Ask The Doula Betty - Tips for D-Day
Setting the Stage for Labour
3 Tips for D-Day
As the long-awaited D-day approaches, many expecting parents start to wonder if there is anything they should prepare for when the time finally comes.
Keep in mind that these tips might not apply to you, as all births unfold differently! However, these tips are worth having in the back of your mind in case you find yourself needing them when labour day arrives.
1. Develop a Birth Plan that Reflects Your Goals
Only you know the type of birth you are hoping for. Do you want an unmedicated vaginal birth? Do you want to get pain medication as soon as you can, or try using other pain management techniques first?
Make a list of some of the biggest, most important aspects of your desires for the day you go into labour. Learn what the standards are at the birth location you are utilising, and ask questions about the things that are important to you.
While things won’t always go according to plan, make sure that your birth team and birth partners know what your desires are. This can help guide any decision making when the day arrives without the need for extensive conversations while you are in the middle of trying to have a baby.
2. Remember That Early Labour Can Last a Long Time... Or Not
When you first start to experience the contractions of early labour, it can be easy to get excited and start rushing around to prepare. Then if you wind up with a long early stage of labour, you have worn yourself out before it’s even time to head to the hospital!
In very early labour, focus as much as possible on resting, eating, and hydrating. If you wind up in early labour for days, you’ll be happy you conserved the energy. If not, great!
3. Nourish, Hydrate, Rest, Repeat
While some labours are indeed surprisingly fast, many can also be long and slow. It is important to treat your body well during labour by staying nourished (sipping on smoothies is a great way to keep your blood sugar and energy up), staying hydrated, and resting between contractions when possible. A tens machine is also a great tool to help alleviate painful contractions.
Because it’s hard to know how long your labour will last, you might as well treat it as if it is going to be a long one just in case. In other words, hope for a sprint, but prepare for a marathon!
No matter what, birth has a way of surprising you! You can prepare your mind and body to the best of your ability, but at some point, you might have to let go of expectations and just hold on for the ride.
Surrounding yourself with a supportive birth team and being clear about your goals and preferences is the best way to prepare for the unknown of labour and birth. Controlling every detail of the day will never be possible when it comes to babies entering the world, but being supported by the people around you will make a big, positive impact on your experience!