You’ve spent nine months growing a little one, you’ve got the nursery ready to go and piles of tiny clothes are all washed, the last step before you can meet your baby is the birth. Labour preparation will differ depending on where you’re planning to have your baby and your personal needs, but it’s important for every mother to feel ready, confident and calm.
Birth is an unforgettable moment, so we’ve listed the important things to know and do before the birth of your baby so you feel prepared and know what to expect.
Understand the birth process
It’s completely rational to feel overwhelmed at the thought of giving birth, you’re about to bring a new life into the world. At times during your pregnancy, you might feel like closing your eyes and ears to anything birth-related, but it’s actually a good idea to be fully prepared for what your body is about to go through.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to completely escape the pain of childbirth, so it’s better to have established coping, breathing and calming techniques, all of which can be learnt at a birth class. To find the right class for you, it’s best to start looking for one around month three. With so many different types of deliveries available, you should research the class to suit you by reading articles and watching videos. This all might sound slightly scary, but rest assured it often looks worse than it is and will show you what a magical moment birth will be.
As we said, there are many ways to give birth including natural births, water births, epidurals or an elective C-section. We suggest preparing yourself for as many of these as possible as your chosen method isn’t always possible.
Knowing how you would like to give birth and making sure that your birthing partner understands the process too is very important. Having a strategy will make you feel a lot more in control of the situation, even if your baby comes unexpectedly.
It’s also important to understand what will happen if there are any complications and the kind of support you’ll require will make you feel less apprehensive. With your birthing partner, go through everything you need and make sure they know how to best support you in any situation. When you’re in pain or something isn’t going to plan, you might not be able to communicate what you need, so it’s important to have someone who can get this across on your behalf.
Midwives and doctors
During pregnancy, you’ll be visiting your GP or healthcare practitioner often and they’ll put any health concerns you have at ease by assessing yours and baby’s health. They’ll also put you in contact with a midwife who will be able to give you more information about pregnancy, birth & parenthood. Depending on whether you’re supported by the NHS or a private clinic will determine if you can choose your midwife, but don’t worry as they’re all professionally trained and have brought plenty of healthy babies into the world before yours comes along.
It might seem slightly early to be finding a doctor who will take care of your baby after birth, but if you’re not already happy with the doctor you have, it’s best to find a new one sooner rather than later. Leaving things until the last minute when you’re pregnancy will add unnecessary stress when you should be putting your feet up and relaxing.
Your birth plan
The key to keeping everything simple and as stress-free as possible is to be organised, right down the socks, you’ll wear when you into the hospital. Thankfully, you have months to think about everything that needs to be done so you can create spreadsheets, whiteboards, planners or anything else that works for you.
Some mothers like to go with the flow, which will work for them, but for most, it causes more stress nearer to the due date if you’re not 100% sure on your birthing techniques. Your birth plan doesn’t have to be regimented army style, but by planning as much as you can, you’ll put your mind at ease and give yourself more time to focus on keeping happy and healthy.
Mind and body ready
It might seem obvious, but staying calm and relaxed throughout pregnancy and labour will help you to stay healthy. We know there might be a plethora of things you want to get done before your little one arrives, but if it’s not vital, then leave it until after (or get somebody else to worry about it!)
Stress is not needed and won’t be good for either of you, so channel your inner zen into becoming a mother. The mind is a very powerful tool and you’ll find that thinking positively will help your body to do incredible things. Whilst you definitely need to take care of your body during pregnancy through healthy eating and exercise, however, if indulging in a slice of cake or another treat after eating your greens puts a smile on your face, then we say do it.
Organise before and after
We’ve spoken about how to prepare for the actual birth itself, but you’ll also need to think ahead to those first weeks & months after your baby is born. You’re going to need endless supplies of nappies, clothes, breastfeeding aids or formula, car seats, pushchairs and more. It might seem like the list of ‘essentials’ is never-ending, but if you buy beforehand, you’ll have everything you need to enjoy those early moments.
Your friends and family are going to want to give you gifts too, so make sure you have a list of essentials ready. This way you can tick off items from your checklist and make sure you don’t have any items you won’t use.
Plan your hospital or birth centre journey
It seems very obvious, but sometimes things get forgotten and they’re quite often the most important. Driving to the hospital should be as straightforward as bundling into the car and going, but if you’ve ever gone on an impromptu weekend away, you’ll know this is far from reality.
It’s important that you plan the route you’ll be taking, which car and where your designated driver will be at any given time as labour is the champion of unpredictability! Have in mind the length of the journey, so that when you’re screaming faster, you can assure yourself there are only 10 more minutes left to endure. Also, have a plan B in case of emergencies.
Get your hospital bag ready
One of the most crucial aspects you need to have ready is your hospital bag. Some people like to plan these from very early on or leave it slightly later, but it’s important to have it packed and ready to go in the final month of your pregnancy.
We believe that less is more and take a minimal approach to packing a hospital bag. There’s no need for your partner to have aching arms from carrying your whole wardrobe and the kitchen sink. Instead, consider how long you’re going to be there (usually 1-2 days), what you need to be comfortable, your little one’s first outfits and any other necessities you need. Take a look at our hospital checklist for more information and discover our softest hospital bag essentials for your new arrival.
Prepare your home
When you first arrive home from the hospital, you’ll want it to be a place of tranquillity and calm. Get in touch with your zen side a few weeks before your due date, to make sure serenity seeps in every corner of your home. For everybody, this will mean something different from candles, to throws everywhere or a huge supply of chocolate - just ensure your home is a sanctuary for you and your new arrival.
Some general things that might give you a sense of peace are making sure the house is clean (maybe it’s time to treat yourself to a cleaner for this), ensure the fridge is fully stocked with a few treats added in, a comforting space to chill out and all of your baby’s essentials in an easily accessible place.
Make preparing for your new arrival a little simpler with our Starter Set, a thoughtful collection of all the essentials a newborn needs, crafted in the softest fabrics for a gentle touch.