Even if you’ve never experienced childbirth before, there is one fact about the process that is inescapable: it’s painful.
Of course, you won’t know just how painful it is until it happens, so in the meantime, it might feel like there’s nothing you can do but worry about it for the next nine months.
That isn’t entirely true. You can take many steps before your child is born to help you prepare for the pain of childbirth both mentally and physically. Here are three suggestions to get you started.
#1: Know What to Expect
The unknown is a scary thing, so one of the most effective ways to prepare for anything is to know what to expect. The same is true with childbirth. Throughout the duration of your pregnancy, get as familiar as possible with the labor and delivery process, so that you’re not completely caught by surprise when the time comes.
Your healthcare provider will undoubtedly cover the basics, but you should feel empowered to do your own independent research. Read books, follow blogs, do a Google search and see what happens. Maybe even try watching a video or two, to get a realistic picture.
Not only will knowing what to expect help you prepare mentally for childbirth, but it will help physically as well. When you’re afraid of something, your body becomes tense, and your muscles get less oxygen, which leads to more pain.
#2: Know Why Pain is a Good Thing
In doing research so that you know what to expect, you will discover the physical reasons why childbirth is painful, but it can also be helpful to understand the biology behind the process.
First of all, childbirth is a natural process that women have been experiencing for a very, very, verrrrrrry long time. Pain has always been part of that process, and for good reason.
Labor pains send a signal, telling you that you need to get to a safe place to have your child.
You can also use your pain as a guide for finding a comfortable labor position that alleviates some of the pain and helps move things along more smoothly.
#3: Know Your Pain Relief Options
Labor pain can be relieved many different ways, and knowing all of your options will help assuage some of your fears.
Whether you choose to practice natural pain relief methods – such as breathing techniques, relaxation exercises, or massage therapy – or opt for medical pain relief in its various forms, the most important thing to keep in mind is that it is exactly that: your choice.
As mentioned earlier, it’s difficult to anticipate what labor pain will be like until you experience it, so it is also important to know that, even if you have a plan in place, you can change your mind as long as it isn’t harmful to the baby.
Childbirth is definitely a labor of love, and the good news is that the pain ends once your baby arrives, which is definitely a wonderful reward!