As the days tick down and the midwife appointments become more frequent, the big due date draws closer. It’s almost time to meet your baby!
Naturally, it’s a really exciting time, but inevitably worry, anxiety and panic can also set in.
Read on for some tips on how to feel ready for birth and confident for the start of your parenting journey.
Pack your bags
Having your hospital bag ready and prepped for whenever your baby decides it’s time will immediately calm your nerves.
Spend some time going through your lists of what to pack in a hospital bag. Make sure you’ve got everything ticked off for both you and baby, and tell your birth partner where it is kept. Remember you don’t need the kitchen sink. Space can be limited, so just take what you think you will need. Your partner can always collect things for you while you are in hospital.
Keep any hospital notes or letters with your hospital bag so that nothing gets forgotten.
Book into antenatal classes
Many people attend classes with National Childbirth Trust (NCT), but these are not your only option.
Ask your midwife, health visitor or GP about NHS classes locally.
These will inform you of what to expect in birth and the first few weeks, but also a great way to meet other parents who are expecting babies at the same time.
Do your research
Pregnancy and birth are such personal experiences. No two bodies, births or babies are the same.
It’s handy to do some digging into what options you have available to you when the time comes. It will make you feel more comfortable about making decisions if you have more information.
You might want to consider:
- Where you might have the baby; labour ward, midwife-led unit or home birth.
- What pain relief options are available and how you feel about them.
- A visit to the birth facilities.
- The availability of birthing pools if you’d like a water birth.
- Hypnobirthing and how it can help with labour.
Consider your birth plan
Birth can’t be planned for as it’s down to nature as to how it will play out. That said, it can be useful to write a birth plan to communicate your wishes or concerns to the staff working during your labour.
Keep it flexible, as birth can always change, but perhaps make a note of what you wouldn’t want to happen.
Try not to be too disappointed if the experience isn’t what you expected though. Unfortunately, these babies don’t always play by the rules!
As well as doing their own thing, babies also work on their own timescales.
Unless your labour is super speedy, expect it to be a long process. If you’re induced, waiting for a c-section, asking for an epidural, there might be delays depending on staff availability.
Women ahead of you will be prioritised, so if their babies are coming faster, you might have to wait.
Try not to dwell on how long it is taking, and rather make the most of your last few hours. Look forward to meeting your baby, pack a book, download a boxset or try to sleep as much as you can. It could be a long few days.
Feel however you feel
There is no right or wrong way to feel after having a baby.
You might be exhausted or full of energy. You might be delighted or a little overwhelmed. You might be looking forward to lots of visitors, or want to be left in your own little bubble.
However you feel, just know that it’s 100% up to you. Accept your feelings and go with your instincts. Just be you. If you are concerned about anything or worried about low mood, seek medical advice from your health visitor, midwife or GP.
Batch cook meals
Once you and your baby arrive home, you may feel like you don’t have time to prepare food. You’ll want it to be ready when you’re feeling hungry. It’s also important to eat properly when breastfeeding and just generally to keep energy levels up.
Fill the freezer with plenty of nutritious pre-cooked and portioned meals that you can simply heat up. Ask friends and family to do the same too, to keep you stocked up.
There is lots more you can do to prepare for the birth, but the key is to not put any pressure on yourself. Women have been having babies for years and you just have to let your body do the work, and look forward to meeting your precious bundle very soon!
Feel free to check out our Pregnancy Advice Section for some more helpful tips!