With the number of c-section births on a continuous rise, it is natural for an expecting mom to feel afraid. But following a few simple steps right from the start can help you deliver your baby naturally with no complications. Here is a complete guide to normal delivery, trimester by trimester.
Begin before Pregnancy
If you are not yet pregnant, you have a wonderful opportunity to prepare for it. Once the baby is in, that little one is going to rule you – so now is the perfect opportunity to set your bases right.
We sometimes falsely believe that we have a ‘taste’ for junk food or it is our ‘nature’ to worry and stress about everything. But it is not. They are our ‘habits,’ not ‘nature.’ Breaking habits take time and effort. Before you get ready to welcome another little being, you have to love yourself, nurture yourself and revise your eating, sleeping and exercising habits. Stick with regular bedtimes, change your work schedules and eat a well-balanced diet. Sign up for at least 10 minutes of cardio every day to build stamina.
In the first trimester!
The first trimester has a notorious reputation for being so troubling. You feel nauseous all the time, voraciously hungry, have weird cravings and feel so exhausted. There’s a tiny little one growing inside you, and your hormones are zapping crazily to welcome it and to make it comfortable, resulting in all these surprises and swirls of emotions.
It is important for you to take care of yourself even if you feel sick. Starving will only make you weak and the hunger will tire you. Sip juices throughout the day and pamper yourself with a healthy snack of your choice every now and then. The blueprints for the tiny little organs are laid out in this period, so keep yourself amply nourished.
Stay away from saunas, very hot water baths, heavy exercises and climbing stairs too often. It’s also time to review any OTC or prescription medications you might be taking. Be liberal in resting and eating during this phase.
The second trimester is where most women find themselves a little stable. We begin to notice physical changes, get a little belly, and feel the first kicks and trade off old problems for fresh ones!
Doctors usually perform a mandatory ultrasound during 4 months to asses organ functioning in your little one. This scan also reveals any congenital birth defects, so don’t miss it!
Pregnancy is different for each lady. Some shed all morning sickness at this stage, but it may continue for others. The ‘heartburn’ sensation is a famous trouble maker of this stage. It might help to keep the spices low and break down meals into smaller portions.
The second trimester is also the right time to start a few light exercises that can greatly help you guide to normal delivery. Consult your doctor and continue being active to keep your muscles fit. Here’s a list of the best and safe exercises for pregnancy.
Your baby would have a well-developed hearing sense now, so you can talk to them! You can play them your favourite musicals and introduce their daddy! What’s even more astonishing is that the flavours of what you eat can be tasted by your baby too! At 21 weeks, the amniotic fluid surrounding your little one changes in taste every minute according to what you eat, the same for breast milk too. What you eat now can influence your baby’s food preferences. So, relish different cuisines and give your baby the joy of tasting delicious and healthy food right from the start!
While you are at it there is also another important duty you have to fulfil at this stage. You need to know about pregnancy, the stages, the do’s and don’ts and the stages of labour. Between all the exhaustion and mood swings, it might be nearly impossible for you to pick up a book, so resort to CD’s or audiobooks. Having the right knowledge is vital for a stress-free pregnancy.
The Third Trimester!
The third trimester is where you officially get a baby bump, have your baby punch your bladder and a host of other bittersweet issues!
The third trimester is an extensive preparation to labour. Your baby will go from looking like a miniature to a full-sized grown baby. They gain weight during this stage, so it is important for you to eat well.
The growing belly will bring upon new challenges. You’ll find your bladder signalling ‘urgent bathroom’ very often and might have severe leg cramps (ow!). We can do nothing about the bladder part (sob!), but the cramps can be somewhat prevented! Avoid lying flat or laying in the same position for a long time. To compensate for the disturbed sleep, you can liberally take cosy naps all through the day.
It is very important to strictly watch your posture during these days. Sit straight always – slouching will strain your spine. The third trimester usually brings about swelling of the legs and it can be aggravated by sitting for long times with your legs hanging. Use a good supportive chair; sitting without a back rest can increase your back pains. Also, too much bending forward puts lots of pressure on the baby. Sometimes, your lower ribs can even leave marks on the baby.
When you have to lift something, don’t bend over. Stand with your feet apart, stand upright and squat at the knees to pick the object. And since your ligaments are loosening up, if you walk for long amounts of time, your feet may stretch a bit and go up a shoe size. If you have been using any supportive belts for your tummy to ease pain, it is a good idea to stop them now. These belts have known to be quite restrictive in letting the baby’s head move down into your pelvis to get ready for delivery. You may also experience some cramps in your lower abdomen. These are just trial cramps in preparation for the real labour.
Your doctor may also advise you to keep count of the baby’s movements. If you have not noticed any movement in a while, have a glass of sweet and cold juice and lay down for 10 minutes without moving. You should sense your little one swishing around.
