For first time moms, labor and delivery is, no doubt, constantly on your mind. This is understandable considering your body is about to go through mind-boggling stages to give birth. Women have endured natural childbirth since the dawn of time. Nowadays, the technology used to ease the process is quite astounding. One such technological advancement is the ability for doctors to provide a cesarean section (C-section) in order to deliver a baby if there are complications with the mother, child, or the birth process.
Whether you are going to give birth naturally or through a c-section, there are things you can do to mentally and physically prepare for labor so you can stay strong in the delivery room. Sometimes, the mental preparation is more important than the physical preparation. You’ll hear mothers say it is a “mind over body” experience. So, whether it’s your first time having a baby or your second and so on, here are some ways to become stronger for labor.
10 Practice Your Breathing Technique
When the baby comes and you’re in the hospital, the nurses and doctors will tell you to breathe to help push the baby out. But it can be very helpful if you know what to do ahead of time, especially if it is your first time giving birth.
Focused breathing is very important when in labor. It will help you manage the sensations of pain, as well as help control the core and pelvic muscles so they can generate strength when needed, or relax when they should rest.
Focused breathing involves more thought than just taking deep breaths in and out. Well before your due date, practice focused breathing by following these steps:
- Inhale. Think about air filling your lungs and opening up your rib cage and belly. Try to inhale slowly.
- Exhale. Think about sending your breath down your body. Blow your breath down instead of out. Blow down through your diaphragm toward your pelvis.
If you can master focused breathing before the delivery of your baby, your body will be stronger and your breathing will become a helpful coping mechanism.
9 Work Your Core and Pelvis
Your core and pelvic muscles are the key muscles that will get you through your labor. It’s important to work them out and stretch them while you are pregnant. Women who’ve had easier and less complicated labors have attributed it to having strong core and pelvic muscles.
There are a variety of workouts and stretches you can do while you are pregnant that are safe, and will help build the core and pelvic muscles. You can find some great prenatal workouts at Fit Pregnancy. These exercises will build the muscles that will help you and your baby during labor.
8 Prenatal Meditation
Meditation clears your mind and helps focus your energy. Meditation has become a trending activity for people in North America, but it has been a long-practiced activity for people in other countries. Meditation is part of a mind over body technique that helps people calm their minds, relax, and allow them to just be still and let their bodies repair themselves.
For a pregnant woman, practicing meditation and clearing your mind can help to overcome some of the pain and ease you through the process. This may not completely mask the pain, but if you know how to stay calm and focus your energy, it will help greatly. Try sitting and clearing your mind once a day or even once a week, if that’s all the time you can afford. Meditation can help you tune into with your body, and also your baby.
7 Prenatal Yoga
You can find prenatal yoga classes at your local yoga studio. It is becoming a popular way for pregnant women to stay fit and flexible during their pregnancy. Prenatal yoga is taught by a yoga instructor who has modified poses in order to accommodate varying stages of pregnancy for women. They can even teach you some of the breathing techniques mentioned above.
6 Get Your Beauty Sleep
When you are pregnant, there are so many changes happening, especially in the first stages. This can include morning sickness, and bladder pressure, which can make it hard to get a proper shut eye. Insomnia also affects many pregnant women, but getting the rest you need is important to keep your body energized up in the days leading up to labor and delivery.
If you are having trouble sleeping while you are pregnant, here are some tips on getting stronger for labor with sleep:
- Keep the room dark
- Keep a journal and pen by the bed
- Invite downtime
- Establish a firm bedtime routine
- Adjust the room temperature in the bedroom
- Eat lighter meals before bed
5 Stay Hydrated
It’s important for everyone to stay hydrated; it’s especially important for pregnant women. Staying hydrated is key to your baby’s development, but it is also key for your body so it stays healthy for labor. In the last month before you give birth, bring a water bottle with you everywhere you go and drink lots. Your body will thank you for it when you are in the delivery room because hydration gives your body the energy it needs to push the baby out.
4 Eat Well and Eat Lots
It is always important to consult with your doctor or midwife on your eating habits. Eating nutritionally-rich foods are important to keep your body strong for labor. Try to control your cravings for sweet and salty foods that are unhealthy, such as ice cream and potato chips, especially the weeks leading up to delivery. Sometimes, they are hard to resist, but these types of foods will not be helpful when you go into labor. They won’t provide the energy and nutrition you need to push the baby out.
3 Communicate With Your Partner
When you’re pregnant, your partner isn’t always going to know what’s going on. You will need some communication in order to help you more, and also get ready to help you when you’re about to go into labor. If you usually bottle things up and lash out later, there is no better time to work on your communication in order to make your relationship stronger.
This will eventually allow your partner to help support you in being strong through those labor pains, too. And once the baby comes, you’ll want to have your communication skills nailed down as a couple because your attention will be on the new addition.
2 Take Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins have been a big game changer for women, and they can be very helpful before and during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you feel like you’re not getting the vitamins and nutrients you need through your food consumption. Vitamins are helpful, and they will ensure you get what you need for the development of the baby. These vitamins have folic acid, which helps prevent neural tube defects, and also iron, which will support you and the baby.
1 Keep Moving
If you’re working at a desk job while you are pregnant, you can be stuck at a computer all day. If you need to let your boss know that you need to walk around every once in a while, do so. It’s important to get up and move around when you are pregnant. Getting your blood flowing is important for your baby’s development, but also for you so your muscles don’t tighten up. You’ll need to keep your muscles and joints limber for when you go into labor.