What Should I Be Doing Now to Get Ready to Give Birth?

Getting ready for birth

This is a very common question that we hear as birth doulas in our prenatal sessions with clients.

In this session, we meet with the pregnant woman and her partner, in their home, to discuss their birth plan, if she has written one, her birth preferences, the routine procedures and protocols at her birth facility and more.
This is an exciting moment for the new parents-to-be because it means that their pregnancy is coming to an end and they’ll meet their baby soon!
The meeting routinely ends with this question. While some may advise rest, exercise, nesting (all good ideas), I like to recommend practicing relaxation. As Americans, we aren’t very good at relaxing. We need to practice, as very few people (maybe none?) can relax on cue in a time of great excitement, expectation and physical stress like labor.

Here are some ideas: 

  • We recommend you take 15-20 minutes (at least) out of your day for mindful relaxation and practice. With all of them, we recommend incorporating “mindfulness” – a focus on the present moment only (versus thinking about the past or future.)
  • Listen to guided meditations or relaxations specifically for pregnancy and birth. You can find these wherever you listen to podcasts and through services like Expectful.
  • Listen to your favorite, calming music in your headphones.
  • Take a bath each evening, working to decompress and not think about anything at all!
  • Go for a non-intensive stroll around your neighborhood or by the water at dusk each evening.
  • Take a peaceful yoga class – like yoga nidra.
  • Take a HypnoBirthing class to learn how to enter a deeply relaxed state.

Birth is often referred to as similar to a marathon, and in a way, that’s true! You would never run a marathon (or 5k) without training first. Consider practicing relaxation to be your birth marathon training.

About Amy Lewis

Amy is certified by ProDoula as a labor doula, postpartum and infant care doula and postpartum placenta specialist. She was certified by the Healthy Children Project and the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice as a lactation counselor and is a birth, newborn and breastfeeding educator.

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