The WHY & HOW TO Prep for Birth

I recently saw this very interesting infographic on a fellow doula collective’s page:

costs

Puts things in perspective, huh?!  So true though, that we spend so much time, effort, and money on a wedding day, yet birth is thought of soooo differently!

Birth will be the most memorable day of your life — likely even moreso than your wedding day.  You are, afterall, bringing a human that YOU MADE into the world.  Adorable.  So why not at least put as much loving preparation into it as you might for a wedding.

1. Take prenatal classes!
If you are having your first child, do yourself a favour and take prenatal classes.  For reals guys, they are worth the money.  It’s not even that much money (usually less than $300/couple)!  I am partial to the ones at Childbearing Society in Vancouver (I am apprenticing to teach with them), but there are so many options out there depending on your specific birth plans.  You will learn about what birth REALLY looks like (nothing like what Hollywood shows us), what to expect, how your partner can support you, not to mention meeting a bunch of other people who are also preparing to have a baby!  Speaking as a doula, they help get the bulk of the information covered so that we can discuss the specifics of what you would like YOUR birth to be like in our prenatal visits and address all your questions and concerns.  Prenatal classes — they’re fun and chill and SUPER informative.

2.  Prepare your body
Birthing a baby is unlike anything you have ever done in your life.  You wouldn’t go do a marathon without training (I hope!), so why would you go into childbirth without doing some preparation?  Whether it’s prenatal yoga, swimming to feel light and buoyant, personal training at the gym to work your squats n’ lunges, or doing some preparatory stretches and exercises at home, it’s all useful.  Add to that some breathing exercises.  YES, I said it– Breeeeaathiiing.  It’s only, like, the most important thing to keep us alive and to achieve and maintain a more relaxed physical and mental state in times of challenge.

3.  Prepare your mind
Tell all your friends/moms/aunts/grandmas to keep their traumatic birth stories to themselves.  Birth has changed a lot over the years, every person and baby are different making every birth different, and you can make decisions for your own body.  Read/listen to positive birth stories, educate yourself on the process and your options (with a doula!), go to pregnancy and breastfeeding group meetups.  Read as many or as few books as you like!  Ask people for specific recommendations–here some are mine.  Open up the birth conversation with your partner about what you both feel and envision.  Acknowledge your fears, talk about them if you like, then set them aside, and get yourself into a positive frame of mind about birth because worrying isn’t going to do anything good for you in labour.  All you can do is prepare your mind so that you can make good choices for yourself and  be in a good headspace for birth–it truly helps.

4.  Prepare to be busy
In a prenatal class I was attending, one partner said that she was preparing for the birth of their baby by coming home from work and keeping busy with household tasks…instead of sitting and relaxing.  Uhhhh AMAZING IDEA!  It can be a shock to the system when you realize just how much work it is having a newborn at home.   You’re going to (likely) be at home all day with the baby wishing your partner was there to help, so partners can expect to be needed — even if they’re tired or have had a stressful day.  Keep it in mind and expect it.  Make the necessary arrangements to have family/friends help out, or hire a postpartum doula if you need extra baby help (overnight even!).

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