I’m going to admit it, I am nervous about the thought of labour. It’s not far off for me, in fact it could happen any moment now but hopefully not before I finish writing this! To be honest, I think I have every right to be. First of all it is not something that I have ever experienced before and secondly, well, it’s meant to be quite painful. Now I know some people are super laid back and would probably think that maybe this is all a little overboard, but I am a worrier and although it may seem a little over the top, if these things will help me to relax, then for me they are worth doing.
The more I thought about it, the more I realised that I am probably not the only one out there feeling anxious and just maybe somebody else might relate. So for those out there that are feeling this way, I decided to share with you some of the ways that I have been trying to mentally prepare myself for labour.
1: Understanding as much as possible
The saying goes, ‘ignorance is bliss’ but in this situation I can’t relate. One of the things that frightens me about labour is that I will have no control over what is happening to my body. A useful way therefore to combat the feeling of loss of control is to understand as best as possible what my body is doing. Understanding what is happening will help me feel less frightened. One of the highly recommended books out there that provides a great deal of information for every stage of pregnancy is What to Expect When You’re Expecting and I have found it really does contain so much useful information! Last week I read the Labour and Delivery chapter which covers a wide range of scenarios and also breaks down each stage of labour in detail.
Another important thing for me is to make sure that I take the opportunity to ask all my questions at my appointments. Find out as much as you can, the more information that you have, the more equipped you will feel and the better you will understand all your options.
2. Having ideas and options for handling pain
I had never heard of a tens machine before my pregnancy and I only learnt about them at my antenatal class. I can neither recommend or discourage you from using a tens machine as I have not yet tried using it and as I am not a doctor, I can’t give any recommendations or advice on this.
So why have I added this to this list? Well, it just helps to know that I have options when it come to dealing with pain. To know that I have a tens machine ready to use in early labour helps to calm my nerves. You can find out more about tens machines on the NHS website, along with all the other pain relief options. I was able to hire a tens machine through my hospital, this may be an options for you too. Overall it is jus good to know that there are further pain relief options available to me should I need them.
3. Positive media for a positive mind frame
I’ve been hearing a lot about hypnobirthing recently and I like the sound of it! It’s all about staying calm and relaxed. It highlights what happens when you allow your adrenaline to take over rather than allowing the oxytocin to do it’s job. If I had the spare money and time, I would definitely look into taking some classes for this (I left it rather late to start looking into this), but I have tried to take as much on board as possible from researching online.
I have been listening to positive birth affirmations through my headphones in the hope of staying relaxed and positive about labour. Along with listening to this, it is my plan is to play relaxing music to keep myself as calm as possible during the labour (we will see how this goes!).
Another thing that I have been doing is watching positive birth stories on youtube. I am really trying to work on replacing all of those negative thoughts and feelings by watching positive stories (rather than all the bad ones!) One youtube channel that I have found particularly useful for this is by the The Positive Birth Company.
I have also been viewing some beautiful photography by positive birth photographers out there, images stay in your mind, so I have been looking at these and I have found them pretty amazing!
4. Getting visual
Taking some of these positive birth affirmations, I decided to get creative! When I write messages down, they are more likely to stay in my head. I have also created a Pinterest board full of positive birth affirmations, so that if I need some encouragement I can flick through the positive messages. Examples of positive affirmations are:
I have everything it takes to birth my baby.
I choose to be relaxed, calm and confident during my baby’s birth.
My body is capable and strong.
You can do anything for a minute.
The pain that I am feeling cannot compare to the joy coming.
All the strength I need is within me.
Feel free to take a look at my Positive Birth Affirmation Pinterest board for inspiration!
5. Looking ahead to after labour.
This fantastic book was given to me at my baby shower. The idea is that you write letters to your baby so that they can read them in the future. I have been anxious throughout my pregnancy, not wanting anything to go wrong. So this has been such a wonderful way for me to look ahead positively to the future, daring to believe that everything will be okay and that my baby will arrive here safe and sound. Spending time writing a letter is such a refreshing and positive thing to do and we honestly can’t wait to hold our baby in our arms.
I also found these adorable milestone cards online, I have seen milestone cards used a few times now and I love the idea of them. This is another way that I have been looking ahead to after birth. A great way to remind myself that afterwards I will have a precious beautiful baby in my arms and I can look forward to seeing her achieve all of these milestones! Nothing will compare the joy that I will feel when my baby is born!
My midwife provided me with some aromatherapy oils that are meant to helpful in labour. My hospital seem to quite like the idea of using aromatherapy. It is yet another sense that we can use to remain calm and aid the progress of labour. I actually haven’t done much research on the effectiveness of aromatherapy, but it definitely is a very interesting concept and I am definitely up for giving it ago.
These are just some of the ways that I am trying to prepare. Even though I kind of feel that nothing will really be able to prepare me fully, if it helps a little bit, then to me it is worth doing! This will probably be my last blog post now before my little one gets here so send your prayers and positive thoughts my way and I will speak to you soon!