The average first pregnancy lasts approximately 40 weeks (9 months). During that time, your body is going to go through so many changes that it will make your head spin.
Whether you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant or you’re in the latter stages of the third trimester, it is never too soon for you to start preparing for childbirth.
Here are 4 things that I recommend doing early in preparation for labor…
#1 – Research… so you’ll know what to expect.
Start learning about everything that happens during the childbirth process as soon as possible.
Many first-time parents assume that childbirth is as easy as going to the hospital and having the baby. But there are a lot of things involved in the birthing process.
Looking back, I wish I knew then what I know now!
I was a lot younger with my first pregnancy and certainly less aware of what giving birth entails. I thought the only thing I needed to do was to set up the nursery, buy some clothes, and stock up on diapers.
Sadly, once my water broke, I immediately realized that I had no idea of what to expect — or do — which was the reason why I was so afraid of giving birth.
#2 – Do Kegel exercises.
Regardless of whether you plan to deliver vaginally or have a cesarean delivery, doing Kegel exercises will help to prepare your body for a safe child-birthing experiencing.
Pregnancy puts a lot of stress and weight on muscles that you probably aren’t aware of.
As your pregnancy progresses, your pelvic floor muscles will get a serious workout.
To prevent the weight of your unborn child from damaging your pelvic muscles and to give you greater pushing power for a vaginal delivery and to help you recover faster, do several sets of Kegels each day.
Here’s the good news: Study after study has shown that regularly doing Kegels during and after pregnancy can help decrease the odds of complications. What’s more, research has also suggested that women who do pelvic floor exercises may have shorter active phases of labor than other women. And as if that’s not enough, Kegels have even been shown to boost your sex drive and help you climax more easily. Source
To do Kegels, all you have to do is clench your pelvic floor muscles for a few seconds and then release them.
Here are 13 different ways to do Kegel exercises.
#3 – Prepare yourself physically and emotionally.
Take a good look at your body and accept the fact that no matter how your pregnancy progresses, your body is going to change.
Many of those changes are not as attractive as you may like, but they are necessary for you to have a healthy baby.
In addition to the physical aspect of the childbirth experience, there are some mental and emotional changes that you’ll go through as well. You may feel excited about seeing your new baby. You may also feel a little sad and depressed that the pregnancy is over.
As happy as I was to finally meet my firstborn, there were periods of time when I felt really bummed about her not being inside of my womb anymore — where I could feel her little jabs and kicks.
Here are 6 post-pregnancy body changes that no one tells you about.
#4 – Prepare for your post-baby body.
No matter how many celebrities you see having babies and jumping back into a size 2 practically the next month after delivery, accept the fact that it’s not ideal.
Every woman recovers differently.
It’s important for you to accept your body the way it is — both before and after childbirth. Your body may not bounce back so quickly after having a baby.
For my first pregnancy, I had no trouble getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight. But I didn’t really notice the extra pounds were gone until I stopped trying to lose the weight.
That said, if you stay in shape during your pregnancy, then you’ll have an easier time shedding your baby weight after childbirth.
For most women, it takes somewhere between 3 months to 1 year to shed the excess pounds — and for some moms, it can take significantly longer. Something important to keep in mind: The more weight you gain while pregnant, the longer it will take to get back to your pre-baby poundage (so you probably don’t want to take that whole “eating for two” thing literally; your body doesn’t need that many extra calories). Source
Childbirth is a physical and emotional roller coaster.
There will be times where you feel as if you are on the top of the world, and times where you’ll feel not so great.
No matter what, acknowledge your feelings and talk them out with someone close to you — and love and hold your baby a little more.
Helpful Advice When Preparing For Labor
- What NOT To Wear At A Hospital Birth
- Think You’re In Labor? Here’s When To Call The Doctor
- 10 Things To Do Before Your Baby’s Birth
- Things To Do At Home Weeks Before You Go Into Labor
I’m a stay-at-home mom and writer. Having experienced the joys and discomforts of pregnancy 3 times, I have a lot of advice to offer expecting mothers. I’m committed to providing new moms with an in-depth and honest view on pregnancy, so you’ll have a better idea of what to expect and a good feel for what pregnancy is really like.