Preparing for Labor

(These are more notes I've collected, and once again there's no source. Let me know if you're aware of where it's from so I can credit them.)

* Educate yourself about the birth process, the purpose of pain in labor, and coping techniques. Be positive! Birth is amazing, and you can do this.

* Create a support system for yourself - your partner, a care provider you trust, your doula, other mothers whose parenting approach you wish to emulate. Find those with a positive attitude towards birth and parenting. You will need this support through birth and through your parenting journey!

* Take care of yourself physically. Eat well, rest, and exercise at least 20 minutes a day. Even if it's a slow walk around your neighborhood, get moving! This will make a difference in how you feel in pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Especially in the last month of pregnancy, rest often so you are prepared for the physical challenge of birth.

* Take care of yourself emotionally. Spend at least 10 minutes a day with your feet up (or lay down!) and visualize your quiet place of happiness. Breathe deeply, counting slowly. Listen to quiet music, or use whatever techniques help soothe you. Try a warm bath, lay on the couch with a blanket, snuggle in your own bed. Practice relaxing and breathing! It sounds silly, but too often we're so caught up in the day we don't stop to focus on relaxing and breathing, both crucial skills in coping with labor!

* Remember that this is YOUR birth, and the hospital/birthcenter and care providers are there because you hired them. You are the customer of the hospital, not the prisoner! Create a birth environment that you are comfortable in, whether in your own home or the hospital. Do you want to labor in your own clothes, listen to music, dim the lighting, drink and eat? Create a birth plan and discuss with your care provider how you can best make that happen.

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