I have come across many young women in my life including friends and family who were having a baby but knew very little about what they were getting themselves into. They often walk up to me and ask me for advice, pregnancy tips for normal delivery. I always say the same thing. Deliveries and especially normal deliveries aren’t a walk in the park. There are definite do’s and don’ts but it is more about understanding what your body is going to go through and prepare accordingly.
So with that in mind, and before we get into pregnancy tips for normal delivery, let’s start off by defining what is a normal delivery. Normal delivery is giving birth whether it is assisted or induced. There is no other kind of delivery, just a normal delivery. Having a cesarean delivery is not a choice, and I can’t stress this enough. It is an emergency measure and should be viewed as such.
In some countries, and I know this first-hand, it has become common practice by hospitals to induce labor and go for the cesarean. Now, this is not advisable. The doctors may be looking for an easier way out for themselves and maybe even make a quick buck. Sometimes the mother is scared of the pain she may have to endure and goes for the easier option.
There are certainly ways to make normal delivery easier. Having a cesarean delivery is not the “wrong” or “bad” choice. But mankind and animal kind is well equipped to giving birth naturally. Knowing why, when and how is vital to make an informed decision regarding your own health and the health of your baby. Which leads me nicely to the first of my 15 pregnancy tips for normal delivery.
Pregnancy Tips to Prepare for Normal Delivery
1. Buckle up and get ready for the ride
It’s one thing being pregnant and another to be prepared for it. You have to think of pregnancy as a roller coaster ride. There are many ups and downs, thrills and moments that will have you scared for your dear life. The changes that the body goes through are not easy to digest and require some getting used to.
Morning sickness, body image issues, stress are all part and parcel of having a baby. Being mentally prepared for nine months of uncertainty will go a long way in making sure that you are well prepped for a natural birth.
2. Don’t be a fool, educate yourself
There are more than enough resources out there, including our site that offer insights into pregnancy and offer pregnancy tips for normal delivery. It is on you to educate yourself and judge what is best for you. There is no better alternative to being informed, neither your mother or your doctor can make decisions for you. Join a class, some forums, maybe a group and learn as much as you can about having a child and natural birth.
Having a normal delivery is not entirely up to you. Sometimes even if you do everything by the book, you may be required to go under the knife. But that’s life and doesn’t mean that you should not educate yourself and leave everything to the powers that be.
Do what you can to make your natural delivery a reality and a success. Take the necessary precautions especially during the 9th month of pregnancy. Don’t be a fool.
3. Be confident of yourself and your body
I have come across many intelligent and well educated women who are just plain scared about giving birth. It’s usually because of some anecdote they’ve heard or some horror birth stories they’ve read somewhere. Take a hold of yourself! Being distressed can be harmful for your baby and hamper the natural birth process.
Giving birth naturally is not easy, granted. But the horror stories you hear are anomalies. The pure joy you get from giving birth is unparalleled. You have to keep an eye on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and keep reminding yourself about it.
Be confident about yourself and your body. Give yourself credit and know that you can handle it. Yes, giving birth isn’t going to be easy, but nothing in life really is. Be prepared but always be confident.
4. Find the right doctor
It is quite remarkable just how many women compromise on this but finding the right doctor is an absolute must. The thing with normal deliveries is that your mindset, your confidence, your comfort are the most important players. Having a doctor who you even slightly mistrust or are put off by is a big no-no.
Find an experienced doctor or doula. Someone who eases your fears and helps you relax. Someone who you feel you can trust and are comfortable with. Make sure that your doctor is on the same page as you. Put your knowledge to use and establish what you want from the relationship. Judge just how comfortable you and your doctor are with each other’s ideas. Don’t leave anything to chance. If you don’t feel 100% sure, switch!
This bond with your doctor plays a huge role not only through the 9 month pregnancy period but majorly during the normal delivery process. It is vital that you satisfy yourself before committing.
5. Diet during pregnancy
Diet plays an important role during pregnancy. Not only does it impact your health and the health of the baby, but it also impacts your normal delivery. Being overweight increases your chances of requiring a c-section. So maintain your weight by maintaining a healthy diet.
Don’t believe old wives tales about what to eat and what not to. There is no proven research on foods that can help with normal deliveries. All you need to know is that having a healthy diet means that you are healthy and in a much better place to combat the rigors of pregnancy and natural child birth.
6. Exercise is very important
This list of pregnancy tips for normal delivery would be useless without the mention of exercise. Make sure that you are physically in the best condition possible at the time of delivery. Your physical fitness like your diet will determine if your body has what it takes to go through the ordeal of a normal delivery.
Incorporate exercises in your life that help increase your heart rate. Cardio exercises like walking and jogging are great for this. Make sure that you maintain flexibility in your body. The Kegel exercise is especially useful since it strengthens the thigh and pelvic muscles. Both these muscle groups play a huge part in delivery. Similarly, the pelvic stretch is great too.
Build your stamina. Giving birth is a long procedure that will require loads of energy from you. If you end up exhausted, your doctor will be more inclined to move towards a c-section. Don’t give him that chance. Get fit!
