How can I prepare myself for the birth?
You are certainly looking forward to your due date with anticipation. But particularly when you are a first-time mum, you probably have many questions. How do I recognise contractions? What can I even expect during labour? It is completely normal if your excitement is mixed with nervousness and fear.
Being well informed will help you to put aside some of your fears. You can also prepare your body for this event, which will help to make both the birth and your pregnancy more comfortable.
Here are our tips
Go to antenatal classes
Although you can’t learn how to give birth, the information, exercises and talking to other course participants can help you feel more confident and calmer. There is a wide range of preparatory courses on offer in terms of the contents, duration and participants. Material commonly covered in antenatal classes:
- Pregnancy exercises
- Process of a pregnancy
- Process of labour
- Special breathing techniques
- Pain relief
- Caesarean section and emergencies
- Preparation for breastfeeding
- Preparation for the post-partum period
- Caring for infants
- Help with parenting
There are also special courses to mentally prepare for the birth (autogenic training, meditation, hypno-birthing, etc.).
It is best to ask your obstetrician, midwife or even those of your friends who already have children about the range of courses that are available in your area.
Although the tissue between the vaginal opening and anus is extremely elastic, it sometimes reaches it limits during the birth of a child. To prevent damage to the perineum, from week 34 of your pregnancy you can start to regularly massage your perineum. This encourages blood flow in the perineum and increases its elasticity, making it softer and stretchier.
There is unfortunately no sure fire way to prevent perineal tears or an episiotomy. But regular perineal massage has been shown to lower the risk and also helps to relieve pain.
Premium oils help with perineal massage. For example, wheatgerm oil that contains vitamin E, which makes the tissue elastic.
Another advantage is that your close observation of your body helps you to develop a physical awareness that you can rely on.