Labour is a long and arduous process, but if the body and mind is prepared for it, vaginal birth need not be a stressful and traumatic experience. Here are some tips to ensure you have a smooth birthing experience.
1. Start early. Ensure healthy eating habits for both spouses for 3 to 6 months prior to conception. Get a complete checkup done to ensure all nutrient levels are normal. Women can take a multivitamin and a folic acid supplement three months prior to conception. Men should also take a multivitamin supplement which has a higher zinc content.
2. Make sure you complete all your prenatal visits and tests as scheduled.
3. Follow a healthy diet even during pregnancy. A fit body will be able to handle the rigors of labour a lot more easily.
4. Exercise regularly. Do check with your doctor before you begin. A walking program is easy to follow and, if possible, register for a prenatal exercise class.
5. Relaxation and meditation will not only help you be calm during pregnancy, but can also be a great pain-management tool during labour. Practise various relaxation techniques along with your spouse through the pregnancy.
6. The fetal position is very important to the birthing process. If the baby is malpositioned then a vaginal birth can become difficult or impossible. Be alert and aware of your baby's position. Your baby should be in the head down position by about Week 32. If the baby is not in the right position then you may need to do some optimum fetal positioning sessions.
7. Be Positive. This one is very important. Negative thoughts will only hamper your plans for a vaginal birth. Staying positive and surrounding yourself with people who help you stay upbeat and happy will definitely help.
8. Avoid Information overload. You do need to have the right information, but not an overload of information. Discuss your queries with your doctor or you prenatal coach. A good prenatal class will help you with customised information and query resolutions.
9. Do not be passive during labour. Walk and move around and try to be in an upright position for as long as possible.
10. If you are comfortable, avoid pain medications. These can confine you to the bed and make you lose mobility. Instead, practise the relaxation techniques you learned in your prenatal classes for pain management.
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