How to Prepare Your Body for Your First Labor and Delivery
If you are pregnant, you have already heard the horror stories from friends and family about the labor process and the final delivery. Vividly graphic and not sparing the use of plenty of colorful adjectives, these well-meaning people have weaved stories that could cause you nightmares. However, it doesn't have to be a time of fear when you birth your baby. There are some steps you can take to improve the overall labor and delivery experience. Check out the options below to see how you can do your own preparations.
Start early in your pregnancy to develop a routine of daily exercise that you can sustain throughout your whole pregnancy. Walking is a smooth, easy-on-the-knees exercise that will strengthen your core and even your pelvic muscles. This will help tremendously during the labor and delivery. Gentle, stretching Yoga is also beneficial as it loosens and limbers the muscles and joints. Concentrate on inner thighs, pelvis, and core muscles for added strength when it's time to push.
Stretch that Vagina
Make sure your vagina is prepared for the stretch that will come with childbirth. Perineum skin tears are painful. You can avoid or minimize these tears with a little care beforehand. Some women choose to rub coconut oil on the vaginal area in the weeks leading up to birth. Selenium, Vitamin C, and Evening Primrose Oil are all known to aid in skin elasticity and overall skin tone.
Vaginal massage is believed to be helpful, too. With gentle fingertips, massage the outer labia and perineal area to help promote blood flow and elasticity to the area. Gentle insertion of two fingers into the vagina can also help to prep the vagina for the stretching and pushing that is coming. Warm wash cloths used during the pushing stage are both comforting and helpful in preventing tears.
Delivery can be painful, especially if you choose natural birth. This is the time when full concentration is required. Remembering to breathe is crucial. When you hold your breath and push, you risk popping blood vessels in your face. Holding your breathe denies oxygen to the muscles, causing cramps and fatigue. After pregnancy and birth, complications with leg veins and spider veins can develop. Luckily there are many treatments available, even pelvic congestion syndrome treatments that can help you get back on track.
Try relaxing through the painful moments. When you tense up during a contraction, you effectively stop the birth canal from opening. Open your hands. Relax your fingers, then your arms. Breathe. Try to relax your neck and back. Yes - your abdomen is hurting, but you can relax the tension in the rest of your body. It will certainly make the pushing easier to handle.
Your labor and delivery will be as unique as your own baby, but it can be a little daunting. Use these tips to help your body feel more prepared to take on that stress.
Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy. For more information on pelvic congestion syndrome treatment, check out an Ivein Vein Center.