No one will tell you that labor is going to be easy. Labor means work, after all. But, there is plenty you can do ahead of time to prepare for labor.
One of the best ways to prepare is to take a childbirth class to learn what to expect in labor. You will also learn how to breathe, visualize, and use your labor coach to help you. Having a plan and knowing ways to manage pain will help you feel more relaxed and in control when the day arrives.
Here are a few ideas that may be helpful.
When labor first begins, contact your health care provider. Start out by staying home as long as you can.
Make it a peaceful place for giving birth.
Keep your mind busy.
Get as comfortable as you can.
Remember, you’re in charge!
Speak up. Talk to your partner, your doctor, and nurses. Tell them how they can help you get through your labor.
It’s okay to change your mind about pain management if your plans before labor were different. Some women find that they need more help with managing their pain when labor arrives. Remember that you have the option to get pain medicine or a pain block if you need it.
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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