We can all agree that labor and delivery involve pain. However, there are different ways to think about and cope with pain and discomfort. During my first pregnancy, I made the mistake of sharing my plans for a natural birth with a hair salon full of other mothers. They scoffed at my intention with phrases like "wait and see" and "you'll change your mind in the moment." Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn't, but I was determined not to feel scared. Whatever your plans, here are some helpful things you can do now to make labor less painful. Experts agree that preparing for the big day can have a positive impact on your childbirth experience.
"First of all," says Kate Howell, a certified yoga instructor who teaches prenatal and postpartum classes, "we have to forget every image we've seen in movies or TV shows portraying women going into active labor with no warning signs. I mean the ones with a woman's water breaking in the middle of the grocery store or a restaurant totally out of the blue. The scenes usually resolve in a hospital room with the woman in labor in a hospital gown screaming for drugs and cursing her husband. Well, this is just not the way labor happens. Nevertheless, this is the way laboring women have been portrayed, and we have grown up consuming these scenes." From re-thinking pain and developing coping strategies to hiring a doula or taking a childbirth class, here's a definitive list of tips from experts in childbirth.