Your due date is getting closer and closer, but don’t stress! Whether you’re waiting for the arrival of your first baby and have no idea what to expect, or you’re a veteran mom ready to go through it all again, thinking about the birth of your baby can be very intimidating. You’ll be surrounded by a medical team who knows exactly what they’re doing and has done it time and time again, but it doesn’t hurt to take some steps of your own to help promote a normal delivery. The more informed you are, the more prepared you’ll feel, which is helpful as well. Below, I’ll go into some tips I often ask my patients to follow for a normal delivery, so keep reading to learn more!
Take a Childbirth Education Class
You can do your research and ask your doctor as many questions as you want, but one of the best ways to feel more confident and comfortable going into labor is by taking a childbirth class. This experience will give you hands-on knowledge about what to expect and is especially useful for first-time moms. You’ll learn physical tips like relaxation techniques and optimal labor positions, as well as the stages of normal labor and delivery and how your medical team will handle any complications that may arise. Along with all the other topics your class will cover, you’ll also benefit from the opportunity to work with other couples who are in the same boat, and you’ll get to bond with your partner and have access to information and resources that may make a normal delivery more likely.
Get Your Exercise
You might already know that exercise is recommended and beneficial during pregnancy, but it also helps to increase your chances of having a natural birth with no need for intervention (such as a C-section). Exercise throughout your pregnancy helps prepare your body for labor, almost like training for a marathon. You’ll definitely want to talk to your doctor early in your pregnancy about the best exercise routine for you, but walking and simple cardio exercises are great ways to get your heart rate up and keep moving. All these efforts help to build up your stamina, which will be helpful when you get closer to your due date.
Talk to your doctor specifically about Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor. Having strong muscles in this area will help decrease the bladder control issues like leaking with coughing that so many women experience during pregnancy and postpartum.
Try Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal yoga is an ideal exercise routine to pick up during your pregnancy so you have higher chances of a normal delivery. You can strengthen your muscles through poses like squats, which also help to relax and open the hips and pelvic muscles. Tension and tightness in this area can make delivery difficult, so taking time to focus on these muscles over the course of nine months can make a big difference when you’re about to deliver. Prenatal yoga can even improve the birth position of your baby! When the pelvic bones and ligaments are more open, the baby’s head will have more room to settle at the bottom of the uterus, which is the ideal position for birth. Yoga can also serve as a great relaxation technique for those feeling anxious about the process of childbirth.
Connect with Your Doctor
Having a strong connection with your doctor is essential, no matter what type of delivery you are aiming for. You should be open with your doctor from the beginning if your goal is a normal vaginal delivery rather than a C-section so that they are informed and prepared for anything that arises during your pregnancy or labor. Talk to your doctor about your wishes for your delivery, and if they don’t seem supportive, don’t be afraid to find a new one. Feeling comfortable and confident that your doctor has your best wishes in mind will help you stay on the same page and feel better about your delivery.
Similar to exercise, healthy eating is a habit you should follow throughout your entire pregnancy (and your life in general!), but it can help promote a healthy delivery, too. Pregnant women should be eating a healthy diet just like everyone else – one that has plenty of veggies, whole fruits, fresh seafood (or other sources of omega 3s) lean meats, and dairy. Remember that if you are normal weight, you should only be gaining a total of 25 pounds for the entire pregnancy and much of that should happen in the third trimester. If you are over or underweight, this recommendation needs to be adjusted. Please speak with your doctor about this and consider getting a nutrition professional to help you eat the right foods and the right amounts during pregnancy. If you are normal weight, you are NOT eating for 2! You are only adding an additional 300 calories a day. This is an area that can be full of emotion, anxiety, and unwanted advice from friends and family. Make sure you arm yourself with good advice from your doctor and or your professional nutritionist so you are not second-guessing yourself. You should also stay extra hydrated when you get closer to the birth of your baby- drinking plenty of water is the best way to do this. Avoid sugary drinks, including fruit juices and limit caffeine. This will prepare your body with the stamina and energy that you’ll need as you give birth.
Staying informed about childbirth and everything that comes along with it is one of the best ways to promote a normal delivery. I always encourage my patients to ask every single question that they have, and I’d be happy to help you out as well! Don’t hesitate to contact me for guidance and reassurance about your delivery- it’s part of my job! I’d love to speak with you about your plans for the birth of your baby and the steps you can take to promote the type of delivery you’re aiming for.