11. Choose A Pain Management Strategy
As you prepare for labour, being aware of the extent of pain and how to deal with it could be helpful in preparing you mentally for labour. Talk to your doctor about the available pain management methods, their advantages and disadvantages as well as what each means for you. For most women, giving birth naturally without suppressing the pain is seen as an important achievement. However, medicine has greatly evolved and today there’s no shame associated with using labour pain management drugs. Just make sure you choose the one that is the safest for you. Some of the drugs that you can use include:
- Epidural: This is a common anaesthetic that is injected directly into your spine for your baby’s safety. Injecting directly into your spine also ensures you experience pain relief very fast. The advantage of epidural is that it can be given at any stage of labour even if you have not dilated fully. The epidural numbs your body from the waist down including your uterus nerves leading to painless contractions.
- Pudendal Block: This is a pain management drug that is used during the second stage of labour during vaginal birth. It is especially used if there is a need for vacuum vaginal extraction or use of forceps.
- Opioids: Usually administered via IV or IM injection in the early stages of labour contractions for pain relief.
Drug-Free Methods: If you are sceptical using pain relief medicine, you can try natural methods. One of the things you can try is relaxation through meditation. This will take your mind away from the pain your feeling and focus on something else. Another great natural method of reducing pain is simple and gentle movement. Walking and changing your positions as often as possible will decrease the pressure caused by pain. You can ask your spouse or birth partner to massage your legs, thighs, face, shoulders and scalp or anywhere else that feels tense. Massages are great for relaxing your body and reducing pain. Finally, you could consider having a water birth. Water makes you very comfortable, leaves your body relaxed and greatly reduces pain.
12. Be Active And Stay Healthy
Do not stop exercising even as the end approaches (unless your doctor has recommended that you stop exercising). The endorphins released by your body during exercise help to calm down your nerves. So, go on doing the exercises that are recommended by your doctor and are safe for you. Do not be tempted to over do it. Simply do what your body can handle. A healthy diet is also important for a healthy mind, so continue eating healthy foods.
13. Practice Coping Strategies Before Hand
There are several strategies that you can employ to fight anxiety before you go into labour, such as breathing exercises. Breathing correctly during labour is greatly advised as it helps you to cope with pain better. Yoga breathing and deep breathing are some of the most fantastic breathing techniques that will do good for you. Don’t wait until you go into labour before you to start the breathing techniques. Remember that this is not your everyday mode of breathing so you have to practice often to get it right.
14. Birth Preparation / Antenatal Classes
Preparation for birth can be overwhelming for you and so antenatal classes (usually run by midwives) will be of great help. In such classes, you will be taught on how to tell the early signs of labour, how to breathe, which is important as mentioned. You will also learn how to manage pain. Most importantly, you and your birth partner get a chance to ask questions about the birthing process and have a tour of the delivery suite. At these classes, you will also get a chance to interact with other expectant women and share your experiences.
15. Get Some Rest
During the last days before delivery, it is important that you allow yourself to catch a break. Rest as much as you can because labour is indeed tiresome and you need all the strength you can manage. So, ensure that you get a lot of rest and sleep as much as you can. Let your family or the people you are living with to know about your rest plan so that they can avoid disturbing you when you should be resting. Rest is also good for your mind.
In conclusion, getting ready mentally for labour makes you more ready for the process. This is something that soon-to-be mothers should not take lightly because the more prepared you are, the less anxious you will be and the process will be smooth and over in no time. Even if you are not a first-time mum, do not assume that just because the first time was smooth, the next will be so. Every pregnancy is different and it is better to be safe than sorry.
So, go on, try these tips and make your birthing experience an awesome one!