Giving birth is the end of a 9-month transformation. Many mums-to-be enter this stage with trepidation but there are a few things that will help most first-time mums appreciate their birth experience. Anita Guerra, midwife, mother and personal trainer, shares her top tips on giving birth for the first time.
Labour. The birthing suite. The end of a 9-month transformation and a lifelong journey. Many enter this stage with trepidation and rarely can you predict a mother’s response or experience.
While every woman and their journey is unique, there are a few things that will work for the majority.
As a midwife, mother and pre/post-natal personal trainer, I recommend these things for first-time mummas to provide the greatest chance to appreciate their birth experience.
1. Keep active during your pregnancy
Pregnancy places the body under the same level of exertion as Olympic athletes. A healthy, strong cardiovascular and muscular system will help:
- Your body deliver on delivery day;
- Care for your baby in the days that follow;
- Recover birth and surgery;
- Teach mental and physical connection;
- Strengthen stamina.
Ensure that exercise advice is suitable for pregnancy by using accredited trainers
My Fit For 2
girls are familiar with ending a session with a 3-minute wall sit, which while building strength also teaches mental and physical connection and stamina... Labour is not 3 minutes long, and learning how to get yourself through that challenge is a great introduction to persisting safely through discomfort.
2. Educate yourself while pregnant
Once you go into the birthing suite, it’s going to be a whirlwind followed by sleep deprivation, so you want to maximise your knowledge prior to giving birth.
At Fit For 2
, we provide a comprehensive education portal to provide you with information across a diverse range of topics:
- Pain relief options
- Stretching and birth preparation
- Expressing colostrum
- Post-birth recovery
- Who to contact when times are tricky.
Few will have the brain space or time to learn post-birth and you’re not going to be paying attention while in pain, so a focus on education in the lead up will prevent surprises when your birth team ask you if you would like a “stretch and sweep” – and you don’t think they’re celebrating early when they bring out a “balloon catheter”.
to take a look at our online education signature programs with a team of health specialists.
3. See a Women’s Health Physio
Your pelvic floor is the secret star of birthing day, and the key to your continence and sex life in recovery. Seeing a pelvic health physio will ensure you know how to activate and relax your pelvic floor and begin teaching you how to push. These experts can also provide advice on good posture practice to allow bubs a clean and hopefully easy exit. Also take note, even if you are planning a caesarean, your pelvic floor will have experienced significant strain from the pregnancy and is still worth a check in.
4. Mindset and Mindfulness
Labour is a mental game.
High expectations and strict birth plans can be recipes for disappointment. Always keep the end goal in mind – healthy mumma and a healthy baby. Visualisation strategies, meditation and mindfulness can assist with getting through the pain.
Mental fitness will also help with the impeding “matresence” (a.k.a journey into motherhood) that is one of the biggest changes you, your partner and your family will evolve through. If you or your partner have had depression or mental health issues in the past, identify options for care in the event of postnatal depression, and have the details ready so that your loved ones can be on alert and if you find yourself in need, you’re not scrambling for referrals.
5. Use Essential Oil
This is a personal passion which I believe can really assist with feeling in control and calm during your birth. Essential oils have great healing properties but can be potent, so get an experienced professional to have a birth kit created for you to reduce fear and anxiety, reduce pain and create calmness and have them write down the usage and use them to guide your journey. Remember to talk your birthing partner through it, too.
Being in the birthing suite as a Midwife is an honour, and it's important for first-time mums to remember that everyone in that room will be trying their best to help you reach a happy mum and happy bub outcome. It is a special rite of passage into motherhood – whether planned caesarean, induced, vaginal, complicated or quiet birth. You will not come out of that hospital the same as you went in. So be the best version you can be in your pregnancy.
Anita Guerra is a Registered Midwife and Certified Fitness Trainer. She runs Fit For 2 in South Morang, Victoria. To find out more about her and get in touch, click here.
You can also find her on Instagram.