How to prepare for the birth of your baby...

When you discover you are pregnant, many things go through your mind….

Who do we tell first, who don't you tell ? When do we tell everyone …

After the morning sickness has subsided, the scans are booked everything settles down you adjust to the bump and basically the pregnancy just continues.

Most couples don't think about the end result, the labour and birth early on. As the bump grows and it really pops in the 3rd trimester every couple starts to get it, this is real, we had better prepare, how are we going do this labour and birth thing

so here are a few helpful tips……

Investigate different models of care, there are many choices. There has been great research done in the past decade about models of care and how this can directly impact on the reducing intervention and reducing Caesarean rates. The continuity of care model (this model of care is where you consistently see the same group of health professionals throughout the pregnancy, birth and postpartum period) has proven to give women a greater sense of satisfaction during their birth experience. ( models of care June 2014). 

You must have a great support person for labour. Have that discussion with your partner, do you need back up ? It is not a crime to ask for help to support you in labour. On average first labours are around 24 hours from start to finish. Look into the option of having a Student Midwife there or hire a birth support person.

Apps aregreat, but not always, Apps are not the real thing, they might tell you how big your baby is during your pregnancy, they are not going to prepare you for the big day. 

Drop the book, do any information night or coursewith a expert in birth that will help you understand exactly what labor and birth is really all about.  A knowledge of the phases and stages of labour will help you to have frank discussions with your care provider if you need to during the birth. Calmbirth is a great example of a type of Childbirth Education course. Calmbirth Workshops are pragmatic and informative, where all facets of labour and birth are discussed. A Calmbirth Practitioner like myself will teach breathing and relaxation techniques to couples to prepare them for the labour. As recently published by Professor Dahlen and Dr Kate Levette, an Adjunct Fellow at Western Sydney University's National Institute of Complementary Medicine, a study shows that antenatal classes help reduce intervention rates, therefore improving the rates of normal births.

Ask the hospital where you are birthing if you can book a tour. Check out the labour rooms, ask the hospital where you should go on the big day when you arrive. Enquire about parking, trust me every couple has asked me about parking. There should be no surprises on the day. 

Discuss as a couple the mode of transport to the hospital, how are you planning to get there ? If you plan to drive to the hospital have planned route, the day of labour is not the day to have a argument about which way to go. Drive really carefully, if you drive fast your Adrenaline levels are going to be through the roof, adrenaline can be an antagonist to Oxytocin the hormone needed for labour, drive fast and your labour could stop. There is plenty of time to get there, babies are so rarely born on the side of the road these stories make the news. If you think the baby is coming pull over and call an Ambulance, much safer and all Paramedics are training in labour and birth.

Pack 3 bags, one for the mum, one for the baby and one for the labour. The labour bag can have times that you and your support person willneed on the day, drinks, snacks, flameless candles, essential oils,etc…..

 Find a Lactation Consultant or do a breastfeeding course. Breastfeeding is the next hurdle couples face when a baby arrives. Having an understanding of breastfeeding and how it works will prepare you and your partner. 

Establishing breastfeeding takes time and patience and requires great support from the people around you. A newborn will feed 8-12 times in a 24 hour period. The old saying “it takes a village” is so true with breastfeeding, you will need lots of support. 

Keep active. Swimming walking and any other low impact activity will help your fitness during the pregnancy. Don’t start any activity that you haven't done prior to the pregnancy keep it very easy. Work on those pelvic floor muscles, increase the frequency and amount of pelvic floor exercises you do through the pregnancy, good pelvic floor muscles help during labour.

Remember to enjoy your pregnancy, it will be over before you know it. Take time to prepare with your partner and last piece of advice don't listen to other peoples “horror stories” most births are nothing like what people want to think. Think positive and book a Calmbirth Workshop with Kath.