Identifying the warning signs, getting ready for the stages of childbirth, preparing yourself both physically and mentally, packing your bag and your baby’s bag… All these material concerns will help you stay in control of this huge life event.
Good preparation will allow you to plan the birth more calmly and help you feel more relaxed in your final months of pregnancy. Your midwife will advise you on the types of preparations which are right for you. Make sure you discuss this with her.
The general idea is to learn simple methods for unwinding, breathing and muscular relaxation.
These methods are also useful for recuperating after pregnancy, helping you to preserve flexibility and muscle tone.
- Yoga: this can help you listen to your body, and fight fatigue, insomnia, anxiety and muscle pain. A good way of improving breathing, flexibility and muscle tone.
- Perinatal haptonomy: this is practised as a couple or with someone you know. Helps improve bonds, prepares you for parenthood and reduces tension and back pain. Allows you to get used to positions which will help during the birth.
- Sophrology: based around relaxation and self-awareness, this is a good method of relaxation which brings you to a state close to sleep and teaches you to let go of your tensions.
- Pool preparation: this facilitates relaxation, since the weight of your heavier body is supported by the water. Swimming gently maintains your muscles, relieves back pain and various tensions, and promotes improved blood circulation and better digestion.
During the group preparation sessions, you will also have the chance to enjoy interesting conversations with other mums-to-be.
There are two different methods of childbirth: natural vaginal delivery or caesarean section.
Vaginal delivery is the natural method: baby arrives head first. It is possible that baby will not turn around: this is referred to as a breach birth, and is a little more complicated. Most of the time, baby presents normally: delivery involves no particular risk and takes place naturally. Waters breaking, cervical dilation, birth and delivery proceed over a variable period of time. Birth can be induced if it is taking too long, if term has been exceeded or if there is a risk to the mother or child.
A caesarean section is the option taken by the medical team when there is a risk to the mother or child, for example if the baby is incorrectly positioned, the mother’s pelvis is too narrow, or the baby is premature or shows signs of foetal distress. For all these reasons, a caesarean section may either be planned in advance or decided at the last minute. A caesarean involves incision of the mother’s stomach under local anaesthetic.