- by Dr Gowher Yusuf
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- Feb 09 2017
Tips for new moms to be
When it comes to preparing for the birth of a new child, we are keen to organise the nursery and prepare meals to freeze before the big day. Yet it seems strange that preparation for the actual event, which is more monumental than any other in the life of a woman, is often forgotten.
Let’s face it, when the word childbirth is mentioned, most expectant mothers are filled with fear. As she draws closer to her due date, her anxiety starts mounting when she considers the “ordeal” she is about to face. Instead of trying to both mentally and physically prepare herself for labour, she attempts to place it in the back of her mind. Comments such as “don’t worry, there are many methods of pain relief” or “it’s something we all have to go through” only accentuate this deep-rooted fear.
No doubt, labour is a marathon; it wasn’t given its name for no reason. Yet with sufficient preparation, it does not have to leave negative imprints on the mind of a mother for years to come. So how exactly can an expectant mother prepare?
It is vital that firstly, mental preparation is done for birth. The mind is a very powerful tool. If a woman’s mind is not prepared, she is not ready for labour, no matter how many physical exercises she has been doing. It is of prime importance that an expectant mother first understands the physical mechanism of labour. If she doesn’t, she will be unable to explain the sensations that she is feeling, which makes them much harder to cope with.
If a woman educates herself in not only the physical mechanism of birth but also in other aspects of birth, such as the risks and benefits of pain medication and the common interventions used in hospitals, she will gain confidence and strength. As a result, she will also be in a much better position to have the birth that she desires. Furthermore, if there are unforeseen complications, she and her husband will be able to make appropriate decisions based upon knowledge, not upon emotions, hospital policy or any other factors.
When to go to hospital?
By learning about the stages of labour and their signs, such as the changing emotional state a woman is likely to go through, she will be in a much better position to know when to go to the hospital.
Prepare your husband!
Throughout this mental preparation, it goes without saying that the support of the husband is of paramount importance. If possible (and without too much nagging!), a woman can educate her husband on what she herself has learnt, asking him to aid her in her preparation.
Shaping up for labour
It is quite possible that if an expectant mother prepares well mentally, she will be able to give birth without medication, assuming that there are no major complications. Yet in order to have a successful natural birth, physical preparation is also vital. It goes without saying that eating healthily strengthens the body in preparation for labour. In terms of physical exercises, these should ideally be started as early on in the pregnancy as possible, in order to increase the stamina and suppleness of the woman in time for labour. There are a variety of specific exercises known to prepare the body for labour, such as kegel exercises and pelvic tilts.
This preparation undoubtedly will help, of course, each labour is different and unexpected complications do occur. Yet with effective preparation, regardless of what happens, birth can be an empowering event that truly exemplifies the magnificence of Almighty’s creation
Excerpt from article written by: Ummu ‘Abdir-Rahmaan
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