The 3 Week Diet

Top tips to ensure your birth goes smoothly

Waiting to give birth can be one of the most tiring, frustrating things you’ll ever experience. You’re the size of a small country, you’re tired but can’t sleep, hungry but have no room left in your stomach, and you’ve got minimal energy. However, it’s important that you fight the urge to hide in your bed until the time comes to give birth. Annoyingly, there are plenty of things to organise before the big day, so stop scowling, put on some extra-stretchy maternity-wear and roll up your sleeves!

The most important thing you can do is decide how you’re getting to hospital. If you’re planning on having a hospital birth, and you don’t have a car, please don’t even consider getting the Tube. Of course, you might be fine – but wouldn’t you rather not have 30-odd people watching swearing and sweating? Save yourself a huge amount of hassle, and hire a car in the run-up to the birth. It goes without saying that you should have a designated driver, but you’d be surprised how many fiercely-independent women try to drive themselves to hospital. We don’t care how well you think you deal with pain – do not try this.

You’ll need a bag for your hospital stay – don’t assume you’ll be in and out in three hours. Remember to pack a change of clothes, at least three changes of underwear, pyjamas, nursing bras, sanitary towels, toiletries, make-up, a book you’ve wanted to read for a while, and a few fluffy towels. Your partner is in charge of change for the hospital car park and food. Remember to take a few bottles of mineral water and some snacks – your labour may take hours.  Being without your home comforts will be horribly stressful, so double-check you’ve got everything you can see needing for an overnight stay.

Remember that this is going to be one of the most fantastic, emotional days of your life – but you’ll also be pushed to the brink, so don’t let anyone hijack your birth. Overenthusiastic mother-in-laws, parents, siblings and friends might want to be with you during your labour and straight after, but if you’re not comfortable, just say no. You may hurt their feelings, but it’s better than having those precious first hours with your baby spoiled by overcrowding, which may lead to months of resentment. It’s your body, and your baby – let the rest of the world in when you and your partner are ready.

There’s a very high chance that the medical care you’ll receive will be wonderful, but for extra peace of mind, you can always check to see if your midwife will be available, and if they’re not, who will be? Having the right people around you can make all the difference, and you’ll feel more confident in your abilities if you’re well-acquainted with the people who are helping you. Likewise, if you feel the staff that are attending the birth are being less than helpful, make your opinion known. Complain, get your partner to tell a member of staff that you’re not happy, and make sure they get the names of the people that have been working with you. You’re in pain, yes, and you might be slightly bad-tempered – but you’re not to be treated like a second-class citizen. Better to make a fuss and get the birth you want than keep quiet, and always remember your labour with a shudder of regret.

Finally, make sure that your body is well-equipped to give birth. It’s probably the most mentally and physically demanding thing you’ll ever do, so ensure that you do some gentle exercises and stretches in your final few weeks, and watch what you’re eating. Well-meaning people might encourage you to ‘eat for two’, but beware of sugary snacks and refined carbs that’ll leave you bloated and lethargic. Stick to healthy, balanced meals, try a Pilates or swimming class, and remember that you’re about to experience some pretty hardcore exercise – so make sure you’re up to the task!

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    Category: Women's Health

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