At many stages of pregnancy, a woman’s thoughts will turn to childbirth.
With all birth plans encouraging moms-to-be and indeed parents to get such plans onto paper, it’s a good idea to have some preparation for your big arrival ahead of time.
For this reason, the discussion of prepared childbirth is one that many a midwife and antenatal classes will work to help you with during your pregnancy.
Though labor and delivery may not always run exactly to plan, putting in some groundwork beforehand can help significantly in ensuring you work towards the type of childbirth that you prefer.
When Do I Need To Start Preparing For Childbirth?
Thought the exact time for preparing varies and is a most personal choice between moms-to-be, it’s strongly suggested that you begin getting your thoughts down on paper around the time of your baby classes.
This is around the 30th to 32nd-week mark and perhaps offers greater scope for you to discover the many types of birthing choices available, alongside delivery methods and, of course, pain relief methods.
Up until this point, you may well have been reading up on such topics or even watching several videos, programs, and online accounts to get a general idea of what to expect.
Yet, by the time you’re ready to start with parenting classes in person, or even antenatal classes online, your pregnancy will be well established. You’ll also be able to bring all these ideas to the table and get to work on completing that birthing plan to near completion at this stage.
What is Most Essential in Preparing For Childbirth?
The most important item that you’ll need above all else when preparing for childbirth is a birth plan.
Referred to as the mom-to-be bible by many women and indeed professionals, it is this document that you will start to look at in the early stages of your pregnancy.
Then, by the time you get into the more advanced stages, it will be this document where you write all your plans, instructions, methods, and potential changes.
The idea of a birthing plan is to not just to help you prepare as best as possible for your big day – but ultimately to inform those medical professionals around you of your wishes. It is also an excellent tool for your partner to work through and support you as much as they can during the labor and delivery process.
Some women rely extensively on this birth plan when the person that they are taking into the delivery room is not their immediate partner. Many moms-to-be like to utilize the help of a Doula or birthing coach, for example.
If the person at your side is not overly well-known to you, it makes it all the more important to ensure that the lines of communication are kept open here and that everything you want to express to them is written down beforehand.
What Essential Items Do You Include in a Birth Plan When Preparing for Childbirth?
Where you want to give birth – This could be in a hospital, in a specialized birthing center, or a specific midwifery unit. You may want to give birth at home if circumstances permit. Yet, you may not be entirely sure where you want to give birth just yet. Whatever your thoughts, include them and potentially any back-up plan you would be willing to accept should complications arise, and you can’t access your first choice.
Who you want to have at your side or in the room during childbirth – Thought most assume Dad is a natural choice here, you may also wish to consider other companions that can join you when you are admitted to the labor room. This could be in the form of a family member or close friend or even a birthing coach or Doula. This is the place to note how active your birthing companion will be. Also, if you already know you are having a c-section, or it becomes the only method, note who you would like to accompany you here.
What type of delivery you want – This can mean a natural birth or C-section alongside what method you’re willing to consider should the need arise to get your baby out quickly. Many women look to the subject of forceps or vacuum delivery here and also find whether they want their companion present with them during such a tense time.
What birthing equipment you would like to be able to use – It’s advisable to plan for the potential use of equipment some time before childbirth. This is because it may not be available where you intend to give birth, or it may require you to book it in advance. You may want to consider hiring or purchasing your own to take and use during the birthing process instead. Make a note of what equipment types you’d be interested in investigating here, for example, birthing balls, mats, and wall bars to start.
How active you want to remain during labor – Those women who remain active for longer throughout labor find it keeps them comfortable for as long as possible. Consider how active you want to be during the labor stage and how you would like to be able to move around, that is in the room or outside of the room, where possible. The potential positioning both during contractions and indeed when giving birth should also be noted here.
What pain relief you want to have access to during labor – With help in the form of massage, acupuncture, TENS machine, gas and air, injections, epidurals, and other types, it’s essential to make a note of your preferences. It also makes sense to prepare yourself for a back-up plan; should you need to change your mind throughout labor.
Other stuff to begin preparing yourself for before childbirth includes skin to skin contact immediately after birth, a potential episiotomy, whether you are willing to allow trainee midwives, nurses or doctors into the room, what you want to happen to your placenta, and how you intend to feed your baby straight after delivery.
Other Crucial Ways to Prepare For Childbirth
Alongside completing a good birth plan, there are also several other easy ways you can work towards preparing for your impending delivery. These include:
- Eating healthy
- Exercising regularly
- Pampering yourself regularly!
- Relaxing daily
- Improving breathing techniques
- Taking part in pregnancy yoga
- Making sure you get a good amount of sleep -regularly
- Remaining as calm as possible throughout the entire nine months!