Are you prepared to be a parent? It’s a question that runs through every expecting parent’s mind at some point.
Let’s face it, birth is the biggest single transition of your life. It’s no wonder you find yourself preoccupied with preparing for this moment. Here are my top 5 tips to prepare for birth and parenthood:
Prepare your body
Your magical body does almost all of the preparation needed for birth on its own. Your ligaments become lax, to allow for your baby’s head to fit through your pelvis. Your hormones prepare for labour and breastfeeding. You need to do very little more than what your body naturally does.
Having said that, it is worth preparing by staying fit. Labour, birth and caring for a small baby needs stamina. Keep exercising gently to the end of pregnancy. You should also strengthen your pelvic floor muscles to support your pelvic organs – the uterus, bladder and bowel – through the last weeks of pregnancy and birth.
Prepare your mind
The enormous shift into motherhood entails a lot of ‘letting go.’ Especially if you are used to being in control. Flexibility is vital because your birth and your newborn may not go exactly as you envisage. Try to avoid expectations of perfection and rather move on to acceptance. Be prepared to be more tired than you have ever been before.
Prepare for labour
Probably the best preparation for managing pain can be learnt at antenatal classes. Make it a priority to have good antenatal classes in the second or third trimester.
You will not know when labour will start so it’s worth preparing your mind for the unpredictability of labour – when it starts and how it proceeds. This will allow you to be more flexible and less anxious as birth approaches.
Prepare your home
Take time to prepare your home. Not just the nursery but also things you will need once your baby arrives – like a few frozen meals, maternity pads, etc. Get all your work out of the way so you can enjoy your time with your newborn.
Prepare your relationships
Your partner and other children will be impacted by this new arrival. Schedule ‘us-time’ with each of them before the birth. For dads, it may be a date night once a week or having breakfast together at your favourite coffee shop on a Saturday morning. Try to keep to this pattern even after your little one arrives.
For siblings, 15 minutes of one-on-one time each afternoon while the newborn sleeps will help to recharge their emotional tanks. Some little one’s feel the loss of mom’s undivided attention more than others.
The transition will be more enjoyable if you prepare with these simple strategies.
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