Tips and advice

Unsurprisingly, most women are very nervous about the prospect of going into labour; it has a reputation for being one of the most painful experiences possible and everyone knowns someone with a nightmare story; however, the vast majority of labours go smoothly and the outcome is well worth the effort and pain. Below are a few tips to help you get through labour as smoothly and calmly as possible:

  • Plan your birth: during your pregnancy you may wish to create a birthing plan and start thinking about where you want to have your baby, who you want to be with you and which pain relief methods you want to use. Thinking about these things before the labour means you will be prepared and ready.
  • Take somebody with you who you know will be supportive; having someone there with you can be hugely reassuring and it is nice to have someone there with you to share the very special moment of having a baby; most people have their partners, but some also take relatives and friends.
  • Find out about labour from books, classes, web pages, forums and other people; this way you know what to expect and what is going on in your body at each stage of the labour.
  • Try to stay calm and relaxed; breathe deeply and try to relax your muscles.
  • Stay in an environment which makes you feel safe and comfortable; during the very early stages of labour you may wish to stay at home rather than going into hospital as it is more comfortable and you’ll be surrounded by your own things. You don’t need to go into hospital until you are around 3 centimetres dilated.
  • Make sure you talk to your midwife or doctor if you have any concerns; if you have questions, make sure you ask them.
  • Find a position you are comfortable in; it may take a while to do this but try out lots of different positions until you find one that suits you.
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