If you’re feeling a bit anxious about giving birth, there are things you can do that may help.Here’s some helpful advice from mums who’ve been there.
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1. Empower yourself
Every woman is different. Our bodies are different, our babies are different and no 2 births are the same.
That’s why it’s useful to find out more about labour and birth.Understanding more about your options, and the pros and cons of each, can help you feel more confident in making decisions about how you want to deliver yourbaby.
You can also talk to your midwife or Doctor if there is anythingyou’re particularly concerned about. They will answer any questions you haveand explain what can be done to deliver your baby safely in every possible scenario.
You may also find antenatal classes helpful.Ask your midwife or Doctor .
It's fine to go to morethan 1 type of class if you want to. You may also be able to have a look around the birthing facilities at your hospital. This may help you decide where youwant to give birth and picture how things may be on the day.
2. Prepare your mind
Try not to listen to horror stories about labour as these arereally unhelpful if you’re feeling nervous. Try to remember that for every badexperience, there is a mum out there with a positive story to tell.
This can be hard, especially if you’ve had a bad experienceyourself. But try to think positively as much as possible. Lots of mums tell us it really helps to have a positive outlook.
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3. Prepare your body
Labour often requires strength and stamina, so it’s important toprepare your body for it. Exercise during pregnancy can also be a greatway to de-stress.
You could try finding out about antenatal exercise classes near you. For example, a pregnancy yoga class can bereally helpful.
It will help you get your baby in a good position for birth, teach you positions to help you through labour, and provide some relaxation and breathing techniques to help you stay calm. Any type of exercise is goodthough. If you don’t have the time or money to join a class, just going for awalk in the park will be beneficial.
4. Practice relaxation techniques
Using breathing techniques can help calm your nerves (before and after labour) and control the pain. You can practice all the way through pregnancy to ensure you’re comfortable using them when labour starts.
Meditation and visualization can help you relax through pregnancy and during labour. Even if your labour doesn’t go the way you plannedyou may still be able to use the techniques you’ve learned.
Complementary therapies, such as acupuncture may also help you relax. Just make sure your acupuncturist is fully qualified and that they usedisposable needles at every treatment session. Tell your practitioner that you’re pregnant too, because certain acupuncture points can’t be used safely inpregnancy.
Some mums have found hypnobirthing useful.
5. Think about your birth plan
A birth plan can be a useful way of communicatingall your wishes, concerns and choices quickly and effectively, particularlywhen you move to active labour and may not want to (or be able to) have longdiscussions with your midwife, or if there’s a staff change. Just remember thatlabour doesn’t always go to plan on the day, so you may have to be a littleflexible.
If you’re concerned about giving birth again, it might help totalk about what happened first time round.
Most hospitals have a service for mums who would like to talkabout their experience giving birth. It might be known as a birth reflections or birth after thoughts service. Going over your birth experience with a midwife– however long after you gave birth – can help you make sense of what happened and perhaps help you cope with any anxieties about doing it again.
Go over your labour notes
Talk through your labour notes indetail with a medical professional, like your midwife or Doctor . This will help you fill in any gaps in your memory, ask questions about why things happened the way they did and give you a chance to think about what you’d like to do differently.
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