Preparing for childbirth is the responsible task of every expectant mother, requiring her to be treated as seriously as possible. In most cases, women in position believe that preparing for childbirth means buying everything for the baby. At best, they will read several books on pregnancy, where information about childbirth will be considered inadequate. As a result, the begun labor activity will take such a woman by surprise, she will be completely unprepared for her.
The most difficult for the expectant mother are the last months of pregnancy. It would seem that everything has already been prepared for the baby – and the bed, and the stroller, and new clothes, but the time seemed to stop and drag on painfully long. It is then useful to take advantage of this pause and fill your free time with real preparation for childbirth.
How to prepare for childbirth?
Here we need work in different directions. It is important to be prepared both physically and psychologically.
Strong and developed abdominal and perineal muscles are not yet a guarantee of success in labor. It is also important that a woman has an idea of how to prepare for childbirth mentally. The expectant mother should know what will happen to her during the birth, and clearly understand that her behavior, the ability to breathe and relax properly have a direct impact on both the contractions and pain, and on the well-being of the baby.
Many women are afraid of childbirth. Those who give birth for the first time are afraid of pain, and multiparous – of failure. Psychological preparation for childbirth will help to avoid many fears. Experts have proved that women who have undergone psychoprophylactic preparation for childbirth tolerate contractions and attempts, and the condition of their babies after birth is much better than untrained women.
Factors that hinder moral preparation for childbirth:
- Emotional lability associated primarily with constant changes in hormonal levels.
- Reassessment of existing values: future mother’s perception of a new status – motherhood and the responsibility associated with this.
- Fear, uncertainty: phobias and fear of childbirth appear due to a woman’s lack of awareness of the nuances of the birth process, about the intricacies of caring for a baby. Also, fear can arise due to insecurity in one’s own abilities to cope with birth pain and fears in the doctor’s insufficient competence.
In order to maintain a psychological and emotional balance, take a sober look at things, adequately respond to changing conditions (for example, increasing contractions, and with them pain) and draw real conclusions, it is important to know in advance how to prepare for childbirth psychologically.
So, that can help overcome the existing psychological problems during pregnancy and prepare the expectant mother for childbirth from a psychological point of view:
- Group communication. Successfully dispelling the myths of pregnancy and childbirth, as well as having a great time, will benefit from attending childbirth preparation courses. The specialization of schools for preparing for childbirth is actually different, for example: courses for preparing for home childbirth, partner, childbirth without drug anesthesia, in water, etc. First of all, you need to determine the orientation of the courses, and then choose those where it is encouraged pair visit and highlights not only the main topics of pregnancy and childbirth, but also gives additional knowledge about caring for a newborn.
- The study of specialized literature. How to prepare for childbirth yourself? Reading the right books helps to get enough information and practical knowledge. Nowadays, getting books on psychological preparation for childbirth is not a problem. This can be done not only in the bookstore, but also on the Internet.
- Visualization and auto-training. Each expectant mother should see a landmark in front of her in the form of a specific goal, which will become motivation and support in difficult times. Currently, there are many psychological techniques aimed at this, a specialist can help them figure it out.
- Positive attitude. Everything that can cheer you up – music, walking, hobbies, meeting with loved ones – will help not to be in the grip of panic. With the right attitude, preparation for childbirth will take place without fear.
How to prepare for childbirth physically? To prepare the body for childbirth, it is important to continue to lead an active lifestyle after pregnancy. For expectant mothers, outdoor walks, hardening, exercises for preparing for childbirth (gymnastics and swimming for pregnant women) are strongly recommended.
If before pregnancy a woman was engaged in a certain sport, then with her development, it is recommended to reduce the intensity of training, but to completely refuse moderate physical activity is not necessary at all. The first 13 weeks of pregnancy are the period of formation of the placenta, it is at this moment that the probability of spontaneous abortion is highest. Therefore, you need to protect yourself from heavy physical exertion, for example, from running, cycling, long jumps and other exercises, which are based on strong shocks and possible shocks.
For expectant mothers, many exercises have been developed to prepare the body for childbirth. This pool, and water aerobics, and much more. A woman should discuss her desire to physically prepare for childbirth with a doctor, as there are certain contraindications for physical activity during pregnancy.
Here are some of them:
- the threat of miscarriage, accompanied by an increased tone of the uterus, pulling pains in the abdomen and spotting;
- pregnancy pathologies (toxicosis, late gestosis);
- low or high blood pressure;
- exacerbation of any chronic diseases;
- acute inflammatory process in any part of the body;
- the presence of miscarriages and premature delivery in the past.
Consider the available types of physical preparation for childbirth:
- Movement and hardening. A sedentary lifestyle negatively affects any person, especially the expectant mother. You need to be more often in the fresh air, take walks.
