Preparing for labor doesn’t mean just packing up your hospital bag; you’ll also want to get ready for labor and childbirth.
You can up your chances of having a shorter, easier labor by using these five healthy tips:
- Stay in shape – Women who keep fit during their pregnancy typically have shorter labors. That’s because fitness improves your stamina. So it will mean you have enough energy for labor and will be less likely to need medical intervention, such a C-section. So, after getting your doc’s OK, make sure to do pre-natal yoga, walk, or swim regularly.
- Distract yourself – when your contractions start, try to keep calm. If you stress out right away, you’ll wear yourself out. Stay calm with meditation, or try focusing on other activities during early labor: take a walk or a shower.
- Get lots of sleep – It may be hard to fall asleep towards the end of your pregnancy: you’re having to go to the bathroom lots and just can’t get comfortable. We suggest using body pillows or sleeping in a recliner. Studies have shown that pregnant women who got six hours of sleep or less during their last few weeks of pregnancy were more likely to labor longer.
- Do squats – Being upright during labor will help move your baby along, but that requires strong legs. You can stregthen your legs by doing squats. Here's how do them: stand up with your hips back. Keep your back straight and your shoulders and chest up. Look straight ahead. As you bend your knees to squat down, try to keep your knees in line with your feet. Some people reach their arms forward as they do a squat, like the woman pictured above. Others like to keep their hands on their thighs. Try doing 20 squats to start with and then increase the number later on.
- Take a childbirth class – If you know what’s going on in your body during labor, you’ll be much more able to handle it. The stress of not knowing what’s happening may make your labor longer. You could bring a friend, your mom, or your boyfriend along to the childbirth class. That way, they can help you through the actual thing. Ask the instructor whatever questions you might have about what happens during labor and what it feels like.
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