Preparing for Motherhood: Anticipating Labor

 

While preparing for motherhood, there is the labor and delivery process to anticipate before you can finally meet your little one. Now, there is no way of planning your labor because no two labors are the same. However, anticipating labor by educating yourself can help relieve some of the fear and anxiety.

I have been looking forward to the actual delivery because I will be so close to meeting my son but labor was a source of uncertainty. Being educated about the labor process has really helped me calm my anxiety. My husband and I took a Labor Class at our hospital and we both left feeling much more confident about the big day!

One of the most educational things we learned about was the different stages of labor.

  • Early Labor is from the onset of true labor to dilation of 3 centimeters, lasting 7 to 8 hours.
  • Active Labor is from dilation of 4 centimeters to 7 centimeters, lasting 1 to 4 hours.
  • Transition is from 8 centimeters dilated to 10 centimeters, lasting 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Learning more about these different stages helped to put both of our minds at ease. More than likely I will not go into labor and need to be rushed to the hospital at that very moment! Realizing this makes both John David and me feel more at ease about when true labor sets in!

We also discussed the importance of laboring at home as long as possible in our class. It does seem much more appealing to spend a good deal of my early labor in the comforts of my own home instead of in a hospital!

I have not made up my mind yet as to whether I am going to have an epidural or not. My doctor has recommended one; however, he has told me that I should labor naturally and make the decision at the hospital regarding the epidural. After taking the labor class, I’m feeling much more confident about laboring naturally and potentially giving birth without an epidural although I am not opposed to an epidural, especially if we decide that is the best decision for me.

One of the things that was very insightful was discussing the fear, tension, pain cycle. Our natural response to fear is to tense our muscles. That muscle tension then creates more pain and the more pain we feel the more tense we become. Being able to relax and avoid this cycle helps many women deal with labor pains. I’m already preparing myself mentally to remain calm during the process.

One of the ways I plan to remain calm is to turn to scripture. I am positive two of my favorite verses will give me strength and help me remain calm:

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:17

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phillipians 4:13

Another way I plan on keeping myself calm is by bringing some of the comforts of home with me. I have already packed comfy socks and chap stick in my labor bag and plan to bring a good book and probably even my computer! Who knows, I may even be blogging through some of my labor!

The book we received in our labor class, The Gift of Motherhood, has a passage about labor that I’m keeping in mind as I approach labor.

“The pain of labor is definable. It comes with the contraction and then goes away. You can control this physical pain with the tools learned in prepared childbirth or with medication. Your choice of how to manage the pain of labor is best made when you are in labor. It is very important that you understand your options and remain flexible on your choices for managing your pain during labor. Developing a plan or set of expectations for your labor will help you to be  prepared and feel in control. However, no one can tell you how your labor is going to progress. By expecting the unexpected, you can be more flexible about the options that you choose to use during your labor.”

Be sure to read Lily’s Birth Story from Kelly at Joyful Adorations. Her story gives me confidence as I approach my labor and she shares what she did in preparation for her natural labor.

What were some things about labor that you wish you would have known before  hand? (I want to be as prepared as I can be!) Do you have any tips for managing the labor pains?

 

*I understand we all have completely different approaches to labor and childbirth. These are things I’ve learned that were insightful to me. I do realize that there is no way to really plan for labor because unexpected things do arise. I think every woman should make her own personal decision along with her husband whether to have a hospital birth or home birth and whether to give birth naturally or with pain relief.

7 Replies to “Preparing for Motherhood: Anticipating Labor”

  1. I am a mom of 4 and I stopped by your Tasty Tuesday post. I have to say that the one thing that I would recommend is to read up on c-sections even if you don’t plan to have one. My 1st, 3rd, and 4th children were born vaginally but my 2nd child came after an emergency c-section at 5 weeks early. I was not prepared. I never even considered the details of a c-section because I was not going to have one. That is the one thing I wish I had done before hand.
    Besides that, my other recommendation would be to wait as long as you can to ‘labor down’. Letting the baby ‘labor down’ in the birth canal as much as possible means having to push less.

    So you know, this was a long comment for me. I’m happy to “meet” you in blogland.

  2. I had to giggle when I read about you blogging during labour, I can just imagine … heheheh. Maybe for the early stages of labour. I know my suggestion is long overdue, but I sure hope you have been doing lots of walking since you found out about paxton (btw, love that name). It sure helps make the delivery easier. I wish I had known about that tip when I had my firstborn. my babies are 11 and 9 now, not so much babies anymore. Congratulations to the two of you!

  3. I think you have a good outlook on your delivery. I had the same outlook – I wasn’t going to adamantly be against anything but I wanted my labor to be as natural as possible. I didn’t go to the hospital until about 6 hours after my water broke (and my contractions were 5 minutes apart for about 30 minutes). I spent my time tidying the house and I ate a light lunch because I didn’t know how long it would be before I ate again! I walked TONS at the hospital and took one dose of Nubain which did the trick. My labor was about 5 hours and had about 20 minutes of pushing. It was the best I could hope for and I think praying and just being relaxed helped so much. And P.S. – I was on the phone with friends the whole time and texting and I blogged and got on Facebook immediately after I had a big juicy hamburger for dinner that night! Relaxation is KEY! Sorry for the long post. Plus, I am a lurker, so it’s nice to come out from the shadows finally. 🙂

  4. I agree with staying home as long as you’re comfortable. As soon as I got to the hospital it was all about nurse stuff, needles, questions, etc. If you can hold out on the epidural, I would. I was able to tolerate my back labor because I knew it would not last forever. You have more strength than you think! I cannot wait to hear that baby Paxton has arrived. Good luck, it’s getting so close!!

  5. What Amy Lynne said. I found it was easier to deal with the contractions at home as when I got to the hospital I just wanted to ‘get down to business’, so I agree with staying home as long as possible. And the whole epidural thing freaked me out so I’m glad I was able to get through both of my labors without one. Every labor is different, so good luck!!

  6. I agree to stay at home as long as possible. Also, if you have not done this already, you may check and see if the hospital will let you pre-register before you go into labor. Let me tell you it is not easy to fill out tonns of paperwork in pain! I did not have a natural labor, I had an epidural with both of my babies and loved it! I don’t really have any good advice about managing the pain, mine got so bad I just wanted something quick!! I would just recommend walking a lot and doing any of the exercises they recommend, it will help you tremendously. Good luck, I will be praying for you and your baby!

  7. This is a great post! One of my friends told me before I went into labor to make sure I kept my mouth/tongue/jaw loose and not tensed up because if it’s relaxed then your cervix is relaxed. I found that that was so true. While working through contractions I would consciously remember to relax my mouth (and everything else)…definitely helped me.

    I’m praying for you! Oh, and yes, it’s so funny that we wore the same color shirts and black necklaces on Monday! 🙂

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