You’ve completed your baby registry, planned the nursery, and packed your birth bag, so you’re all set, right?
From the moment we see that positive pregnancy test, we start planning for baby.
But how much thought do we put into the big day, our labor day?
6 Things To Get Ready For Labor Day
Do we need to prepare for labor? In short, yes, it’s a great idea to prepare for labor.
Certainly, baby will come regardless of your preparation.
However, taking steps to prepare now could mean a more positive birth experience, improved outcomes, and even a better postpartum experience.
While birth can be unpredictable, regardless of how prepared you are, knowing your options and playing an active role can help you have a more positive experience, even if your labor unfolds in unexpected ways.
So, how should you prepare? Here are 6 things you should do to get ready for labor day:
#1: Make An Informed Choice About Your Maternity Care Provider
Choosing a care provider that you trust and one who practices evidenced based care can mean the difference between a traumatic labor experience and a labor experience with improved outcomes.
Even if things don’t go as planned, a trusted care provider can help you through a difficult labor.
It’s important to weigh all of your options and not simply choose the most convenient care provider. Even if your pregnancy is well underway, you can explore your maternity care provider options and make a change if you aren’t comfortable with your current provider.
You can read more in How Do I Choose A Care Provider?
Options vary by your location, but many women have access to a variety of midwifery care, obstetricians and even family doctors.
If you’re in Australia you can read Who Cares? Maternity Care Options For Australian Women to learn more about your birth options.
If you’re in the US you can read Who Cares In The US? Choosing A Maternity Care Provider to learn more about the different doctors and midwives who provide prenatal, birth and postpartum care.
It’s also important to make an informed choice about your birth location. Learn all of your options including home birth, birth centres and hospital birth.
You might be surprised and change your mind once you weigh up all your options and meet with different providers.
Remember: it’s never too late to change your care provider if you don’t feel supported or respected.
#2: Get Informed
There are so many wonderful birth books! There are also some which are outdated, not evidenced based, and even fear-mongering books. If a book leaves you more fearful about birth than before you read it, well it’s probably not a great choice.
Chat with friends who have had similar births to the one you desire, find out if they have any book recommendations.
For evidenced based and positive birth books, we recommend the list found in 10 Best Childbirth Books To Read For A Better Birth Experience.
#3: Take An Independent Childbirth Class
Who needs a long birth class when your hospital offers an hour or two class included with the tour?
Well, if you’d like to learn about all your comfort options, benefits and risks of procedures, prenatal wellness, postpartum healing, and even get information about breastfeeding and infant care, an independent childbirth class is the way to go.
The more prepared you are for labor day, the more confident you can be in making decisions. No matter what plan you have, birth is unpredictable. Know your options beforehand, rather than making important decisions with little information, in the heat of the moment.
9 Ways Independent Birth Classes Can Help You Get Better Results goes more into detail about how important a comprehensive childbirth class can be.
#4: Get Or Stay Active
With the exception of some medical complications, pregnancy is not the time to be inactive. If you’re already active, keep moving! If you’re not very active, get moving!
It’s important to discuss any changes in activity level with your maternity care provider, but generally, staying active, working out, walking and even running can be great ways to stay fit and prepare for labor.
In fact, a study presented by the Faculty of Sciences for Physical Activity and Sport at the Technical University of Madrid, found mothers who exercise regularly during their pregnancy could significantly decrease and prevent the risk of a c-section birth.
You can read Exercise And Pregnancy – Can I Exercise In Pregnancy? to learn more.
#5: Help Your Partner Prepare
If your partner or other support person is going to be attending your labor day, encourage them to prepare. You’re going to be quite busy and distracted, so the more they know, the better!
Attending an independent childbirth class together is a great way to help them prepare and ensure they understand your preferences during labor. It also helps you to feel more supported if they know what you will need from them during labor.
If dad is planning to attend, be sure he reads Dads-To-Be: A Guide to Labor & How To Support Her.
Birth Support – 10 Best Tips For An Untrained Support Person is an excellent for dad as well as friends and other family members planning to support you during labor.
#6: Consider Hiring A Birth Doula
Having a supportive partner or friend is a wonderful thing during labor. However, having professional labor support can help improve your birth experience and even reduce the likelihood of interventions, such as use of pain medication, induction, or c-section birth.
Consider hiring a birth doula to help support you and your partner. A birth doula doesn’t replace a partner or family support. They’re a trained birth professional who can offer you birth education, hands on non-medical and emotional support.
Read 5 Things To Know Before Hiring A Doula to learn more about hiring a birth doula.
Your labor day might be just one day in your parenting journey. However, it’s a very big day! Your birth experience and birth outcome can impact your postpartum healing, future fertility and birth outcomes, and even your baby’s health. Be sure to prepare and make informed decisions!