You’re still in the early stages of pregnancy but labor and delivery are probably already weighing on your mind. Between the horror stories you’ve heard from friends and family and the stuff that you’ve read in books, you may not be sure what to think of it all, and you might even be a little scared.
When you’re preparing for childbirth, you can’t just take some classes and show up, you’ve really got to get ready for this. It’s going to be the hardest thing you’ll ever do and the most challenging physical task of your life.
5 tips for an easier delivery
While it isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, you can help make it easier on yourself by following some of these surprising tips:
Sleep: Be sure that you’re getting enough sleep during the last month of your pregnancy. Resting for at least seven hours each night during those last four weeks may make labor less intense and decrease the chances that you’ll need a Cesarean section. Of course, you’re going to be feeling pretty big by this time, so do what you can to make yourself as comfortable as possible. This includes using body pillows, sleeping in a recliner if you’re having trouble with heartburn and even kicking your partner out of bed if you really need to.
Strengthen your legs: If you have an option when it comes to delivery, you may want to stand up. A study found that an upright position during birth allows gravity to help move the baby along and shorten labor by up to an hour (which is a long time when we’re talking about giving birth). But in order to stand up while giving birth, you’re going to need strong legs. You should practice squats by putting an exercise ball between your lower back and the wall. Be sure to walk your feet out as far as you can and do three sets of 15 squats every day.
Take a class: There are different stages of labor and delivery, so taking a childbirth class can help significantly with your pregnancy know-how. It’s probably also something that your health care provider will recommend you do as well. When you’re familiar with each of these stages, you might feel less anxious about the big day, and in turn, make labor easier on you.
Find support: Although your partner will be by your side while you’re in labor, you may want to consider hiring a doula. Despite the support your know your partner can provide, they’re also going to be a little anxious and not really know what to expect out of this event. A doula will be there to give you emotional support as you’re pushing. What’s more, a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that a woman is 50 percent less likely to need a C-section and 30 percent less likely to need pain medication alongside the expertise of a doula.
Don’t lie down: While you still can, be up and moving as much as possible during labor. This means getting in the shower, going for a walk down the hallway or gently bouncing on an exercise ball. When you’re staying upright, gravity can do a lot of work when it comes to getting the baby down and making labor shorter for you. Changing your positions can also help lessen the pain that you’re feeling if it’s still too early for an epidural, or if you opting out of pain medication altogether.
How are you planning for an easier delivery? Share in the comments below!
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