Birth is the biggest single transition of your life. It’s no wonder you may find yourself becoming preoccupied with preparing for this moment. Here are 5 tips to prepare for birth and parenthood:
- Prepare your body – Your magical body does almost all of the preparation needed for birth on its own. Your ligaments become lax, to allow for your baby’s head to fit through your pelvis. Your hormones prepare for labour and breastfeeding. You need to do very little more than what your body naturally does.
Having said that, it is worth preparing by staying fit – labour, birth and caring for a small baby needs stamina. Keep exercising gently to the end of pregnancy. You should also strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to support your pelvic organs – the uterus, bladder and bowel – through the last weeks of pregnancy and birth.
- Prepare your mind – The enormous shift into motherhood entails a lot of ‘letting go’ – especially if you are used to being in control. Flexibility is vital because your birth and your newborn may not be exactly like you envisage. Try to avoid expectations of perfection and rather move on to acceptance. Be prepared to be more tired than you have ever been before.
- Prepare for labour – Probably the best preparation for managing pain can be learnt at antenatal classes. Make it a priority to have good antenatal classes in the second or third trimester.
You will not know when labour will start and it’s worth preparing your mind for the unpredictability of labour – when it starts and how it proceeds. This will allow you to be more flexible and less anxious as birth approaches.
- Prepare your home – Take time to prepare your home – not just the nursery but also things you will need once your baby arrives – like a few frozen meals, maternity pads and get all your work out of the way so you can enjoy your time with your newborn.
- Prepare your relationships – Your partner and other children will be impacted by this new arrival. Schedule ‘Us-time’ with each of them before the birth and then make a habit of continuing with it. For Dads, it may be a date night once a week or having breakfast together at your favourite coffee shop on a Saturday morning. Try to keep to this pattern even after your little one arrives.
For siblings, 15 minutes of one-on-one time each afternoon while the newborn sleeps will help to recharge emotional tanks for little ones who feel the loss of mom’s undivided attention.
The transition will be more enjoyable if you prepare with these simple strategies.
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