Giving birth is an exciting, emotional, and uncertain event. We've partnered with
The Mother Baby Center, a partnership of Allina Health and Children's Minnesota, to help make sure expectant moms are informed and prepared for this magic moment!
There is so much focus on the joy of preparing for a baby — choosing a name, setting up a nursery, folding tiny little onesies in the drawer — that we often forget to spend time thinking about how the baby will actually arrive. We're not here to tell you not to treasure those happy activities, but don't forget to also consider the upcoming delivery and how you'd like to bring your child into the world. Here are nine ways to prepare for a safe and healthy entrance for your little one — and for you.
Choose a Pregnancy Care Provider That's Right For You
Having a baby means making appointments for regular check-ups with a healthcare provider who will listen, share, and inform your care. Locate your nearest
The Mother Baby Center to find a provider who delivers there. For pregnancy care, you can choose from seeing an obstetrician/gynecologist, a certified nurse-midwife, or a family medicine doctor. Each of these specialists has different training, skills, and outlooks regarding pregnancy and childbirth, so you can choose one that caters to your health and your plans for labor and delivery.
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Tune Into Your Body
With near-daily changes in your physical being, it's important to observe and tune into what's happening from week to week. Report anything you're worried about to your doctor or midwife — he or she has seen it all and can tell you what's normal and what needs monitoring. A pregnancy diary is also a great idea for keeping track — don't forget to jot down your emotions, too; it'll be fun to look back on and reminisce!
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Being pregnant doesn't mean staying still. Unless your healthcare provider has identified a reason for cutting back on movement, most women can exercise at almost full tilt until close to delivery. Light activity like walking and stretching is important to keep up through delivery day — you'll need the stamina. And prenatal-specific classes like pregnancy yoga can help with strength, flexibility, and focus while also preparing your mind for the changes happening in your body. Be sure to talk directly with your provider about what level of exercise during pregnancy is best for you. Namaste, baby.
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Surround Yourself With Love
You don't have to sit in a drum circle covered in rose petals with your friends and family (unless that's your thing), but it's important to make sure there is positive energy around you — especially at this time of your life. If you have friends or family members who are self-focused or toxic in any way, keep them at a distance. The ones who nurture and support you fully? Those are your main people in this moment.
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Take a Birthing Class
Most communities offer both private and public
birthing classes — you can go to a series of them over a number of months or attend one session that’s a few hours long. Either way, you’ll leave with a clearer idea of the many ways childbirth can happen. The best sessions explore a variety of birth scenarios and options for dealing with labor and delivery. Ask your doctor for a recommendation if you don’t know of classes in your area.
Bonus: You’ll meet potential expectant-parent friends, too!
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Learn About Pain Management
Even if you're planning to get an epidural, you will feel some parts of childbirth, and it's intense. It's important to keep in mind that labor pain is productive pain, so instead of fighting it or trying to make it stop, being present with it and accepting it can actually relieve it a bit.
There are many empowering techniques for managing pain — deep breathing, meditation, changing positions — so read up on what has worked for others and ask your healthcare provider for methods to practice as well. The more you know, the more options you'll have at your fingertips in the moment when labor happens.
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Listen to Your Body
There is an abundance of childbirth advice out there — both solicited and not. Friends, family, books, and even articles like this have a lot to say. It's great to stay informed, but remember that you know yourself best. Be sure to listen to your body and what's happening, and be an advocate for your care.
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Share Your Birth Plan
Talk to your doctor, your partner, and anyone else who's going to be in the delivery room about what you want the vibe to be. Calm and restful? Excited and celebratory? You can set the tone. By expressing your desires ahead of time, the people in the room will be more likely to be in tune with your wishes.
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Be Flexible and Open
It's important to remember that this is a set of wishes — great to aspire to and hope for, but not a set-in-stone plan for the day (or night). There are so many factors involved in giving birth that having full control is impossible. But don't worry, with these tips you've set up a strong support team and gotten yourself into a good mindset. Now be flexible and open to the experience, both mentally and physically, and go have the most joyful day of your life.
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