10 tips on how to prepare for childbirth

Your due date is getting closer and closer. It can happen any day now! You’re finally going to meet your baby. However, you will first have to deal with childbirth. You never know in advance, when you are going to give birth and what your delivery will be like. However, there are some things you can do to prepare for your delivery, and which appear to have a beneficial effect.

10 tips on how to prepare for childbirth

What can you do to prepare for child birth?

Your obstetrician will have surely told you that you can draw up a birth plan and follow a course, such as hypnobirthing, to prepare for birthing. It is certainly advisable to enroll for a good course, to read up on the process of childbirth and to formulate your wishes regarding childbirth in the form of a birth plan.

What is a birth plan?

A plan for labor and delivery, also known as a birth plan, is a plan that pregnant women prepare together with their partners and in which they can list all their wishes and preferences for the childbirth. This plan is often drawn up in collaboration with your obstetrician and can help communicate preferences to the experts who supervise the delivery to ensure that they comply with those wishes are far as possible. In your birth plan, you can state, e.g., the following wishes:

  • Where you want to give birth
  • Whether you want pain relief during childbirth
  • How you want to give birth: lying down in bed, in a bath, on the birthing stool
  • Whether you want to have the blood from your umbilical cord collected or prefer to have the clamping of the umbilical cord delayed
  • Who of your loved ones you would like to have with you during childbirth

Which courses are available?

There are several types of pregnancy courses available for you and your partner to prepare for childbirth. For example, you can take a one-on-one sessions or a group course. The most popular courses for pregnant women are pregnancy yoga, hypnobirthing and childbirth preparation courses.

What is the difference between pregnancy yoga, hypnobirthing and a childbirth preparation course?

Pregnancy yoga focuses in particular on breathing exercises, relaxation techniques and postures adapted to the needs of the pregnant woman. It can help relieve stress, promote flexibility and strength, and prepares the body and mind for childbirth.”

Hypnobirthing is based on the idea that relaxation and positive visualization during childbirth can reduce pain and anxiety. This course teaches techniques such as self-hypnosis, breathing exercises, and affirmations to help you prepare for a calm and controlled delivery.

Childbirth preparation courses are often presented by hospitals and obstetric practices and include information about the process of childbirth, options for pain relief, postures you can adopt and what to expect after childbirth. These courses provide practical information and can help you feel more confident about giving birth.

 

10 tips on how to prepare for childbirth

These tips will help you to prepare your body for childbirth. They provide hormonal, physical and mental support during the third trimester of your pregnancy.

  1. Perineum massage: from week 34 onward, you can start massaging your perineum. Your perineum is the part between the vagina and the anus, the part that can tear during childbirth. Scientific research has shown that regular and light massaging and stretching of this area reduces the risk of an episiotomy (cut) and tearing.
  2. In the third trimester of your pregnancy, you can prepare by means of breathing exercises. By daily practicing your breathing technique, meditating and relaxing in this way, you can reduce stress, anxiety and pain during childbirth.
  3. Eat 3 dates every day from week 37 onward. Research has shown that dates have a positive effect on the course of childbirth. Among other things, they help to soften the cervix and stimulate the production of hormones, including prostaglandins.
  4. Vegan Omega 3 fatty acids: Taking omega 3 supplements can reduce the risk of a premature birth and support the development of the baby’s brain and nervous system.
  5. Vitamin D supplements: By taking high-quality supplements, which include vitamin D, you can reduce the risk of preeclampsia and premature birth; they also promote the development of the baby in the last weeks of your pregnancy.”
  6. Magnesium supplements: By taking magnesium supplements you can reduce the risk of muscle cramps and improve relaxation during childbirth. They are also credited with a reduced risk of premature birth and high blood pressure.
  7. Fitness ball: Sitting and rocking on a fitness ball can help to relieve back ache, help your baby move into an optimal position before delivery, and relax your pelvic floor.
  8. Raspberry leaf tea: Drinking raspberry leaf tea daily in the third trimester of pregnancy is beneficial. This tea has a positive effect on childbirth because it strengthens the uterine muscles and can shorten the duration of childbirth.
  9. Caffeine consumption: Reducing your consumption of caffeine may reduce the risk of premature birth, low birth weight and reduces high blood pressure in pregnant women.
  10. Eating pineapple, kiwi and mango can have a beneficial effect by helping to soften the cervix and promote childbirth.

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The better prepared you are, the more relaxed you will be

Of course, in addition to these 10 tips, it is always good to follow a pregnancy course, read up on childbirth and/or prepare a birth plan. The better prepared you are, the more relaxed you will be during childbirth.

In my practice as an obstetrician, I notice time and again that pregnant women who are well prepared for childbirth are more relaxed and able to cope, and they usually have a positive recollection of the childbirth. If you feel stressed or are anxious about something, discuss your concerns with your obstetrician and your loved ones around you.

Enjoy this beautiful journey and my best wishes for a wonderful and safe delivery!

Kind regards,

Jacqueline Steenbeek

Obstetrician, hormone and orthomolecular therapist and mother of 3 beautiful children.

Prepare for childbirth
Prepare for childbirth