7. Relax your mind and your body
There are plenty of techniques out there that can help you take control of your mind and body. The ultimate aim is to learn relaxation techniques so that you can be in control during normal delivery. The human body tends to tighten up when under pressure and pain. By learning how to relax various muscle groups you can make your delivery seamless. Do yoga, take Lamaze classes and make breathing exercises a part of your routine. Be one with your body.
Progressive relaxation is a technique that allows you to learn how to relax various muscle groups. You focus on different muscle groups every day starting from your eyebrows, neck, shoulders, etc. With each passing day your control on your various muscle groups increases.
Conditioning your body against pain will also do wonders. The Grip exercise is a great way to do that. Try strengthening exercises so that your body has a higher threshold of pain. It is imperative that you learn how to deal with pain and exertion without allowing your body to tense up. Relaxation will make your natural delivery much easier.
8. Perineum massage
The perineal massage is a relatively unknown technique that will help your body get ready for normal delivery. If there was just one tip I could pick from these pregnancy tips for normal delivery, it would probably be this.
The perineum is the lower area of the body that contains the vagina and your anus. By massaging that area between the two extremities regularly you let the muscles and tissues of that area become more flexible. This also helps with swelling, joint pain and overall relaxation of the body.
The perineum massage is recommended in the 7th month of pregnancy. Just hook your thumb into your vagina and massage the perineum gently from the inside and outside. By pushing the walls of the vagina with the thumb, your skin will start getting used to the stretching sensation that it will go through during normal delivery.
Hydrotherapy has a great affect on labor and labor pains. I have heard this from more than a few women that warm water does an incredible job in soothing and relaxing the body. Making hydrotherapy a part of your pregnancy lifestyle is a great option, especially during the last trimester.
It has been suggested by some that water at too high a temperature is harmful for pregnancy. It is recommended to use lukewarm water around 100 F during hydrotherapy.
10. Have a strong support system
The physical and mental stress related to having a baby is unlike anything else. The woman giving birth needs to feel relaxed and comfortable. Having a strong support system goes a long way in making sure that the soon-to-be-mother is ready for normal delivery.
It is quite natural that as a woman, you would look towards your friends and family for moral support. Having someone there to take care of you, to talk stuff through with you and support your decisions. Your confidence and ability to relax is highly dependent on your support system.
Pregnancy Tips for Normal Delivery
1. Picking where you want to give birth
This one is one of the more understated concepts when it comes to having a baby. I have already said this many times but the comfort and relaxation of the mother is of prime importance. It’s not hard to understand that a mother will only be truly comfortable if she is in an atmosphere that makes her feel comfortable.
For some women, hospitals just doesn’t do the trick. Maybe it’s a fear of hospitals or the discomfort of being in a foreign place. In any case, you make the decision about where you want to give birth. Don’t let anyone else make this important decision for you.
2. Drink fluids and lots of fluids
Remember that when you’re in labor, you’re expending a lot of energy. Delivering a baby is hard work and you must keep yourself hydrated at all times. Whether it be sports drinks, juices or just water. Make sure that you are well nourished and well hydrated at the time of delivery.
You won’t be any use if you are losing consciousness due to dehydration. Plus your doctor would be forced to move on to a c-section if you can’t keep awake. Stay hydrated at all times and make the delivery easier for yourself.
3. Don’t tolerate more pain than you have to
I heard some women say that if you want to have a natural delivery then you must bear all the pain associated with it. As far as I know pain is never a good thing. It dulls your senses, tightens your muscles and causes intense emotional stress. You should always have open options during delivery in case the pain gets unbearable.
Epidurals have come a long way in recent years. They are released slowly into the body and are meant for longer lasting and steady pain relief. They are no longer risky and with the advent of patient-controlled epidural, you can control how much is injected into your body depending on how much pain you’re feeling. The epidural is a good option but it does take a little bit of time (15-20 minutes) to start doing it’s job.
The spinal is also an option, although it isn’t something I would recommend. The spinal unlike the epidural is just one shot with a effectiveness span of 45 minutes. It is most common for c-sections but may also be used for normal deliveries.
4. Make sure you’re comfortable
When you’re in labor don’t forget what I told you about comfort. Comfort is something that you need to be aware of always. During labor just before the delivery, don’t feel rushed and flustered.
Find a comfortable position, one where you feel the least amount of pain. Try a few different positions before you make up your mind. As long as you’re comfortable your body will be relaxed and the delivery will be easier.
5. When it’s time to push, keep the bigger picture in mind
After all is said and done, and you followed these pregnancy tips for normal delivery to the letter. But when it’s time to push, you forget everything, panic and let your fear take over. All of your hard work would go to waste.
Keep calm, focus on your breathing, focus on your training, focus on your support system, the people who surround you. Remember your 9-month-long journey, remember all you learnt, remember all the pitfalls and the strength with which you persevered.
Keep your eye on the bigger picture. Be confident of yourself and your body. You can do this. There it is, the pot of gold. You can do this!