- Special exercises. Physical preparation for the upcoming birth should be carried out taking into account the woman’s age, the duration of her pregnancy, body characteristics and medical indications. If before the expectant mother did not go in for sports, she should begin to perform sets of exercises designed specifically for pregnant women. Such gymnastics favorably affects the health of women and the subsequent course of childbirth. Exercises increase the immune defense, contribute to the normal development of the fetus, strengthen the respiratory and cardiovascular systems of women. They prepare the body of the expectant mother for the upcoming physical stress during childbirth, reduce the likelihood of complications, and contribute to a more rapid recovery of the body after childbirth.
- Breathing exercises. Proper breathing is also part of preparing for childbirth. Starting from the 2nd trimester, many women begin to complain of shortness of breath and lack of oxygen. Breathing exercises will help get rid of such unpleasant sensations as toxicosis, increased tone, circulatory pathologies, anxiety, stress, and breathing difficulties.
The basic breathing exercises include:
- Breast breathing: hands are placed on the ribs, a deep breath through the nose, exhale through the mouth or nose.
- Rhythmic breathing: 5 seconds for inhalation, 2 seconds for holding the breath, 5 seconds for exhaling, 2 seconds for holding.
- Diaphragmatic breathing: one hand is placed on the chest, the other on the stomach, inhaling for 3 seconds with simultaneous movement of the diaphragm, as a result of which you can see how the stomach protrudes. Then exhale with a mouth for 3 seconds and a normal pause. You need to start this exercise with 1-2 approaches.
- Dog-like breathing: you need to breathe through your mouth often.
If during the performance of these exercises side effects appeared in the form of weakness, nausea, dizziness and pain, it is better to abandon a specific breathing practice or reduce its strength in the future.
Preparation of the cervix and perineum
Preparing the cervix and perineum for childbirth is necessary for any woman, but especially for those who are preparing to become a mother for the first time. If the muscle fibers of the perineum and cervix are inelastic, they can be injured during the birth of the baby. Special exercises aimed at preparing the muscles of the genital area for the birth process should begin with 2 trimesters.
The following exercises are considered effective:
- Kegel exercises: thanks to them, the muscles of the perineum develop, which helps to avoid such a serious problem as urinary incontinence in the future. To perform them, sequential compression and expansion of the vaginal muscles is required.
- Swing legs to the sides: in a standing position, holding on to a support, a woman makes alternating swings of her legs to the right and to the left.
- Sumo Squats: A woman crouches with legs wide apart.
- Raising the legs bent at the knees to the stomach in a prone position.
The preparation of the perineum is necessary for the prevention of possible ruptures and episiotomy – surgical dissection of the perineal tissues during childbirth. For this purpose, a regular massage of the perineum is performed from the 3rd trimester of pregnancy. For this, any vegetable oil that is carefully rubbed into the skin is used. How to conduct a massage, you need to check with your doctor.
Proper nutrition in the last trimester of pregnancy is also an important factor in successful childbirth. The expectant mother should include more vegetable oils in her diet, which will help to achieve better elasticity and firmness of muscle fibers and skin. It is better to give preference to olive oil as the most useful, since it does not contribute to the extra pounds and accelerates the metabolism.
In recent weeks, it is better to abandon heavy foods – meat, flour, sweet. It is advisable to include only cereals, fruits and vegetables in the menu. Unfortunately, many women during pregnancy begin to eat for two. You can’t do this, since excess weight negatively affects not only the appearance of the future mother, but also the baby – it is more difficult to give birth to a large baby, and this is fraught with consequences.
You also need to remember about the water regime. If a woman has no problems with edema, then she should consume a sufficient amount of clean drinking water per day. If swelling and pathologies with the urinary system could not be avoided, a doctor should consult a woman about the amount of fluid consumed.
What you need to buy before delivery?
When it comes to preparing for childbirth, a woman wonders what needs to be bought first. The list of things consists of two parts – basic necessities for the mother herself and for the newborn.
So, the list of things for a woman includes:
- disposable razor;
- cotton shirt;
- several pairs of socks;
- sanitary pads (there are special postpartum);
- elastic bandages;
- some towels;
- bra for nursing mothers;
- cream for the skin of the nipples;
- breast pump.
List for newborn:
- wet wipes;
- disposable diapers;
- items of clothing for the baby (bonnet, shirt, etc.);
- a bottle with a pacifier (not necessary, but just in case you can grab it);
Do not forget about the documents that are required in the maternity ward: exchange card, passport, contract for delivery (if any), necessary analyzes, there may also be a referral to prepare for a planned caesarean section, etc.
Summing up the above, I want to emphasize that if a woman decides to prepare for childbirth on her own, she will be much calmer to do this with the support of the father of the unborn child. A joint visit to the attending physician, preparation for childbirth, walking and much more gives the woman the opportunity to more confidently tune in for the upcoming birth.