How do i prepare for labor prenatally?
A question I get asked a lot is, “What should I do prenatally to prepare to cope with true labor contractions?” To this I say, practice, practice, practice. How do you form good habits? You repeat doing something until it becomes natural and you do it without thinking. This is my answer to how you should prepare prenatally for labor. Begin using your coping mechanisms and techniques, whatever they may be, FAR BEFORE any true labor contractions begin. Like, 20 weeks early…or NOW early. Anytime you feel pregnancy woes, aches or pains, or notice a stressor, try a new coping mechanism that uses movement until you figure out a few that feel good.
A common thread in coping mechanisms that will help to keep your body lose is MOVEMENT. This is because when you are moving, you begin to loosen and prevent tension that can lead to increased pain. Try and keep movement in your practices. This can look like swaying hips back and forth, or doing figure 8’s with your feet shoulder width apart. It may look like squatting repeatedly with blooming arms as you rise and fall with your breath. Keep your breathing steady and flowing with your movements.
There is no one right way to do this. Every BODY is different and perceives the waves of labor differently. Every BODY will use different coping mechanisms and some will work better than others. Getting in your own rhythm of coping mechanisms takes practice. Was that a braxton hicks? Time to practice.
Focus on your breath with each movement. Expand your belly as you inhale and fill your lungs with air. As you exhale, breathe down and out of your vagina, visualize as your breath exits through your birth canal. Repeat to yourself, "Open." Your baby rides the gusts of wind as they work with your contractions to move down and out.
There you did it! One practice down. Repeat this exercise with different movements. Get in the birth state of mind and own that unpleasant pregnancy symptom. Use it as practice to get in the habit of coping. Before you know it you will start having true labor contractions. They will come and go as you continue to breathe and just do what you already know. Cope with the rush and allow your body to OPEN. Bringing your baby a little closer earthside with each wave. You can DO THIS. You ARE doing this.
Find your rhythm. What coping mechanisms worked for you during labor?