Learn How to Prepare for Labor and Have a Great Delivery

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Author Name: Beth Rush
Date: Friday March 1, 2024

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People spend a great deal of their pregnancies preparing to give birth. It’s a significant medical event and the memory you’ll tell your child when they want to hear how they came into the world. Give yourself some peace of mind by learning how to prepare for labor, no matter what you have in mind. You’ll feel more prepared and at ease when the time comes.

1. Sign Up for a Birthing Class

You can imagine giving birth all you want, but nothing compares to hearing about it from expert sources. See if there are any local birthing classes you could take by yourself, with a partner or with a friend. An instructor will guide the room through each step of a stereotypical birthing experience.

You’ll learn the various stages of labor, including your water breaking and contraction cycles. Everyone studies things like pain reduction techniques, birthing positions and even tips on how to care for a newborn baby. They’re worth the time if you can find one close to home before your due date.

A man and a woman stand underneath tall green trees in early autumn. Slightly yellow leaves cover the nature trail behind them. The woman wears a black wide-rimmed hat and a purple shirt. The man wears an orange wide-rimmed hat, a white collared shirt, a light blue suit jacket and white pants. The woman is pregnant. They hold a baby's onesie between them and smile as they look at each other - how to prepare for labor

2. Discuss Details With Your Birthing Partner

You likely want someone by your side when you’re giving birth. Whether they’re your romantic partner, best friend or family member, your birthing partner will need to know how to support you. You might be in too much pain to give specific instructions, so discuss the details before your water breaks.

They should know where to access your birthing playlist if you make one or use your favorite insulated mug to hold ice chips. Reviewing tiny details like these by making a list might seem strange at first, but it’s a great way to prepare for labor and keep your birthing partner updated.

3. Connect With Your Doctor

Your OB-GYN will help you throughout your pregnancy, but they don’t typically leave time to create a birthing plan with their patients. Bring your list of wants and needs to your next appointment to review it together.

They should know what you do and don’t want to experience. You might not prefer to be part of the 32.1% of people who give birth by undergoing a Cesarean section (C-section). Some expecting parents prefer all-natural pain relief options, epidurals or specific positions to aid their comfort during contractions.

Remember to write your birth plan down digitally and on paper so there are multiple copies. You wouldn’t want to lose the single copy before your due date arrives and have to recall it all from memory for your birthing team.

4. Eat Healthy Foods

Nutrition is crucial during pregnancy, even up to the point of labor. Your body needs the strength and energy to undergo the birthing process. Your doctor will likely discuss prenatal vitamins you can take during each trimester but don’t forget to snack on healthy foods before your due date. 

Whole foods and less processed ingredients could stabilize your blood pressure, which becomes a tricky issue for many pregnant people. Nutrients will also boost your immune system and energize your muscles for contractions. Consider enjoying things like individual packs of nuts or baggies of chickpeas to get more vitamins, proteins, minerals and natural fatty acids that help your body thrive.

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5. Enjoy Gentle Cardio

Exercise is another way to prepare for labor. Your muscles will be working overtime no matter how you give birth. Contractions require lots of strength and energy. Add some gentle cardio to your weekly routine so your body is ready when your water breaks.

Walking on a treadmill, participating in gentle dance classes or getting on an elliptical machine are just a few ways to get your heart rate up without pushing yourself too hard. Your doctor can also recommend specific exercises as your pregnancy progresses. Your belly might get too big for some workouts as your second trimester turns into your third.

6. Find Relaxing Resources

People can’t completely relax after they go into labor because the contractions intensify, but you can spend your pregnancy exploring the best ways to calm your anxiety. You’ll have more control over your thoughts so your energy stays focused on your body’s needs.

Practice meditating along with YouTube videos to get used to controlling your thoughts. It’s an easy routine that only takes a few minutes but is entirely effective for stress and anxiety.

You might also enjoy noise-canceling headphones before and during the early parts of your labor. The sounds of a hospital can increase a person’s baseline anxiety. If you wear headphones and listen to calming music, you can feel more comfortable as you wait for your cervix to dilate. 

7. Get Your Hospital Bag Together

When your water breaks, you never know what your mindset will be. You could be calm and ready to go or rushing around with excited, distracted thoughts. No matter how you react, getting in touch with your doctor or midwife will be much easier if you don’t have to worry about getting your go-bag together.

Prepare a hospital stay bag with everything you need if you’ll give birth away from home. It would include essentials to keep you comfortable, such as:

  • Bathroom toiletries
  • A phone charger cord
  • A bathrobe
  • Comfortable postpartum clothes
  • A fan, if you prefer sleeping with a fan

As you get within a few weeks or days of your due date, you could also add pre-packaged snacks so you have a tasty treat to enjoy after meeting your baby. Your birthing partner can help brainstorm go-bag ideas if you feel lost.

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8. Nest for Your Needs

People think nesting is just preparing your home for your baby. Although that’s essential, nesting also involves getting your living space ready for your post-labor needs. Giving birth may be less stressful if you know you have everything you need to recover.

Consider doing things like stocking up on non-perishable groceries, freezing casserole meals and keeping a few clean outfits ready in your closet to postpone your laundry routine when you’re closer to your due date. Getting extra household supplies like paper towels and refilling your prescriptions can also make life easier. Ask your loved ones to help stock up if you need assistance getting to different stores for your various nesting purchases.

Learn How to Prepare for Labor

Once you know how to prepare for labor, you can look forward to the most stress-free experience possible. You’ll know your mind, body and household are ready to meet your baby. As your due date gets closer, you can devote more energy to enjoying things like your baby shower and decorating your future child’s nursery.

Updated on March 1, 2024

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