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The word "labour" horrifies every woman on the planet. All the television & filmy drama has created a spooky effect to the word. Is it really the way people interpret it?? The answer is No!
Every woman is physically & psychologically different. No two bodies experience the same effects of pregnancy and childbirth. Hence, each one has a unique experience of the same.
Thankfully, these days we have every hospital providing with child-birth education well in advance to expecting parents free of cost. I really advise every expecting parent, both mother & father to attend such talks and seminars. It's really important to know what goes through a woman's body during pregnancy & labor. Knowing facts well in advance helps in the preparation of mind and body for the big day.
There are also separate sessions for fathers-to-be which make them understand pregnancy and all the hormonal changes a woman goes through and learn to keep them happy during this phase. After all, why should mothers have all the fun? Fathers can also experiment during this phase. (My husband craved particular food more than I did while I was pregnant. lol).
I hadn't attended such sessions because I never understood their importance at that time. But then, I spent hours surfing the internet reading everything related to pregnancy and the birth process. Yes, it was scary knowing new & unbelievable facts, but I had my mind ready to face whatever would happen. I followed proper exercise, learnt the breathing techniques to be followed during labour, and also read about the aftereffects of childbirth.
I lived in another country far from my family and I was really scared. I told my husband 1000 times during my months, to accompany me in the labour room even if the doctors didn't allow it. And yes, he did the first time and added to my strength by being right next to me, holding my hand tight with mixed emotions on his face. The next time, I advised him to wait outside, because I know I could manage by myself and also, you know, men become weaker during such times, maybe because they can't see their loved ones in pain or maybe they can't tolerate panic. Talk to your man before deciding on this.
With God's grace I had normal deliveries without much hustle. Though, my labour was intense and lasted hours the first time. The second was moderate and the third one, well I didn't feel like I gave birth at all. It got over in no time.
With my experience, I would like to share some important points on labor and childbirth process.
1. Please! Please! please! Get to know the process well in advance. Talk to your doctor, consult an expert, ask questions, talk to experienced women around, google and youtube everything.
2. Attend the childbirth education sessions somewhere. Take your partner or the one who you decided would accompany you in the labour room. This will prepare your mind & body to be ready.
3. Learn and practice breathing techniques that you must follow during labour. Believe me, if you follow this, you will reduce your delivery time by half.
4. Do not panic or scream during labour. This will worsen things for you. Instead, breathe and relax. You know that this is temporary and will be over soon.
5. Do not push your baby out whenever your body urges you to push. Push only when your doctor tells you to.
6. Google "episiotomy" and be prepared. It's better to be ready than be shocked and struggle with the pain later. Also, discuss this with your doctor.
7. Try not to eat anything when you start feeling the pain. You will feel menstrual cramps that will intensify with time.
8. You won't feel continuous pain during labour. It occurs in intervals. For me, it was intense for 10 seconds every 4 minutes. And those 10 seconds required me to breathe deeply.
9. Take the epidural only if your doctor advices. Otherwise, try giving it a skip. After all, it is this pain that you would cherish your whole life. An epidural will take away this pride for life.
10. Exercise well during pregnancy to have a normal delivery. Avoid going for a c -section unless advised by the doctor.
11. Keep your hospital bag ready well in advance with all that you would need.
12. Try learning newborn care & breastfeeding techniques in advance.
13. You will feel the hungriest after delivery. Keep lots of food ready.
14. Rush to the hospital once you start feeling the pain.
15. Walk! Walk! walk the most in your last weeks. This helps the baby move down to get ready for normal delivery.
16. Wait until after your baby enters the world, there's the placenta too that you need to deliver. Lol.
17. Read about "Postpartum depression" and seek help from your partner, family & friends whenever you feel depressed. It's all hormonal changes, nothing to worry about.
18. Remember, labour is temporary and short-lived, and your body is made to face it. So, relax!
19. Don't worry if the baby leaves stretch marks on your body. Those are "tiger stripes" you know and take pride in them. In many cases, they vanish. Keep oiling the belly area for the last 3 months of pregnancy. Then they won’t be significant.
They say "God gives only so much pain to a human, as much as they can tolerate". Have faith and give your best. Let God do the rest. Keep motivating yourself that you are giving life to a lil human. You need to be strong. Maintain your body and mind once you get comfortable after birth. It's really important to look after yourself. If you want a healthy family, maintain a healthy you first.