This article was written by My Expert Midwife, a brand that develops products for parents and their babies, produced by a team of expert midwives.
Giving birth can be incredibly scary - there is a lot of uncertainty and anxiety, and you may have heard horror stories. You may be wondering if there are any ways to have a calm and comfortable labour. Rest assured, the team at My Expert Midwife have provided some labour and delivery tips for an easy and smooth birth.
Prepare your body
Getting your body baby ready is one of the most important things you can do for easy labour. You may consider doing a perineal massage
with essential oils to reduce your risk of tearing during childbirth. It is especially effective for first-time mums. The perineum is the area between the opening of your vagina and your anus. Doing a massage from 34 weeks of pregnancy encourages the skin and muscles around the perineum to stretch, reducing the severity of tearing.
Put your body in the correct position
From 34 weeks of pregnancy, you can do exercises such as regularly kneeling on the floor using a birthing ball or a chair to encourage the baby to be placed in the proper position, ready for birth. Another option is to be positioned upright, forward and over. Standing and leaning forwards makes the baby’s head put pressure on the cervix, making labour easier and shorter.
It doesn’t have to be intensive exercise, but it is essential to stay fit and strong to withstand the pain. It is vital to build energy levels and stamina to make labour easier to manage. Try a short walk every day as it helps relieve pain. Walking up and down the stairs can help your baby’s movement through the pelvis. Alternatively, take a yoga class for gentle stretching if you feel up to it.
Prepare your mind
It is essential to prepare for birth to know what to expect mentally. Taking an antenatal class
will help you gather all the information and knowledge you need for labour - you will learn everything there is to know about childbirth, from planning to recovery to being fully prepared. Sleeping well is also necessary as you will feel well-rested, putting your mind in the best mental space. Using calming sprays such as Spritz for Labour
can help you feel calm and more focused when you feel overwhelmed and struggle to relax.
Practice relaxation and breathing
Being relaxed and ready for birthing will ease the stress of labour. Deep breathing helps to feel calm, prevents tension in your body and muscles, and allows the cervix to dilate. Practising meditation is one of the best ways for this. Hypnobirthing classes
or hypnotherapy includes breathing, visualisation and relaxation techniques to release worry, stress, and tension.
Women supported during pregnancy are more likely to feel more positive about their labour experience. They are more likely to cope better emotionally. Talking to a doctor or a midwife with any questions about labour will help ease any recurring thoughts and anxieties around your birth. You may also want to consider hiring a doula (an experienced mother that offers emotional and practical support during pregnancy and labour) for expert advice.
Make a birth plan
A birth plan informs and lets those supporting and caring for you to know how you want to prepare for your birth
in the best possible way. It should include all the choices you make about your labour, including:
- What birth - a waterbirth, home birth or hospital birth.
- How you would like to be monitored during labour
- Whether you are okay with vaginal examinations
- Whether you want your baby to be born vaginally or by C-section
- Birthing positions
- If you would like delayed cord clamping
- Any pain relief you do or do not want to receive
Prepare your hospital bag
Packing a hospital bag is essential to having a worry-free labour and recovery. Take a look at Storksak’s hospital bag checklist
for what items you need to pack to be fully prepared and browse the range of carry-on hospital bags
so you’re all set for the best possible birth.