Many mums ask me is there any way to predict when their labour will start and my answer is no; we don’t fully understand what triggers the onset of labour and there is no way to predict exactly when it is going to start. Pregnancy is an exciting time but many mums worry about how they will cope with labour and delivery of their baby. While it is all very daunting, childbirth can be a wonderful experience when you approach it with a positive mind set. My best advice is to prepare for labour, delivery, practice you breathing and relaxation through your antenatal classes.
Here are the top ten for a great labour:
- Decide your birth preferences
Once you have completed your antenatal classes, completing your birth preferences helps you prepare for labour. While you cannot plan the event you can still have some ideas as to how you would like your experience to be. Discuss it with your partner, he might like to cut the cord or he might like to announce if it is a boy or a girl.
Take lots of rests in the last couple of weeks, don’t be tempted to go for long walks, too much exercise will exhaust you and you need to mind all your energy for your labour and birth of your baby.
- Stay Positive
Everyone experiences their own labour and delivery and no two people have the same experiences. So stay positive and don’t listen to other peoples stories unless they have a positive story to tell you.
- Snacking is good
Towards the end of pregnancy it is difficult to eat, please make sure you eat small portions often. First time labours can be long so it is important that you have plenty of energy stored for the event.
- View your contractions in a positive way
Look at your contractions in a positive way remembering that each contraction is bringing you closer to your baby.
- Remain Upright
Remain upright for as long as you can during labour as this gives baby more space, less pressure on your pelvic joints therefore less pain. Try practicing the positions demonstrated by Joanne the chartered Physiotherapist at www.antenatalonline.ie.
- Take a Bath
In early labour use the bath to relax in as water is a good form of natural pain relief. Remember your breathing throughout labour; practicing your breathing everyday in the run up really helps.
- Listen to your body
Your labour will determine what type of pain relief you will use and no one knows how they will cope until the day. If you opt for injection of Pethidine or an epidural, then that is what is best for you so don’t beat yourself up thinking you have failed. You have not!
- Keep your partner informed
Prepare for labour with your partner so that he knows your concerns and wishes; if you don’t feel able to express how you are feeling or not clear on what is happening or being said, your partner can help by asking for you.
- Believe in yourself
Finally, believe in yourself; women have been giving birth for a long time and if they can do it, so can you. Your antenatal classes will help you understand your body and what is happening during labour and delivery. They will help dispel some of the fear you may have around labour. Labour is an empowering experience and once you have baby in your arms you will realise it was worth it.
Good luck and remember you can do it!
Jo Scobie, a Longford native, has over 29 years experiences as a midwife in both Scotland and Ireland. Jo is the founder/director of www.antenatalonline.ie . Antenatal Online provides antenatal classes, information, help and advice for all prospective parents, delivered at a time convenient for you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.