Giving birth really can be a positive, beautiful experience. It's a completely normal, natural event that your body is designed to perform and you get to meet your perfect baby at the end of it. It's time to release your fears and anxieties about labour and start looking forward to it!
No two births are the same and babies tend to make the rules. Whichever way you bring your baby into the world though, whether by Caesarean or vaginal birth, it can be comfortable, gentle and relaxed and it will be special because it belongs to you and your baby. I've put together some of my top tips to help you prepare for a positive, confident experience:
Indulge in the excitement of meeting your beautiful baby. Talk to them, play them music, enjoy shopping for those gorgeous little outfits and start planning your perfect nursery on Pinterest. Pregnancy is such an amazing, exciting time - treasure every little flutter and kick.
Surround yourself with positivity. Avoid listening to people's horror stories and instead have a look at some hypnobirthing birth stories and videos online to see just how wonderful birth can be.
Focus on what you want rather than what you're afraid of. Visualise a calm environment, somewhere where you'll feel really comfortable giving birth and start preparing to make it happen. Make a playlist of songs that will relax you, get some flameless candles, hire a birth pool if you'd love a water birth at home, ask your partner to practice massaging your back or stroking your arm like you'd like them to do on the day. Whatever works for you and makes you feel most relaxed, be that aromatherapy oils or simply a pillow from home.
Book yourself onto your local hypnobirthing antenatal classes at www.preciousbond.co.uk/classes You'll learn tools and techniques to release your fears, keep relaxed during pregnancy and labour and empower you to approach birth with confidence. Plus you'll meet some other parents-to-be to share this amazing journey with.
Get your birth partner involved. They will be an amazing support to you on the day if they know what to expect and what you want, so give them some books to read, bring them along to your hypnobirthing classes, talk about how you'd like them to help and practice relaxing together.
Research your options for where to give birth. Did you know you can have your baby at home? Or that you can go to a midwife-led birth centre in Melton Mowbray rather than a hospital? If you feel relaxed, your body is able to work more effectively for a smooth and straightforward labour so it's important to choose the place where you'll feel most comfortable having your baby.
Prepare your body. Keep active if you can, try pregnancy yoga or just going for a walk a few times a week. To give your baby the best chance to get into a natural position for birth, try to avoid slouching and reclining in the final few weeks. Sitting on a birth ball or squatting can really help baby drop down into the pelvis. Make time for your pelvic floor exercises (try to associate them with part of your daily routine. For me, the '10 minute takeover' on Radio 1 on my drive home from work would always remind me!) Consider giving perineal massage a try too from 34 weeks. It can't do any harm and may reduce the chance of tearing.
Lastly, trust your body and remember that thousands of women are birthing with you. You've got this!