Everything you need to know to have an easy labor
Achieving an easy and (as much as possible) painless delivery has some little secrets. Learn these secrets for easy labor, and get ready for the big day.
1. Try to stay fit and active
Pregnant women who are fit and healthy tend to have more uncomplicated labor. That is why it is important to exercise (lightly) during pregnancy. Walk, swim, take yoga classes for pregnant women, (but after asking your gynecologist).
2. Take a Childbirth Class
Familiarizing yourself with the stages of childbirth and practicing comfort measures before the big event will help you feel less anxious. Look for a small class (with fewer than ten couples), and a certified instructor.
3. Ask for support to accomplish an easy labor
If you want your partner to be with you during the birth then you just have to ask him. You can also get extra support and care from the midwife.
4. Try not to think only about childbirth
Childbirth can take several hours. When the first contractions begin, try to stay calm. Before leaving for the maternity hospital try to do something relaxing: Take a walk, a shower, or bake cookies. Anything that relaxes you will help speed things along.
5. Snack Carefully
A small and healthy snack will help you maintain your energy levels high. Avoid fatty or hard-to-digest foods, because a too-full stomach could make you feel nauseated and cause vomiting during the later active stages of labor. Prefer something very light, such as a cracker, some grilled chicken, or a yogurt. Muscle contractions and rapid breathing during labor can also cause you to lose fluids quickly. Drink clear liquids while you’re laboring at home, and, once you’ve arrived at the hospital, let your caregivers know whenever you feel dehydrated.
6. Breathe right (a technique for easy labor)
Seek the advice of your gynecologist and practice breathing techniques. During labor, the right breathing will help you manage the contractions and stay calm. By preparing before the big day, you will feel more confident that you know what to expect and that you will be able to stay in control. Proper breathing helps you stay focused during contractions and slow breathing between pains helps you relax.
7. Take a shower
Pain can cause you to tense muscles all over your body, which creates even more discomfort. A warm shower can counter that response. A shower is fine at any stage of labor.
8. Take a nap
Although sleep will be more difficult as the months go by and your tummy gets bigger, it is important to get as much sleep and rest as you can every day. Proper rest will help you have a smoother pregnancy but also better cope with childbirth, instead of reaching that time physically exhausted.
9. Reduce stress
Practice controlling and reducing stress in your daily life. It will help you a lot in childbirth, which in itself is a stressful process anyway.
10. Don’t lie down
Staying upright throughout much of labor lets gravity work to your advantage: The baby’s head pressing on your cervix will help it dilate. And trying a variety of positions standing, kneeling, or squatting, can lessen discomfort and move labor along.
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