques can help in the early labor stages, as well as help you manage your anxiety and stress levels now (feeling extra stressed? Try finding a quiet place to practice deep breathing for a few minutes. It can make a world of difference). Practicing Kegals now can help your vagina prepare for the tough job of delivering your baby, as well as help it return to its pre-pregnancy size. Also doing butterfly stretches and prenatal yoga at night can help your body prepare for labor.
Finalize your plans
Remember, after week 36 the baby is considered full term, so it’s best to be ready for the hospital trip at any time—have a bag packed for you and your hospital partner with extra outfits, pjs, and toiletries, ready to be grabbed on a moment’s notice, and plan ahead for the big day: work out who is driving you to the hospital(and who is ‘plan B’), and make sure you have all the phone numbers you need saved in your phone.
Being prepared ahead of time can definitely help ease your anxiety toward the big day, and hopefully make things progress smoother. Labor might be one of the toughest things you will ever go through, but it will also yield the greatest reward: your baby.