Labor + Delivery can feel like one, giant mystery. You can read every birthing book ever written, but you don’t know what you are truly getting yourself into until you’re there! Learning from fellow mamas might be the best prep work you can do. (That and asking someone if you can watch them breastfeed - up close and personal - because holy that is a whole other subject for a different blog post.)
Read on to hear 10 tips from some beautiful, courageous mamas who have been there, done that!
1. “In all honesty it's very overwhelming but so worth it. When that baby comes you wouldn't even care if Joe schmoe walked in the room.”
2. “1. Be open minded. Go in with an idea of your “birth plan” but be flexible! You never know what will happen and no matter how your birth goes, you must be PROUD! 2. Does giving birth hurt? Yes it does! But the second that baby is born, the pain is gone. Keep your eye on the “prize” and know that you’ve got this!! 3. You may vomit... I had no clue this was a thing until it happened to me.”
3. “Oil on the perinium during labor to prevent tearing. 4 babies, no tears. Lifesaver!”
4. “As with anything- listen to your body... you know your body better than anyone. Ask questions- if it’s happening to you it’s happened to someone else. My mom gave me the best advice when I had my first and I asked what if I don’t remember Lamaze and she said “women in Africa do this all the time without any resources” - that put it in perspective that my body was made for this. Also, breastfeed, formula fed, sleeps through the night, doesn’t sleep at all, go back to work or stay home- in the end that doesn’t matter- what matters is the incredible human that grew inside you for 9 months and all the love you have to give.”
5. “I loved that yogi squat pose... it was hard at first but became a super comfortable position, especially with contractions! Have an open mind regarding labor+delivery. Also, it was helpful that I learned I needed to be vocal with my needs in the hospital. Staff would try and suggest I lay down or try something specific during contractions....but I was the only one who was going through this and knew what I needed best at that time! I would say don’t be afraid to be direct and ask for what you need.”
6. “Remember to breath...during moments when I am scared or stressed I sometimes forget to breath! Taking the time to meditate and focus on myself during prenatal yoga class helped me remember to “just breath, you can do this....”
7. “1. Have an idea of the type of birth you want to have. It may not go as planned, but remember that is okay. 2. Have Kristen teach you how to belly breathe. It's a game changer. 3. Trust in yourself and your body. Know that you are a B.A. women that can handle anything.”
8. “For me it was learning that the providers work for me, not the other way. My first delivery was traumatic, especially as a sexual assault survivor. I wasn’t prepared at all for the amount of people who would see me, touch me, etc. I labored for over 24 hours in the hospital. So many pelvic exams and shift changes. During my second pregnancy, I searched out a doctor that understood my fears of going through that again. I made it very clear that I wanted only one nurse and one doctor, and minimal cervical checks. My wonderful doctor made it happen. My second child’s delivery was night and day with my first. She listened and respected my wishes. She allowed me to labor in water (even after breaking my water). I had one nurse that came into my room and checked me. She saw me through the delivery and almost had to catch the baby because he came so fast. We laughed and cried. It was so beautiful. Be vocal about what you’re expectations are and find providers who respect them. They are out there.”
9. “Go into your birth day keeping your expectations for the process in check. Each birth is so different and be ok with changes to your birth plan. It will take off so many stressors that do not need to weigh you down.”
10. “It's a good idea to have a birthing plan before you go into labor, but you need to be prepared for nothing to go according to plan. Maybe everything will go just as you dreamed it would, maybe it won't. It's okay! Whatever you decide in the moment is OKAY. Remember that the most important thing about giving birth is making sure that baby comes out safe and healthy and that mama is safe and healthy as well. What works for one mama wont work for another and you will find what works best for you when you're in the moment. Once that beautiful bundle of joy is in your arms, none of that really matters anymore. In that moment, everything is perfect and better than anything you ever could have planned! You are beautiful, strong, incredible and so is your baby. Don't doubt yourself! Believe in yourself and know that you are capable of SO MUCH more than you think!”
“There’s a 99% chance you’ll poop when pushing. Accept that and realize that will be the last thing on your mind when the time comes!”
Most mamas advised going in with a game plan but remaining open minded. THIS IS GOLD!
*Reminder* if you know someone who just had a baby, check on them! If they are open to discussing, ask them how the birth went, bring them a yummy + healthy meal, and offer to cuddle babe while they take a warm shower! A support team might be just what that she needs.
You are an empowered, courageous, selfless woman!
If you are an expecting mama, know that you are going to do AMAZING, no matter how your babe comes into this world!
If you are healing from a traumatic birth or a birth that didn’t go as planned, mama I see you. Birth rarely goes as we expect it to and know that whatever you did was selfless and I know that you gave ALL that you had. You did AMAZING!
Thank you to all of the incredible women who gave their advice for this post!
Share + Comment below with your favorite birthing advice!