When it comes to giving birth for the first time, it can be both exciting and frightening at the same time. As much as the moment can be one of the most anticipated times of your life, if you do not prepare ahead, you may end up with lifelong scars and injuries. 

If you’re feeling a bit anxious about giving birth, there are things you can do that may help. Below are some tips for ensuring a smooth delivery.

1.  Get some rest

Unless you want to wake up exhausted after late-night feeding and burping sessions, delaying sleep isn’t a good idea. Getting enough sleep will help you feel rested and rejuvenated during the third trimester. Try going to bed a little earlier and taking naps when you need to.

2.  Get some assistance

Say ‘yes’ to any help that comes your way. It could be anything from offering to walk your dog, cooking a meal, or doing laundry. You might also benefit from hiring a doula to help during labor or afterward.

3.   Create a support system

In addition to family and friends willing to help, you may also need a lawyer before heading into labor. It will save you from unnecessary hospital errors and medical malpractice. Staff negligence can often cause birth injuries such as Erb’s palsy, which sometimes requires surgery and long-term care. With an Erb’s palsy lawyer by your side, you can be saved from significant financial and emotional stress.

4.   Eat healthily

Preparing for childbirth involves nourishing your body with healthy meals. Consume nutrient-dense superfoods during your pregnancy, like yogurt, lentils, low-fat meat, wild salmon, vegetables, and whole grains as you near the end of your pregnancy.

5.   Take a class

Childbirth classes are the best way for parents-to-be to prepare for delivery and labor. A wide variety of options are available. Most offer relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, labor positions, pain relief techniques, and some tips for basic newborn care. Also, you’ll be able to meet new people and connect with your partner, and you can ask questions concerning your delivery day.

6.   Be active

Labor is hard work, so getting regular exercise during pregnancy will help you prepare for it. Exercises that enhance strength and stamina, swimming, walking, gentle yoga, or low-impact dance classes will benefit you when it’s time to push. Ideally, you should exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.

7.   Relax yourself

You can achieve anything if you see it! It is important to train your mind to remain focused and relaxed on the big day by practicing mindfulness techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing. You can ease fear and anxiety using stretching, visualization techniques, or hypnosis. In fact, hypnobirthing might even prove beneficial to you during labor as a relaxation technique.

8.   Preregister

It takes just a few minutes to complete the hospital paperwork before you arrive. You can mail it back or scan it and put it in the bag you’ll take to the hospital. 

9.   Visit the hospital

To prepare for your delivery, you should tour the hospital or birthing center, either in person or virtually, so you can get a sense of where you’ll be delivering.

10.  Get your hospital bag ready.

Packing a hospital bag in advance is another great do-ahead task. It is also easy and fun! Check out our handy list of what you should bring to the hospital or birthing center and a few other things to have on hand for yourself, your partner, and your new baby.

11.  Make a birth plan

A birth plan can be a great way to lay out your wishes before you’re in labor, though it’s not mandatory. The labor and delivery team can learn about your preferences for pain relief, birthing positions, IVs, and your partner’s role (cutting the cord, suctioning, holding the baby).

12.  Get your supplies in order

Is there anything better than opening the pantry and seeing your favorite granola bars? Having laundry detergent, toilet paper, and frozen meals will give you the same pleasant feeling. You’ll spend more time cuddling your sweet new baby if you nest or stock up on what you might need ahead of time.

13.  Embrace positivity

Reading someone else’s labor story two days before your own delivery won’t help your nerves. And while you may love your mother, it has changed a lot since your mother gave birth decades ago. The best way to avoid falling down the rabbit hole of the digital age and maintain peace of mind is to edit the content you read carefully and the people you listen to near your due date.

14.  Ask questions

Ask whatever you want about the labor process, as it is absolutely normal to have questions or concerns about it. In addition to your doctor, whom you will likely see more often as your pregnancy progresses, your birthing class leader is also a great resource for any questions you may have. There’s a good chance that other group members also share your concerns. 

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It is important to understand that even if you have the best-laid plans, your labor may turn out differently than anticipated. Whether you need an epidural for a natural birth or something’s missing in your hospital bag, try to take these roadblocks in stride. The most important outcome is the health of the mother and the baby!