Pregnancy is a significant time in every family’s life and everyone’s pregnancy is different. Pregnancy is a time of preparation. Preparing for changes that occur when a new family member enters into the equation. Sometimes thinking that far ahead is a little overwhelming and typically most pregnant women, specifically those pregnant for the first time, focus on how the pregnancy will end—-The Delivery of the baby.
Mental and physical preparation for the delivery is a good thing. I think women/families that are prepared and educated on the delivery process and what to expect, are better able to handle childbirth.
Merriam Webster Online (2008) defines LABOR as:
“Expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult; the physical activities involved in giving birth (as dilation of the cervix and contraction of the uterus).”
If I told you that you were going to run a marathon in 9 months, 26.2 miles and 385 yards (42.195 kilometers), you would immediately begin to prepare. Prepare mentally as well as physically. You would change your diet, eating only healthy foods that would help you gain muscle mass and energy. You would begin physically training, working on building stamina and strength. You would mentally challenge yourself, using techniques such as visualization; visualizing yourself running through the course until you cross the finish line.
What if I told you having a baby is a lot like training for and running a marathon. It is physically and mentally challenging, and when you complete your race/delivery you will feel like YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!
Imagine the thrill of finishing the race/holding your baby in your arms. There is no other feeling quite like it. You are on an “endorphin high”. Endorphins are produced by your body during times of stress and strenuous activity. They are known for their affects as analgesics, pain relievers, and for their ability to create a sense of well being in the body. Doesn’t that sound nice?
No, you will never forget how hard or difficult your labor was, but you will not care. WHY? Because you will have a beautiful baby that will represent all your hard work and “it will be worth it”.
I recommend learning all you can. Use the information available to you. Research pregnancy and childbirth using your local library and the World Wide Web. Visit the links on my “links to the Latest and Greatest on the Web”. Begin your training.
When entering into your third trimester, it would be a good idea to consider taking a childbirth preparation class. This is a great way to prepare as a couple. Childbirth Classes cover many relevant topics including, stages of labor, preparation for dealing with pain, pharmalogical pain management options, routines and procedures, and most importantly comfort measures. Becoming an educated consumer will enable you to make informed decisions in regards to your delivery process. You will be an ACTIVE PARTICIPANT; the leader and head honcho.
As an active participant in your own labor, if you decide to deliver in the hospital setting, your health care providers will be following your lead. Your relationship with your care providers should be based on a mutual trust; you and your health care team will be working towards the same goal–the goal of fulfilling YOUR BIRTH WISHES, how you envision your delivery/your tentative delivery plan.