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    What did you do to prepare for labour?

    The birth of a baby is a profound and life-changing event. It marks the start of a brand new relationship founded in love. How this baby arrives in the world matters. Indeed, birth matters to women and it is matters to fathers. A positive birth experience increases the likelihood of a positive and long breastfeeding relationship. It also reduces the chance of the woman experiencing post traumatic stress (although, sadly, this can still happen even with a very positive birth experience).

    How can women best prepare for labour? What can we do to give ourselves the best possible chance of a positive birth? This need not necessarily be a natural birth or a birth free of painkillers; but it should be a positive, informed and empowering birth.

    What did you do to prepare for the birth of your baby? How did this help you on the day?

    Here are some ways to prepare for labour which our forum members have previously shared:

    - Information is key. Arm yourself with reliable information. Read respected birth preparation books such as Pregnancy for Dummies written by Jane Palmer our resident midwife. Talk to informed, positive people about birth. Interact on our Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond forum. Read the latest studies on topics such as: active labour, the possible risks of induction and the benefits of midwife-led care etc.

    - Consider hiring a doula. A Doula is specially trained woman who supports a woman (and her partner) in pregnancy, labour and after the birth in order to help her have the experience that she hopes for. Studies have shown that having a doula reduces the likelihood of medical interventions in labour and even increases the chance of having a quicker labour.

    - Consider having midwife-led care. Women who have midwife-led care have a greater likelihood of having a vaginal birth and a reduced likelihood of having medical interventions as well as a higher likelihood of achieving a successful start to breastfeeding.

    - Find other women who have had positive birth experiences and ask them to share their birth stories with you as well as explaining what 'tips' helped them in labour. Women-to-women knowledge such as the comfort of a cool flannel (women can feel quite hot in labour) or the benefits of a scarf to shield your eyes under and create a personal space can make every difference.

    - Take an antenatal preparation class. Consider carefully what type of class would be best for you and your partner. For example, do you want to have a Hypnobirth and would you like your antenatal class to also cover breastfeeding knowledge?

    Please share your experiences here so that we can encourage each other to have the birth we hope for.

    'The birth of a child is the ultimate perfection of human love.' (Dr. Grantly Dick-Read)
    Last edited by ljmarsden; 27th January 2014 at 07:23 AM.

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