The life-changing news of your pregnancy may have you bouncing off the walls with excitement. And why not? A little child will be entering your life very soon—there's no better reason to celebrate! But no matter how happy you are, the thought of labor can be enough to bring on anxiety and a case of nerves. And rightfully so: labor, so aptly named, is hard work—yet that doesn't mean it has to be unbearable. With a little experimentation, trial and error, and personal touches, labor can be more tolerable than expected.
Prepare Your Body
Long before you're in the delivery room, you need to prepare your body for labor, says Joel M. Evans, MD, author of The Whole Pregnancy Handbook. This means, "eating well, staying well hydrated, and sleeping and napping as much as possible close to your due date," Evans says.
Besides being physically ready, addressing your fears and anxieties before birth can keep you at ease. Discuss your concerns with your doctor or midwife so you'll know what to expect.
Pack Your Bags
Before you leave a packed suitcase by the door, sit down and really think about the things that make you calm and at ease. These are the kinds of things you'll want to bring to the hospital with you once the time comes. Here are some items that often bring laboring women comfort.