As a mom-to-be, you’ve likely been waiting anxiously for this moment – putting your travel bag in the car and heading to the hospital to have your baby. And you’ve had months to think about the experience – right down to the little outfit you want to bring your newborn home in. From conception to delivery, your life is going to be filled with choices that you and your doctor will have to make, and one of those is the way you want your baby’s delivery to go. While most moms go the epidural route, many moms choose natural childbirth. If you’re considering natural childbirth, here are some things to keep in mind as your body gets baby ready to make his or her debut.
Keep Your Body in Good Shape
The better shape you’re in, the easier it will be for you to deliver. I don’t mean that you need to try to get out and run 5Ks every weekend, but sitting around without strengthening your body is only going to make natural childbirth that much more difficult. While you will likely be very tired during portions of your pregnancy, exercising, as much as you might initially dread it, can help keep you limber, toned and energized. It’s important to remember to talk to your doctor before you enter into any exercise plan. They can help you come up with a program that is healthy for you and safe for the baby. The plan doesn’t have to be strenuous – in fact, it shouldn’t be. Safe yoga and light cardio are both things to consider when planning out a daily routine. Remember: The stronger you make your body now, the stronger your body will be when it’s enduring contractions and pushing later.
Get a Support System
Being pregnant is not easy, and neither is raising a baby! You’ll need help from your partner, your family and your friends during this time, so open the lines of communication with those you trust most. Talk with your partner about your birthing options. If you decide to go the natural route, make sure you and your partner sign up for Lamaze classes so both of you are familiar with the breathing techniques when the big day arrives and – trust me – no matter the amount of practice you do beforehand, you’ll need a strong coach to walk you through some of those tough contractions.
Have a Plan B
So, for months you’ve planned your baby’s birth. You know that you’d like to have a natural childbirth in the hospital. You’ve thought about it a thousand times since you learned you were pregnant and you’re certain that this plan A is the way it’s going to happen. But then it doesn’t. Trust me when I say that things don’t always go exactly the way you plan. In fact, they rarely do. Your doctor might decide that they need to do a cesarean section, or the pain you’re feeling might be more than you bargained for and you decide you need the epidural. Remember, any scenario that is healthy for you and your baby is a good scenario. I’m not saying that you’ll immediately have to scrap your Plan A. But I am saying that if your Plan B is to be flexible and focus on you and your baby’s health, you’ll be off to a great start as a new mom.
Dr. Asma Ali is a board-certified Obstetrics and Gynecology specialist. Her clinic interests include well-woman care and minimally invasive surgery. She cares for her patients at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – The Vintage.