Here’s a round-up of hints and tips from the community on what to do before, during and after labor.
Make a birth plan
Birth plans allow you to communicate how you want your labor and delivery experience to go. It can be as in-depth as you prefer it to be. Most cover what you want the atmosphere to be like before birth, how you want things to go during labor delivery from medications to vaginal delivery or C-section preferences, and what you want the moments after your baby is born to be like.
COVID-19 may still have an effect on your ideal birth plan, so it’s important to stay informed on your hospital’s procedures and have a backup plan just in case.
Pack for the hospital
As the big day gets closer, it’s best to have your hospital bag packed and ready to go at any time. You’re going to want to keep it light, there’s no need to bring the whole house with you. You can check out our hospital bag packing checklist here to make sure you have the essentials you need.
Take a pregnancy/parenting class
Birthing, breastfeeding, newborn care, infant CPR … hospitals often offer a lot of these classes in-person for expecting parents. With COVID-19 many of these have gone virtual, so you and your partner can partake in these from the comfort of your own home at your own pace. You can find doulas and other providers in our Virtual Pregnancy Services Directory.
Get a massage
A prenatal massage is a great way to relax and have some alone time before the big day. It may also help with any aches, pains, or nausea you may be experiencing.
Do pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises are very helpful in strengthening your muscles and helping you prepare for pushing during labor and delivery, as well as helping you heal during postpartum. Check out Madison’s pelvic floor exercises.
Have sensory distractions
Setting up a relaxing environment will do a lot to help distract you from any pain and keep you focused. You could light candles, have a diffuser for essential oils, set up a birth playlist, or do all three. We’ve created a couple of different labor and delivery playlists for you to listen to on Spotify from upbeat, calming, and dance vibes.
If you took a birth hypnosis course during your pregnancy like Hypnobabies, this is the perfect time to use those techniques to relax.
Move and change positions
Moving around is one way to help keep labor progressing. Walking, rocking, or bouncing on a birth ball are all great things to try during labor.
Have a postpartum care plan
Having meals stocked in the freezer, scheduled visiting hours, and products to help with your postpartum healing will be a lifesaver. You had the baby shower right? We highlight suggest a postpartum party to stock up on those fourth-trimester supplies.
Go to your postpartum checkup
It’s best to schedule your postpartum checkup anywhere from three to six weeks postpartum. At this appointment, your doctor will do a basic pelvic exam, talk to you about birth control, and do a checkup of your baby.
Continue pelvic floor exercises
As mentioned before, continuing to do your pelvic floor exercises after birth will help you build back up the strength in those muscles.
Join a mom support group
Joining a mom group to talk to other mothers who are going or have gone through the same experiences as you can make you feel a lot less alone.
What helped you before, during, and after?
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