Congratulations on the big news of your pregnancy. Having a baby is the most fulfilling experience in life. From hearing your little one’s heartbeat to feeling them flutter inside of you, a lot of joy awaits you.
But new motherhood comes with a lot of responsibilities and some apprehension. No matter how much you read or prepare, giving birth remains unpredictable.
One thought that causes the most anxiety to moms-to-be is the delivery process. While it varies from case to case and preferences play a role, most women wish to give birth naturally.
So, if you too are hoping for an uncomplicated and normal delivery, here are a few tips that may help:
Educate Yourself to Avoid Stress Later
According to research, women with prenatal anxiety and depression are more likely to have a cesarean section. Therefore, you must keep the stressors at bay throughout your journey. A fool-proof way of staying calm is by educating yourself about the possible risks and complications.
Understand the Types of Birth Injuries
It’s not a pleasant thought, but you must know the different types of birth injuries and their causes. This way, you can take the necessary steps to reduce their chances. Since some birth injuries occur due to medical negligence, you must know where to seek help. Birth Injury Justice Center, for instance, offers help and legal guidance to victims of medical malpractice.
Learn About the Different Stages of Labor and Delivery
To be well-prepared, you must learn about the stages of labor and delivery. What factors can cause a baby to get stuck in the birth canal? How long do contractions usually last during each stage of labor? What should you expect after delivery? Answering such questions will help you better understand the process, which should put your mind at ease.
Attend Prenatal Classes
Attending prenatal classes is the best way to answer all the questions mentioned above. Here you will learn about various birthing techniques and breathing exercises that can help you during labor. You will also learn about the different postpartum situations and how best to deal with them. Armed with the right knowledge and skill set, you will feel relaxed and confident when the time comes.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Birthing a baby requires excellent physical and mental strength. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Follow our best tips below to stay on top of your health game:
Avoid Alcohol and Cigarettes
Drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes can cause serious pregnancy complications and may lead to a higher risk of premature delivery. Stillbirths, low birth weight, and developmental disabilities are a few serious risks associated with smoking and drinking during pregnancy. Your doctor must perform a cesarean section (C-section) if the baby’s lungs are not mature enough for normal delivery.
Pregnancy doesn’t earn you a ticket to be absolved from physical activity. Exercise can enhance your stamina and help strengthen the muscles you’ll need to push during labor. For instance, Kegels can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which can shorten the duration of labor. And if you regularly do squats, you can help your baby move into the correct position for delivery. However, before you start, get a green signal from your healthcare provider.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Maintaining proper nutrition is very important for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Eating various vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins can give you the nutrients for safe delivery. Also, iron-rich spinach, salmon, and walnuts are especially beneficial.
Consider Natural Labor Induction Methods
Going overdue can put you at risk of having a C-section. However, specific natural methods can help speed up the process. Your midwife can advise you on the best labor-inducing practices according to your case. But here are a few ways you can consider:
Acupuncture or Acupressure
Both techniques are safe during pregnancy and can help with labor induction.
Acupressure involves applying pressure on specific points in the body that are connected to labor contractions.
Acupuncture is performed by inserting thin needles into specific points in the body to improve energy flow. It’ll also help reduce stress and anxiety.
Stimulating nipples releases oxytocin. It will help with contractions and labor. To correctly stimulate your nipples, try and mimic a baby’s latch as closely as possible. Most women use fingers for the process, but you can also use a breast pump. Aim for 10-15 minutes of stimulation on each side several times throughout the day. You can use lubrication.
Your healthcare provider can do this procedure to help stimulate labor. It involves a doctor or midwife gently separating the amniotic sac from the uterus wall. It releases prostaglandins which help with contractions and often help start labor within 48 hours of the procedure.
It’s important to note that membrane stripping isn’t suitable for everyone and should only be done if the baby is full-term.
Use Comfort Measures During Labor
Sometimes, labor stops or slows down due to stress, fatigue, or lack of support. It can lead to an emergency C-section. You can use a few comfort measures during labor to help with the pain and discomfort.
Hydrotherapy, or using water to reduce labor pain, can be a great way to relax during labor and encourage it to progress. It involves soaking in warm water (in a bathtub or pool) to help relax and reduce pain. Moving around and changing positions in the water can also help you to cope better with labor pain.
Massage and Heat Therapy
Massage therapy can help reduce labor pain and discomfort. A partner or doula can massage different parts of your body during labor, such as the lower back, hips, and abdomen. Heat therapy can also help relax the muscles and reduce labor pain. It can be done by applying a warm compress or heat pack to the lower back or abdomen.
The position of your body can make a big difference in the length and intensity of your contractions. It’s essential to move around during labor and change positions often to reduce pain and make labor more manageable. Try positions such as kneeling, sitting, standing, or side-lying to find the most comfortable one.
Labor is a unique experience, and every woman’s labor is different. Being proactive and adjusting to your lifestyle during pregnancy can increase your chances of having a normal delivery. Try to keep stress levels low and make sure you’re getting adequate rest. You’ll soon have your little bundle of joy cooing in your arms. Good luck!