In your final trimester, you are thinking most about two things- first, of course is your baby and second is the perhaps the much-dreaded labour that you would have to endure. Stories from friends and well wisher about their experiences just make the whole thing seem even more intimidating.
Instead of worrying just stay positive and focus on a few things that will make the labour smooth. Of course, each woman is unique and so is her labour. So it is not very wise to have a labour plan entirely on someone else’s experience. There are however, some common dos and don’ts that can help-
- Exercise: Fitter women have a shorter labour. Their endurance and stamina is greater than women who do not exercise. So take a walk, swim and stay active. Of course, clear the exercise regime with your doctor first.
- Information: Keep yourself informed. Read about labour. Ask your doctor questions. Knowledge takes the edge off the anxiety.
- Childbirth Class: Take a Lamaze Class with a certified instructor. They will teach you breathing and other comforting techniques for a smooth labour.
- Support: Enlist support. Make sure your partner, mother or care giver is by your side when you go into labour. You do not have to do it alone. Support gives you the mental strength and comfort you need through this.
- Stay Mobile: Labour for a first-time mother can last anywhere from 8 to 14 hours. If possible, labour at home for a few hours. This will give you the freedom to move around and get used to it in a familiar environment. The movement also helps the baby get into position. Actually staying upright throughout labour in squatting position helps gravity aid you with the process.
- Stay Focused: Be positive and think about your baby. Labour is just a process to your life-long happiness with your bundle of joy. Give yourself positive messages. It helps you stay in control of the pain.
- Snack Carefully: A light snack during the early stages of labour can help build your energy. Avoid fatty or hard to digest snacks. This might cause you to vomit in the active stages of labour.
- Keep Breathing: Patterned breathing helps you rest and relax through the intense cramps. Deep breathing, visualization and listening to music are all good relaxation techniques.
- Stay Open: Do not go with preconceived notions. Labour is an unpredictable process. There could be decisions that have to be made depending on the prevailing conditions. So be open to suggestions from your doctor- involving intervention, medication or change of position- even if you were not anticipating it in the first place.
Every labour eventually does end. And that signifies a new life- a new beginning. With a wonderful baby- and your life as a parent. That is what makes the hard work while in labour seem so worthwhile.