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Childbirth is by no means easy, physically and emotionally. It entails a lot of overthinking and ‘what ifs’, especially when it is your first time. Even if it is your second or third pregnancy, the experience of giving birth is different and the overwhelming feeling of what will come is still there. Thankfully, there are ways to decrease the anxiety you feel regarding labor and delivery, and we have listed them down for you.
Relaxing and calming yourself is the best way to clear your head and not think about the upcoming life changing event. Deep breathing is one of the popular relaxation techniques as it is proven to decrease your heart rate and the tension in your body.
It is one of the popular relaxation techniques as it is proven to decrease your heart rate and also ease the tension in your body. How to do it:
- Inhale, hold your breath for a few seconds
- Exhale for four seconds, making sure that you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Modified Bellows Breath:
This breathing technique relieves the tension you feel. It helps open the chest and lungs which relieves the tension in the spine. Do it about 2 to 3 times and you will feel your body relax.
- Stand straight with feet a shoulder-width apart and arms held in front with palms together at chest height. Shoulders should be relaxed.
- Open your mouth as you inhale and stretch your arms to a T position while doing so. Don’t forget to lift your chin.
- Exhale completely while you tuck your chin and tailbone, round your back and bend at waist and knee. Hands should rest on thighs.
Knowledge about labor and delivery will help ease your mind and avoid overthinking. Try looking for good reads about it and know your options. You can also try reading about different ways of giving birth and know whichever seems to suit you. Don’t forget to tell your doctor about your preference since not everyone can undergo cesarean or water birth.
Strengthen your body
Undergoing labor requires a lot of strength and stamina. Imagine being in the delivery room for more than 6 hours, you are very tired, but your baby still won’t budge. You will have to stay a few more hours and you will need great amount of reserved strength to be able to push the baby out. This can be done with Yoga.
Pre-natal Yoga is a must as it helps with the shift of the center of gravity and relieves back pain associated with pregnancy. Yoga alleviates the aches and also strengthens your back, legs and abdomen to prepare your body for giving birth. Aside from being physically helpful, yoga also improves emotional health. Here are some yoga techniques you could practice at home:
Seat on the Floor: This posture reduces lower back pain, discomfort and pressure from pregnancy. Keep your spine straight while sitting down. Make sure that your entire back, from shoulder to the pelvic tailbone, is in a straight angle. You can lean your back against the wall for some support. You can use a mat or a firm cushion to support your buttocks.
Knee Rocking: This helps alleviate the discomfort you feel in the hip joints because of your growing baby. As your baby grows, it impinges the nerves in the hip, buttocks and thigh area giving you back pain.
1. Sit in a cross-legged position.
2. While cradling the left leg with both arms, lift it towards your chest and abdomen as far as you can.
3. Make sure that you are comfortable while doing so. Keep your back straight, then hold your leg as high and close to you as possible. Do not force yourself if you can’t, avoid straining your body.
4. Moving from the hip joint, gently rock the leg back and forth like putting to sleep a baby.
5. Do it a few times then switch doing it to the other leg.
Pregnant women still need to exercise as much as possible, but with caution. Some studies suggest that going around and doing housework is also a form of exercise as it gives them more energy, less back pain and a better body image of themselves.
Some moms opt to attend antenatal classes because of they are able interact with other moms-to-be who they can share their experiences with. Antenatal classes are also informative as they teach you how to prepare for labor, labor signs and when to call the hospital, the different stages it entails, different birth positions, relaxation and breathing techniques during labor, early parenting, breastfeeding and also understanding your newborn’s behavior. Antenatal sessions are run by a registered midwife, physiotherapist, consultants and even private doctors.
Prenatal massage is not your ordinary massage as it caters to the needs of pregnant women. It relaxes the muscles, eases pain, and improves blood circulation and mobility. Some studies say that it also improves your mood, lowers stress, reduces depression and anxiety about birth and also lowers the chance of preterm birth.
Mind Making Technique:
Seeking support regarding labor is very important. It can be in any form wether you can consult your gynaecologist/physiotherapist/medical practitioner. You can discuss your fears,thoughts or any kind of queries with them. You can also share if there is any medical condition associated with your pregnancy and seek knowledge regarding that.
They can help you make your mind regarding labor and also give detailed information about the choices of having birth you prefer. They also provide knowledge about initial childcare after giving birth.
Create a birthing plan
A birth plan is a document that you give to your doctors to tell them about your preferences about the procedure to manage the pain during labor. Although not all procedures are the same for everyone, you can still suggest it as it might be the right plan for you, but still be open to other options if the process does not go as planned. Some hospitals give a birth plan worksheet to explain the philosophy of it and also explain the services they have and what they don’t have.
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