Steffi Gatto Herrera
How to prepare for giving Birth
I still remember the excitement I had when I first saw my positive pregnancy test. Wow, I am going to be a mom soon. Followed with a lot of doubts and fears, which is completely normal as there are a lot of changes ahead, not only body-wise, but also mentally. Luckily, the 9-10 month pregnancy gave me enough time to prepare myself step by step. But there were a lot of options, and sometimes it felt like I couldn't see the forest for the trees. So, in this blog post, I would like to give you a short overview of what may be important in preparation for your labour and birth day.
Choose the right caregiver/midwives
Choosing a midwife is actually one of the first things you do here in the Netherlands. As soon as you know you are pregnant, you can look for a nice practice and register there. If it's your first birth, you may not know at this time how to give birth or what you want, and just register with the closest one. It is important to feel confident and secure with the midwife practice as they will be there during your birth. So, never be shy, and ask them any questions you have, and also figure out whether they will support you with your birth wishes. It is never too late to change midwives if for any reason you don’t feel comfortable with them attending your birth.
I had to change practice when I was at 25 weeks due to an administrational error, which turned out to be the best thing that could have happened, as the new midwives were way more supportive and also one of the reasons that I chose a homebirth.
Look for a good and suitable birthing class
Giving birth is natural and all woman are capable of doing it. Sure, but in our society, we have lost a bit of the ability to listen to our bodies and follow our natural instincts. Unfortunately, the fear of birth is also present, and this does not help to accept how birth is and to let go. There are a lot of options in childbirth preparation courses and you need to choose one based on what is important for you. Personally, I looked for a course with the approach of viewing birth as something natural and magical, and the result was a positive birthing experience.
Physical & Mental exercises
It is important to stay fit during pregnancy. I like to compare giving birth with a running a marathon or climbing Mount Everest. No one would do that without training for it, and also without preparing the mind for that adventure. Birth is also very exhausting and will bring you to your limits, physically and also mentally.
For that, it is good to find a daily routine to combine both.
To keep fit, you can just do what you did before your pregnancy. Just checked whether it needs to be adjusted. Recommended activities are yoga, walking and swimming. Special pregnancy activities help your body to prepare perfectly for birth and also for best positioning of your baby. (Daily essential – spinning babies.)
To prepare your mind you can do relaxation exercises and meditation, but affirmations can also help you during birth. In the end, you just need to relax and let go!
Here in the Netherlands, each midwife will talk with you around week 33 about your birthing plan. In most childbirth classes you will get help to prepare one. If not, it may be good to discuss with your partner what is important for you during birth – how you want to give birth to your baby and what the support of the caregiver should be like. How do you want to be treated and which facts are important to you?
How does your partner feel about the birth? What are his thoughts and possible fears? In my opinion, it is important to also include your partner in the preparation for the birth. Let him team up with you and be your supporter in your birth, and not just stand there like a lamp. Why a lamp? I heard this comparison from one of the fathers in my classes. He compared being a father to being a lamp. You don’t notice him until he is out of the labour room. The same with a lamp – you don’t really notice a lamp till it's gone out.
As you can see, there is actually a lot to prepare for birth and, at first glance, this can be quite overwhelming, but there is enough time. Take enough time for yourself to prepare for your positive birth experience. Get confident and empowered