Last updated on Jun 11th, 2021 at 12:34 pm

By Julia Boltt

Physical preparation

  • Eat healthy. Avoid the temptation to binge. “It’s very important, especially in the last trimester, to focus on eating as much raw fruit and vegetables as possible. Even when you have a C-Section it’s important to keep eating healthily,” says midwife Nicolette Barkhuizen. Eating badly will make you feel more uncomfortable, bloated and irritable.
  • Stay active. If you’ve been exercising throughout your pregnancy, keep it up in the last few weeks. “Yoga, Pilates, and squatting are good preparation for labour,” says Barkhuizen. Even if you haven’t been active during your pregnancy, a daily walk is a good idea: “Exercise will help you feel energetic.” However, always follow your doctor or midwife’s guidelines on exercise, and don’t exert yourself.

Mental preparation

Mental preparation is probably the most important part of preparing for birth. “It’s very important to stay focused and calm,” says Barkhuizen.

  • Practice relaxation and breathing exercises daily, while simultaneously playing the music you’ve chosen for your labour. It will help put you in the right frame of mind.
  • Visualise your birth. “I find that visualisation works very well if you feel stressed. It puts you in a place where you feel calmer,” says Barkhuizen.
  • Find a birth intention. “I like to have birth intentions and want moms to ask themselves what intentions they want to bring to their birth, such as bringing love and being present,” says doula Rosalia Pihlajsaari.
  • Be flexible. Pihlajsaari advises that a lot of the preparation should focus on embracing the unexpected aspects of birthing and shifting with whatever is happening: “When everything the mom does is to the best of her ability, she’ll have the best birth she can have – whether it’s a natural birth or C-section.”
  • Educate yourself. If you’re having a scheduled C-Section, make sure that by 37-38 weeks, you’ve talked through the procedure step by step with your gynae. Get as much information as possible. If you have concerns about the procedure, raise them now with your doctor in order to process them before the birth day.

Emotional preparation

  • Don’t forget about your partner. “Spend time together, go to a movie, eat out and make sure he feels part of the birth too. He must be made aware that he’s part of the decision-making team,” says Barkhuizen.
  • Tell your partner what you expect of him after the birth. If you’ll be sharing responsibilities that were previously only yours, don’t assume he’ll know what’s expected of him. Talk it through beforehand.
  • ‘Me time’ is also important. Spend time with people who motivate you, but also do something special for yourself. Go for a massage, reflexology, or a manicure and pedicure. There won’t be time for pampering once the baby arrives.

 

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