Childbirth is by no means easy, physically and emotional. 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 are feeling regarding labor and delivery, and we have listed them down for you.

Relaxation techniques

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 also the tension in your body.

Deep Breathing: 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, and 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 loosen up.

1. Stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart and arms held in front with palms together at chest height. Shoulders should be relaxed.

2. Open your mouth as you inhale and stretch your arms to a T position while doing so. Don’t forget to lift your chin.

3. Exhale completely while you tuck your chin and tailbone, round your back and bend at waist and knee. Hands should rest on thighs.

Self-empowerment

Knowledge about labor and delivery will help ease your mind and help you 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.

YOGA.

Pre-natal Yoga is a must as it helps with the shift of the center of gravity and also helps relieve 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 pose 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.


Exercise

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.

Antenatal classes

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 about 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

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.

Create a birthing plan

A birth plan is a document that you give to your doctors to tell them about your preferences during 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.

The basics of a birth plan include your name, contact information, doctor’s name, hospital or center you want to give birth in and who you want to be there with you during the process. You can also include some preferences during labor like you want to walk around freely, use of a birthing chair, have a warm shower or bath, use of stool softener and so much more.