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A lot goes on when you become pregnant. From hormonal and physical changes to the adjustments needed in your personal life, professional life, and even your relationships, it may be difficult, especially for first-time moms. But some breeze through the pregnancy journey and each presenting symptom with ease. Indeed pregnancy and most significantly, childbirth, is different for everyone.
Expectations for the 3rd trimester
Some say that the 3rd trimester seems to be the hardest. You’ll feel heavier, not only because of how much weight you’ve added, but also how much the baby growing in your womb weighs. Although your baby’s kicks and turns can bring forth so much excitement and thrill, they also produce some discomfort at some point.
When you reach your 3rd trimester you might feel like you wanted to pull the hands of time to deliver your baby at the soonest possible time. You’ll always find yourself wondering what to prepare for the birth of your child and the items you may need as soon as your baby is ready to step into the outside world.
The moment you get to the 3rd trimester, it’s all about labor and childbirth preparation. Feeling anxious and nervous is normal, especially if you’re a 1st time mom. But as long as you follow a healthy lifestyle while pregnant and continuously communicate with your doctor about prenatal care preparation for your baby’s arrival, you’ll have a smooth labor and delivery.
Is it natural birth or cesarean delivery?
You may have discussed with your care provider whether you can give birth naturally or not. If you’re in tip-top shape and your baby’s condition is at its best, you’ll most likely go for a vaginal birth. Once in your final trimester, it’s common to think about how to prepare for normal delivery in your pregnancy. When you look into the advantages of normal delivery, you may lean into giving birth the natural way.
However, there are instances when cesarean delivery is the best option to deliver your baby. Suppose both you and your baby are at risk due to complications arising from a high-risk pregnancy. In that case, your ob-gyn will talk to you about cesarean section, its procedures, and the possible effects on you and your newborn baby.
Vaginal and cesarean deliveries have their pros and cons. Whether you give birth naturally or surgically, one thing is for sure; you’ll need to prepare yourself for your D-day!
10 prep tips for the D-day
Childbirth, also called birth or parturition, is the ending of every pregnancy signaled by the baby leaving the uterus through the vagina or cesarean section. Even with the advantage of due date calculators, it’s difficult to predict the exact date and time you’ll give birth, so it is imperative to equip yourself with all the necessary tools for your D-Day.
What are the most important things to prepare when you’re about to give birth? Here are some simple tips on how to prepare yourself for labor and delivery and a few days after birth:
1. Read a lot
If you love to read, this is the perfect time to catch up on your reading. You’ll find many useful resources on pregnancy, labor, and delivery both online and offline. There are even groups and forums that cater to frequently asked questions among pregnant women. If you are determined to have a natural childbirth, you can find valuable discussions on how to prepare for natural labor and delivery.
You may even come across tips on exercises to help prepare for childbirth posted by fellow mothers. Other popular topics in these online forums include exclusive breastfeeding, health and fitness, and postpartum care. It’s advisable to learn about pregnancy-related issues to empower yourself throughout the journey.
2. Stay healthy
The most important thing to do is to maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent any possible long-term complications. Eat a well-balanced meal and avoid food that’s either too sweet or too salty. It is also essential to keep yourself hydrated and take doctor-prescribed supplements such as folic acid, multivitamins, and iron that is good for you and your baby.
Stay up-to-date with the vaccination schedule for pregnant women. In these uncertain pandemic times, avoid social gatherings and regularly wash your hands to minimize the risk of getting exposed to COVID-19.
3. Get moving
Doing some light exercises at home is also part of keeping a healthy lifestyle. Many pregnant women do yoga because it’s believed to be a helpful routine exercise when preparing for labor and birth. Besides yoga, you can also do some other low-impact activities such as swimming, walking, or even taking prenatal exercise classes that teach you breathing techniques to alleviate labor and childbirth pains.
Do Kegel exercises regularly; they help prevent incontinence and strengthen the urethra, vagina, and rectum. To be on the safe side, always consult your doctor before engaging in any physical activities.
4. Set your mind
Do you believe in the saying practice makes perfect? Can you mentally train yourself for labor and childbirth? While you really can’t practice pushing your baby out of your body before your actual delivery, you can teach yourself how to mentally prepare for childbirth. It’s okay to feel nervous if you’re a first-time mom. Even those who’ve given birth before may still think that childbirth is nerve-racking.
The good thing is that you have 10 months to mentally prepare yourself not only for pain management of labor and delivery but also on how to handle the pressure of being a new mother. So keep a positive outlook and know that your labor and delivery phase is just but a temporary “painful” situation that will lead to something blissful.
5. Pack your hospital bags
When you hit your pregnancy’s final stretch, you might ask, when should I prepare my hospital bag for delivery? At this point, your bags must be all packed with the essentials needed for the hospital stay.
Have 3 bags ready; 1 for you, 1 for your baby, and 1 for the important documents like your health plan insurance card (if you have any), admission papers from the hospital, your birth plan, and other medical records related to your pregnancy. Organizing your hospital bags will not only be convenient for you, but will make life much easier for your hospital companion.
6. Know what to expect at the final prenatal visits
In your last few weeks of pregnancy, you’ll have to see your doctor more often than in the 1st and 2nd trimesters to keep track of your baby’s development until you reach your delivery date.
Besides monitoring kick counts, your doctor may order:
- An ultrasound scan to monitor your amniotic fluid
- Fetal biophysical profile test
- Blood group test
- Rhesus factor
- Non-stress test to observe fetal heartbeat, fetal movement, and contractions
- Internal examination to determine the changes in your cervix and to know if you are already in labor
Some pregnant women also seek assistance from a doula trained to support moms-to-be during their labor and delivery.
7. Discuss plans with family
Keep your family involved with everything about your labor and delivery. Ideally, your partner should accompany you to the doctor’s office during prenatal visits. Hearing the progress can give him the idea of what to expect when your D-day comes. It’s good to discuss your birth plan with the parties involved and the possible scenarios that may occur.
It’s also the ideal time to talk about maternity and paternity leave because you’ll need someone to assist you during and after your delivery. This journey is not a one-person show. You’ll need all the support, strength, and encouragement you can get from people while pregnant and beyond.
8. Settle your finances
One of the most important aspects of giving birth is being ready financially. Childbirth costs a lot and can strain your finances, especially if your pregnancy is unplanned or if you have to give birth by C-section. If you have health insurance that covers maternity and childbirth, well and good. But find a pediatrician who can take care of your baby from your insurance network to avoid any out-of-network expenses.
If you and your partner are working, check your company policies on paid maternity and paternity leaves. Since you won’t be working for some time, adjusting your budget will significantly impact your finances. Save up for the rainy day through an emergency fund because anything can happen.
9. Ask for help
The real “battle” begins as soon as your baby is out. With all the responsibility and demands of being a mother to a newborn, you may find yourself overwhelmed or exhausted. It is wise to think about your go-to people who can lend some help with the baby and other chores.
Besides nannies, your partner, mother, best friend, and even your neighborhood moms who offered some help while you were walking down the street are needed. Update your contacts to ask for help and give them a heads up once your baby is out and ready to see the world. They will surely be delighted!
10. Take a deep breath and relax
Negative thoughts such as fear, anxiety, and pessimism can cause so much stress not only to you but to your baby. This is a challenging process and the pain can take a toll on you physically, emotionally, or mentally, but the experience will surely be a memorable one.
Like any mother who has gone through a difficult labor and a challenging delivery, having your baby in your arms will surely make everything worthwhile.
Having a baby is life-changing. It’s a special event that everyone looks forward to so it’s advisable to plan and prepare for it to ensure a smoother process.