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Preparing for your first labor is scary.
There is a lot of information out there. And a lot of the information is pretty repetitive.
By the time you reach your third trimester you have probably read countless articles about kegels and hospital bags. And about water births vs squatting births, and about how imperative it is that you try different positions during labor. And you are maybe even feeling a little overwhelmed by it all.
I was fortunate enough, in my pregnancy, to stumble on a few absolute gems. Advice that went way beyond kegels and hospital bags and water births.
Having this information took a huge weight off my shoulders, and allowed me to focus on other things. After I read this advice, I actually felt prepared enough that I stopped reading.
Now, having been through labor, I can say this this stuff is gold – every woman should know these things before those contractions start.
(P.S. – if you are currently in the “labor advice” researching stage, I bet you are in the “I can’t get comfy enough to sleep” stage… or at least approaching it. Do yourself a favor and grab this pregnancy pillow for 50$ off – with the coupon code mommyonpurpose50 – just for my readers – because I feel your exhausted pain! I did not sleep, hardly at all, for the last three months. It was rough.)
Regardless of what sort of birth you’re aiming for – epidural, just-the-morphine, or even completely natural – you want to read these posts.
The best (unique) labor advice I’ve ever read:
♥ Keep your hands relaxed during contractions – from How I Handled Pain During Natural Childbirth. This post comes from Jamie @ Simple Living Mommy, one of my very best (and wisest-at-birthing) blogging friends.
She says “keep your hands loose during your contractions and you’ll know that you aren’t tensing everywhere else”. (Believe me, when you are trying to get a baby out of your body, not being tense everywhere else is KEY.)
She also talks about how if you were in a coma and went into labor, that your body could deliver your baby for you. THAT is amazing, and absolutely makes the whole process seem easier. Read the post here – it’s full of amazing labor advice.
♥ Make time to take a good prenatal class – without leaving your house and relieve any fears you have. Here’s a great FREE Prenatal Class from Hilary @ Pulling Curls, who just happens to be a labor and delivery nurse, so she knows what she’s talking about. I didn’t make time for a prenatal and when my water broke I had no idea what to do. Should I go to the hospital? Wait for contractions to start? Try and catch some of it for looking at, maybe? Yikes.
I have (since the birth of my baby = far too late) taken Hilary’s Prenatal Class and, surprise surprise, she does in fact TELL you what to do if your water breaks. She is straightforward and not scary – which is the whole reason I avoided the classes in the first place! (If you decide to go for her paid for course – don’t pay full price – I have a coupon code for that too: MOP10 will get you 10% off.)
♥ Re-think everything you’re reading about birthing positions and perineal massage – from How to Prevent Tearing (by Lindsey @ Mother Rising).
Just because something is trendy doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to do. This post really gives you some solid evidence for not squatting during pushing, and great ideas of what to do instead.
Lindsey’s take on perineal massage and warm compresses at birth lead me to having some really good conversations with my Doctor prior to delivery, and I believe that those conversations made a big difference in my labor experience.
♥ There is more to pushing than just screaming and “pushing” (because what does “pushing” even mean?) – from How to Push During Labor (by Paula @ Easy Baby Life).
Paula says “really try to relax the muscles in your pelvic floor and envision yourself blowing out a candle with some force”. She talks about how you are not actually using the same muscles as when you go to the bathroom (even tho it feels like it!). Knowing a little more about how to push before you go into labor really takes some of the stress out of the situation.
♥ Make deep, low sounds. High pitched sounds can make you tense, but low sounds can have the opposite effect. The post 10 Things to NEVER Say to a Woman in Labor is another gem from Lindsey @ Mother Rising.
The whole post is full of labor and delivery advice awesomeness. (It might not sound like a post full of birthing advice based on the title, but believe me, you need to read it. )
Labor is hard.
These posts can make it just a little less hard. Read them.
(Ok, I know thinking ’bout labor can be scary, so allow me to take your mind off it… go ahead and use that coupon code mommyonpurpose50, and grab yourself one of these adorable hooded bath towels FOR FREE, or to cheer you up. Seeing your itty-bitty all wrapped up in it will make labor feel worth while, ♥ I promise.)