Is there anything I should do to prepare for labour?
I often get asked what mums should do to prepare for labour so thought it would be useful to share my advice with you all.
Being well informed can really help. Gather as much information as you can. Read books, join an antenatal, hypnosis or exercise class and talk to your health professionals. Many women fear the unknown about labour which can cause anxiety, tension and uses up valuable energy which can make labour more painful and exhausting. If you know what to expect, you can have some idea about what you would like for yourself.
Consider writing a birth plan. For some women it is important to have written personal a birth plan. It can be helpful if you bring your written wishes with you, especially if you have a midwife in labour you’ve not met before. Usually at a glance at a plan, as midwives, we can see what is important to you - it can be difficult to explain what is particularly important to you in between contractions! Many women keep a copy of their plan in their maternity hand held notes. Keeping an open mind is a good idea, as sometimes you might either choose to do things differently or need to if problems occur, but it’s good to have an idea of what you would like / would like to avoid in advance.
Keep a list of important phone numbers in your handbag or near the phone. Include your hospital or midwife, your birth partner or birth companion, and your own hospital reference number available for when you contact the midwife/hospital.
Have your bags ready. Only about 5% of babies actually come on their due date, so it is always a good idea to have your bags packed or homebirth items ready to go.
Stock up at home for when your baby has arrived. You may not want to do much more than rest and care for your baby, so do as much planning as you can in advance. Stock up on basics such as toilet paper, sanitary pads and nappies. If you have a freezer, prepare some meals in advance and freeze them.
Hope this helps.