When you're pregnant, you probably spend a ton of time thinking about the future. And few future events weigh more heavily on you than the prospect of childbirth. If you're a planner, you probably want to plan out the event as much as possible. And knowing what to do when you go into labor will help you deliver the baby safely.
Of course, no one can foresee the future, and you will probably have to accept a few unexpected changes in your delivery. But taking time to think through the labor process beforehand can help you get as ready as you can be. It's an easy way to learn more about what may or may not go down in the delivery room.
If nothing else, you can feel more confident and prepared for birth. Especially if this is your first baby, you probably have some understandable anxieties about childbirth. I mean, it is often regarded as one of the most arduous tasks in the world, so it's normal to feel some concern. With that in mind, here's how you can pay attention to your contractions, approach your birth plan with an open mind, and focus on the birth itself when your baby is arriving.
1. Listen To Your Body
For many women, knowing whether your labor is the real deal can be somewhat tricky. For instance, knowing the difference between Braxton Hicks and real contractions can help tremendously. But once you're certain this is real labor, then you can get ready for the big dance to begin.
2. Monitor Your Contractions
You may not need to rush to the hospital as soon as you feel contractions. According to Parents, keeping track of your contractions, particularly how long each one takes, is a helpful way to know when you're getting close to the actual birth. Your doctor will let you know when they're close enough for you to ready for the baby's arrival.
3. Alert Your Doctor & Midwife
Once your contractions are regular, you may want to contact your physician or midwife. These professionals will be able to determine whether you're in active labor, as noted by Baby Center. And once you're in active labor, then it's close to go time.
4. Grab Your Bag
If you aren't having a home birth, then you'll want to have a go-bag packed for your delivery adventure. Your hospital bag should be customized for your own needs, and full of any clothes, snacks, and medications that can help you power through the pushing. Just try not to forget the bag when you're heading to the hospital.
5. Get In Place
Whether you're having an at-home birth or going to the hospital, you'll probably want to get in position once your contractions are really going. So catch a ride to the birthing center or fill up the birth pool. It's almost go-time, and you probably want to avoid giving birth in the back of your car.
6. Call Your People
OK, so you've probably already done this. But if you want any friends or family nearby when you're delivering, now is the time to alert them. This is not a rehearsal.
7. Go With Your Birth Plan
Chances are, you have some strong feelings about how you want your birth to go. According to Baby Center, your birth plan can outline how you want to approach medication, procedures such as amniotic sac breakage, and assisted delivery. It's smart to work through all of these decisions beforehand.
8. Be Prepared For Changes
That said, births do no always progress as planned. You may need to rethink your position on getting an emergency C-section, for instance, if your baby is breech. But whatever happens, you should get to meet your baby soon.
9. Focus On The Task At Hand
Once you're really in labor, then there will come a time when nothing matters except bringing your baby into the world. As noted in Parents, relaxing your mind can help make your labor experience less painful and possibly more productive. By this point, your go-bag, birth plan, and everything else can fade into the background as you focus on your baby's arrival.