If you're at that point in your pregnancy where you're starting to think about when baby gets here, then here are 10 things you must do to get ready for birth and labour.
It can be a daunting thought, even if it's not your first time in the labour suite, so the best advice we can give you is to be as prepared as you possibly can be (while accepting things can just be out of your control!)
Feeling prepared will make you feel more confident when you do go into labour, and hopefully it can make the whole experience a more enjoyable one for you.
With that in mind, here are 10 things you can do to prepare for labour and birth which should have a positive impact on your birth and transition into motherhood.
10 things you must do to get ready for birth and labour
- Keep a positive mindset: We see you rolling your eyes! But trust us. The mindset you bring to your birth is going to impact your perception of the experience. That obviously can't reduce the risk of something unexpected happening, or of a medical emergency for example, but it can help how you react in those situations. Have you heard of hypnobirthing?
- Think through the logistics: Things like the quickest route to the hospital, how long it takes to get there in rush hour, which part of the hospital you go into, who'll look after the dog (and other kids if you have any).
- Pack your hospital bag: There's more to this than meets the eye. It's best to pack individual bags for labour, recovery, partner, and baby. Think comfort, include what y0u need for feeding baby, and don't forget your snacks! Read our checklist here.
- Have your packed hospital bag at the door: It has to be very easy to grab when the time comes - and packed and easy to find in case someone needs to get it for you.
- Make childcare (petcare) arrangements: This probably becomes most stressful when you have to dash in the middle of the night. But just have your dedicated person on speed dial.
- Leave instructions: If someone is coming in to look after your kids or pets, make sure you leave detailed instructions. The best way to do this to ensure you don't forget anything is to lay it our from the moment they wake up until bedtime.
- Prepare your body for labour: This includes helping to get your cervix ready for labour, encouraging baby into an optimal birth position, and strengthening and activating the muscles used during childbirth and postpartum recovery.
- Create a birth plan: Birth plans are great to help you feel in control but to educate you on choices and options you might not even have known existed! But it's important to expect the unexpected and accept that not everything will go as you planned.
- Antenatal classes: Free online birth classes mean there's no excuses. Forewarned and is forearmed and these classes really do help to educate and empower.
- Get ready for postpartum: It's vital to have planned in advance for when baby comes home. Things like batch cooking and freezing nourishing meals for when you're too tired to cook; buying personal care products for postpartum, like pads and nipple cream; getting your feeding essentials, whether you're bottle-feeding or breastfeeding; having a safe sleep space prepared; and having baby's carseat installed.