It is not advisable to change your doctor during the third trimester. Pick a doc that is a trusted guide to normal delivery and stick with them; if you have intentions to have your baby in a different place, start your appointments with them at the beginning of this trimester. Pack your hospital bag ready during the 8th month.
When your labour begins, keep walking continuously until you are well dilated. Stay relaxed and trust your body to do the work. Panicking and being stressed can greatly affect the progression of labour.
20 Tips to Achieve a Normal Delivery
Most pregnant women wish for a natural normal birth with minimal possible interventions. If having an easy normal delivery is high on your priority list, read our 20 tips to achieve a normal delivery to make it happen!
Pregnancy is a package of different aches and sickness, so you’ll probably wish just to lay down and cuddle forever. But to help your body build the strength and stamina for a healthy pregnancy, you need to get active! Check out our comprehensive list of exercises to achieve a normal delivery.
2. Say no to stress!
If you are an anxious worrier who often takes things to heart, stop the habit now! Stress and tension trigger a series of adverse reactions inside our body that will result in everything ranging from urine infections to hair fall. Moreover, researchers think that your moods might affect the character of your baby, so take double care.
Find comfort in meditation or talk to your loved ones if something is making you anxious.
3. Breathing Exercises
How many times do we actually stop and care about our breath? It is something we involuntarily do every minute, but what if we are doing it wrong? Shallow breaths indicate to our system that we are in distress and need an escape. This makes our bodies worry unnecessarily in search of a solution all day long. Get in touch with a proper breath practitioner to help you relax. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be nourishing your baby every minute, without yourself knowing!
4. Eat Healthy
Our eating habits are largely responsible for our well-being. Taking care of your diet is even more vital to achieve a normal delivery. If you have low blood haemoglobin or diabetes, take care to adjust your diet accordingly. Even if you don’t feel like eating a lot due to heartburn and morning sickness, sip fruit juices and snack on filling nuts through the day.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind in your diet when trying for a normal delivery:
- Formulate a wholesome diet of grains, fibres, fruits, greens, vegetables and lean meat and stick to it.
- Get your proteins and carbs right.
- Your body needs extra calcium and iron during pregnancy, so have a tab on your iron and calcium intake.
- Consume seafood moderately.
- Excessive use of sugar salt and fats should also be checked.
- Avoid eating out and from roadside stalls – prepare your food at home, as unclean food can bring about severe food poisoning.
5. Keep a Check on your Weight
Overweight women can have extra problems achieving a normal delivery. Of course, you have to gain a lot of weight during pregnancy, but check if it is on par with the charts. If you suddenly seem to be gaining too much weight during pregnancy, consult with your doctor to take remedial measures.
6. Avoid Negative Birth Stories
Among the women around you, some might have easy births and some might have had very difficult ones. Hearing stories about horror births is in no way going to help you. In fact, it will just make you anxious, nervous and panicky. We are trying to stay stress-free and positive here, so say no to labour gossips gone wrong.
- If you come across persistent mothers who want to share their sorrows with you, excuse with a sign of vomiting or plug in your earphones.
- Unnecessary panic can cause you to not sleep properly, showing adverse effects on your own pregnancy.
- Everyone is different, just because your sister nearly died does not mean that everyone will feel that way. Be happy, healthy and consult only a trusted doctor for your problems and you’ll achieve a normal delivery!
7. Knowledge is Power
Educating yourself about what labour is, how it commences, and how the baby comes out can be your biggest power. You will be armed with information and if something seems off, you’ll be able to make informed decisions that you won’t regret later.
Some ways you can get knowledge are:
- Get a good book about pregnancy and childbirth. Go for ones with detailed pictures and good explanations. If you are doing terrible and don’t want to even read a word, then there are loads of audio books for you to listen to as you lay in bed all day. Check out this list of the best pregnancy books for you!
- You could follow childbirth community websites for some excellent advice from real moms. You’ll know what worked for them and what didn’t – but make sure that you are on a quality site (like this!) and not some unreliable sites trying to sell you stuff.
- Keep an elder woman of your family close by so you can talk to them and get their love, support, care, affection and wisdom. There’s nothing like family to make us feel at home, right?
8. Have Good Support
Pregnancy is a phase with raging hormones. You’ll feel awfully crazy going through it alone. If there is someone with you who has gone through it all before, it will be the greatest gift for you. If you are close to your mom or mother-in-law, request them to move in with you.
Discuss your birth plan before hand with your partner and the doctor so that you have people around you who understand that type of birth you are wishing for.
9. Choose a Good Doctor
With a very heavy heart, we all have to admit that, in some places, births are becoming more about money than about the well-being of the mother and baby. So, the key to a happy and successful delivery lies in choosing your doctor wisely.
Look for these signs in your gynec:
- Make sure that your doctor respects your wishes about having a vaginal birth.
- Check if the rates of caesarean births are high in the hospital you are about to deliver.
