Now that the initial excitement of being pregnant and wanting to welcome your new baby into the world has subsided, you may be experiencing that next common pregnant emotion of fear. Fear of just how the baby is going to come out. This fear happens to new moms and experienced moms, as every labor and delivery experience is different. You can conquer this fear and take steps throughout your pregnancy to increase the chances that your labor will be easy and a positive experience.
Learning what to expect from labor and delivery helps moms to feel more comfortable with the process, which can lower stress levels during labor. Labor and delivery classes teach moms and their chosen coaches about the different stages of labor, measuring contractions, pain medication options and pain relief positions and exercises. The class setting also allows moms to talk with an experienced instructor and other moms, who will help ease fears and give accurate and knowledgeable information.
Prenatal Fitness Programs
You will be using many muscles you never knew you had pushing that baby out. Keeping fit will help strengthen your muscles, making it easier to deliver your baby. Taking a prenatal water aerobics class, yoga or other fitness program designed for pregnancy will help you focus on the specific muscle groups used for labor and deliver. Although the American Pregnancy Association states that any physical activity helps ease labor. Speak with your doctor before starting any fitness program in pregnancy. Most prenatal classes will require a statement from your doctor that it is safe for you to participate.
Even if due to pregnancy complications you cannot participate in a fitness program, your doctor is likely to recommend that you do Kegel exercises. These exercises work the pelvic, vagina and bladder control muscles all used during pushing. You can do these exercises anytime by pretending to hold your urine for several seconds. Not only do these exercises help ease labor, it will help you heal and regain any loss of bladder control after labor.
Hire a Doula
A doula is a professional birthing coach who not only eases a woman’s tension during labor, but research shows that a doula’s help actually does make labor easier. The American Pregnancy Association reports that multiple studies have shown that women coached by a doula are less likely to use pain medication or have a C-section and the length of the labor decreases by an average of 25 percent. Many soon-to-be moms familiar with doulas are hesitant to hire one because of a belief that doulas only support natural and medication-free childbirth. This is not that case. A good doula is there to support the mom through any labor and delivery and supports the choices of the mother.
Staying within your doctor’s recommendations for how much weight to gain during pregnancy will make labor easier. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, too much weight gained during pregnancy increases the chances of having a difficult labor. Most women, starting at a healthy weight before pregnancy, need to gain 25 to 35 lbs. throughout the pregnancy.