So, you have just found out that you’re pregnant, congratulations on the amazing news, I’m sure you have millions of questions you would like answered. Below, are 10 helpful tips to get you all prepared before your bundle of joy enters the world.
1 – Educate yourself
It’s important for you and your partner to educate yourselves. If you want to educate yourself, you could attend a birth class. Birth classes go into detail about what is happening during pregnancy and the birth process. It’s important to know what happens during pregnancy so you can understand what tests are available and how your baby is positioned. When it comes to birthing, you will understand what to expect during your labour process.
By educating yourself, you will learn new skills and knowledge about how your body works. It will help you by reducing your fears about birth so you have all the tools to instinctively do what our bodies are capable of doing.
In addition, if you would like to conduct extra education, you can watch You-Tube clips about the birthing process and or watch clips that interview women who have experienced pregnancy and birth.
2 – Know your options
It’s important for you to explore the different models of care so you can choose the right model that fits best with your birth plan. Whilst exploring the models of care, sit down with your partner and write a pros and cons list for each. For example, home birth- Pro: In your safe place where you are comfortable, con: if you wished to have an epidural, you wouldn’t be able to because you need to be in a hospital. Hospital, pro: all staff on board, con: some hospitals have a high rate of c-sections. If you have more questions in relation to your options, write a list and take it into your next antenatal visit, and ask the questions, also ask yourself- do they support my plan? Additionally, if you are going to have hospital care, log onto their website and search for their policies and procedures to understand what they are. Ensure that they align with what you’re looking for.
3 – Hire a doula
One thing I wished I had done while I was pregnant with Mazikeen was hire a doula. Doulas offer their clients with non-medical support through a woman’s pregnancy, birth and postpartum journey. The support can be by emotional, mental, physical and educational. According to research, doulas can improve a mother’s experience during her pregnancy, birth and postpartum. The studies show if you do have a doula, there is a less chance of any interventions and mothers come out to have a positive experience with their journey. If you do decide to hire a doula, you will have the continuity of care throughout your pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Doulas can provide you and your family with up-to-date research and advocate your needs and wants so that you have the desired plan that you wanted for your birth.
4 – Hypnobirthing
Hypnobirthing is becoming a huge hit around the world. The courses provide so many benefits to help assist families during pregnancy and birth. When you complete the course, you will learn helpful techniques for pain management during labour. A few techniques include, deep breathing exercises, self-hypnosis techniques, and different positions to suit the different stages of labour. Learning the different techniques, will allow the birthing mother to apply them to help her birthing experience.
5 – Ways to get your groove on
When we are pregnant our muscles and joints start to stretch and pull in different positions throughout our pregnancy. This can put a lot of strain and stress onto our bodies so it’s important that we try different stretches and exercises to help us get through pregnancy and postpartum stage. If exercises and stretching isn’t helping much, you can look into alternative ways to help reduce your discomfort. That may look like seeing a pregnancy physio, chiropractor, hydrotherapy, pregnancy massage, Pilates and yoga.
At home exercises and stretches
6 – Construct a thorough birth plan
It’s important to have a birth plan so that everyone is on the same page during your birth. Just remember that birth may change and deviate due to unforeseen events, which is perfectly fine as it’s your birth journey.
When you are completing your birth plan, be clear and state exactly what you want. Remember this is your birth and not someone else’s. Examples of what you can add include clarifying boundaries, birthing props to be used, the type of birth (in a birthing pool, c-section or vaginal), the environment (dimmed lights, at home, hospital, relaxing music)
Birth plan template – https://www.bubhub.com.au/printables/BirthPlanTemplate.pdf
Developing a birth plan- https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/servicesandsupport/developing-a-birth-plan
Example of a birth plan- https://www.hypnobirthinghub.com/wp-content/uploads/Website_Resources__Birth_Plan.pdf
7 – Listen to your body
It’s important to listen to our bodies because when we are pregnant, we tend to try and do everything we used to whilst we were not pregnant. Our bodies whilst pregnant go through huge changes and will be using a lot of energy due to us supporting not only ourselves, also our unborn child/children. When you feel tired or overwhelmed, please take the opportunity to think, that it’s your bodies way to so slow down.
Below are a few ways to relax:
- Warm bubble bath
- Hire a cleaner or doula to help around the house
- Mindfulness colouring-in
- Apps: Calm
- YouTube: https://www.mindthebump.org.au/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpRqLh6IGN4
8- Fourth trimester
There is usually support during the whole pregnancy and delivery of your bundle of joy, however, once you leave the hospital, it’s expected you should know what to do. It’s so unfair that the fourth trimester is always overlooked, and I believe it’s one of the trimesters that needs more support as the 1st few years can feel like a rollercoaster and there is no instruction manual on how to look after your baby.
Here are some ideas for your family to help you adjust to family life.
- Maternal health nurse.
- Breastfeeding lactation consultant
- Construct a postpartum plan prior to having bub. It could outline what sleep deprivation is, how to cope, taking turns feeding and or naps, etc.
- Ensure your family and friends know what to expect when bub is born. For example, no smoking, make sure you have your whooping cough vaccine etc
- Hire a postpartum doula to help you adjust to mum life.
- Prepare some meals and freeze them prior to your bundle of joy is born, so you don’t have to stress and cook straightaway.
- Setting up feeding area and change area near the bed. Ensure everything is in hands reach and easy access.
- Baby sleep consultant for when bub is 4 months old.
- If you have had a c-section, ensure the bed or lounge is at a height that is comfortable to sit and or sleep on. I remember when I returned home my bed was so high because I’m a shorty. My partner was so kind, he placed a wide step and helped me get into bed and or on to the lounge.
Tummy Talks – CLICK HERE
The Fourth Trimester Audio Book – CLICK HERE
9 – What to pack?
When people suggest packing your bag during your second trimester, I kid you not, it’s an excellent recommendation. It’s important to be prepared and have yours and bubs bags already in the car because you just cannot predict what bub has in store for you. I remember the one day I had to take my bag out when I was pregnant with Mazikeen, and boy, it was a day to remember as little Miss had other plans for our little family.
Here are some ideas of what to pack in your bags.
10 – Watch the “Birth Time” documentary with your partner
I’ve heard so many people highly recommending the ‘Birth Time’ documentary, this is something on my to-do-list. The documentary was produced by 3 women. The three women share to their viewers the trauma that some women have gone through in the Australian maternity system. The ladies interview women across Australia, midwives, obstetricians, authors and the list go on. From the reviews that I’ve read, is that the documentary can be confronting because it documents the issues that arise in our healthcare system, however, it’s an excellent documentary because it educates women to stand up for their birthing rights and what to expect.
To watch the documentary
Thanks everyone for reading my blog.
I hope that the 10 tips have provided you and your family with some helpful information and prepare you for your journey.
My name is Aleena Arnold, and I am a qualified doula who has trained at the Doula Training Academy and based in Albany Creek, Queensland. If you would like more information about my doula services, please contact me:
Phone: 0438 956 177
Email: [email protected]