- Trust your instincts about the environment of the hospital and staff.
Pregnancy massages are said to help you get your body relaxed and well in line for a normal delivery. They help you stretch in the right places and help the baby get lodged correctly into your pelvis. Acupuncture/acupressure believes that certain points near the ankle might trigger labour, so avoid strong foot massages.
- If you’ve reached the seventh month of your pregnancy, you can try perineal massages.
- Massages can help relieve pain, stress and induce good sleep.
11. Stay Well Hydrated
Water is a vital element of the human body, even more important when you are pregnant. Take time to sort out your water intake – staying hydrated is essential for you to pull off a successful delivery. If you are not a big fan of drinking plain water, spice it up with fresh juices or recommended healthy organic sports energy drinks!
12. Find a Mid Wife!
An experienced Doula is an invaluable asset for you. Their wisdom and experience can help you very much to achieve a normal delivery. A doula can also be your strong and stable support while writhing in the pain of labour – she’ll be your partner in the whole affair, taking care of your birth plan for you.
- The correct lifestyle advice from a Doula is the best thing ever that can happen to you in pregnancy.
- She can help mediate with the doctors to facilitate the birth going as you wish.
- Her experience and advice can help you recover quickly from the labour and regain your strength.
- You will have a stable partner for you to take care of things, which will reduce the burden on you, so you can enjoy the process of popping out and bonding with your little one.
13. Soak all you want!
Water can be a soothing relief to you in the process of birthing. Aside from downing hundreds of litres of it during pregnancy, you can also use it to make your pregnancy luxurious.
- Hydrotherapy is said to be immensely beneficial in the management of discomfit during labour.
- You could always fill a tub with warm water and soak it in for relief. Add a few exciting bath salts and you’ll be instantly in heaven. Just don’t make it too hot – steaming hot water can harm the development of your baby.
- Tub baths can also help you relax and sleep well.
- If your water has broken, don’t use bath tubs. Shower when you need to!
Squatting is a great exercise to prepare your tummy and hips for delivery. With the recommendation of your doctor, you can include squats as part of your exercise routine.
- Squatting opens up your pelvis and helps your baby’s head get lodged in there.
- If you find squatting a bit hard-core, you can try exercise balls – they are good too.
Yoga has been termed as an excellent way to a healthy life and it can also be a great tool for a normal delivery. Yoga focuses on tuning your breath, so you are automatically showered with the goodness of breathing exercises. Also, you’ll get a lot more flexible with all the different poses and release your back tensions for a happy pregnancy. It can also make you feel poised and calm, ready for the big day!
16. Watch your Postures
Keeping your body aligned in harmony is the key to let your child glide smoothly in for a normal delivery. Standing or sitting for too long, rolling over in awkward poses, donning tight belts and high heels can all disrupt the harmonious alignment of your body.
- Always sit with proper support for your back. Pregnancy already puts a lot of stress on your spine and abusing it will only drive up the pains.
- Leaving your legs hanging for too long will cause it to swell, so sit with your legs folded or stretched out straight.
- Take care not to slouch while sitting, don’t rush up the stairs or bend down to lift objects – keep an eye on your posture at all times
Some women swear by this trick and some are not convinced – so it’s up to you to decide. Many chiropractors claim that they can even turn breech babies into head down positions – so it might be worth a try. These massages can help the hips to loosen up and might encourage the baby to slip out easily without much trouble.
Rest after play is everything. With the little one boxing in your belly, with weird cravings popping up so awkwardly and the stress of the impending labour, it might seem impossible to make your mind think about anything else – but a girl’s gotta try! Let your hair down every step of the way and enjoy a good reunion, a mystery novel or a new companion for your walk. Lighten up the mood and rest adequately to rock your labour like a diva!
19. Stay at home during early labour
Panic rushing to the hospital in early labour is a big no-no! Nobody knows for how long the labour will last – the earlier you are there, the more you increase chances for intervention.
- The unfamiliar hospital environment can cause panic and stress to set in, leaving you exhausted and tired for labour.
- Staying active and upright as much as you can during early labour is the best way to progress labour quickly – you might not have the space to walk around in a hospital.
20. Trust yourself and work with your body
The main hormone responsible for labour is oxytocin. Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, wont kick in if you are afraid, panicked or stressed. So, trust your body and go with the flow by being relaxed.
The tips for achieving a normal delivery won’t be complete without the mention of c – section. Though it may be fearsome, caesarean is just the only reason some of us get to be mothers. Isn’t that something wonderful? In a moment of crisis, the way you give birth doesn’t really matter – it’s not going to take away your awesome love for your baby or affect your great mothering skills. Don’t feel so worked up when thinking of a caesarean, just try to keep away from it until the dire necessity arises.
Following this simple guide to normal delivery can help most women give birth naturally if they don’t have any complications. Check out our other articles to learn more about a healthy pregnancy!