Preparing for a baby is probably one of the most important things you can do, especially when it is your first child. This was one thing that weighed heavy on my mind when I was pregnant. The unknowns of labor and delivery can be daunting!
I just wanted to be prepared. But, for me, there is such a thing as being “too prepared”. I didn’t want to know everything that could possibly go wrong. The solution to this was to know the basics; know what to expect, possible things that could happen, my options, etc. I wanted to pick what to prepare for. I looked into all of the birthing classes that were out there, and there are SO many. Online, at the hospital, at birthing centers, reading books, the list could go on and on. Birthing classes are great, but they weren’t for me. First, I didn’t want to pay that much for them. Some of them are a could hundred dollars! Second, there were so many classes that I would have to miss due to my schedule, so I really didn’t want to pay for the classes and then end up missing half of them. My solution, podcasts! With these, I could listen to them while I worked (or was driving) and there are so many available!
How to Prepare for Labor & Delivery – Your Options
Whatever way you learn/prepare best, chances are there is a birthing class for that. Picking the “right one” will vary from person to person. Totally depends on what you are looking to get out of the course. You can look into taking birthing classes at hospitals, birthing centers, online or there are books, movies or podcasts you can listen to as well. All of these options range from free to very expensive. Again, you pay for what you are looking to get out of the course/experience. For me, I didn’t want to be overwhelmed with information.
Hospitals & Birth Centers
Usually if you take a birthing class at a hospital, you will just take it wherever you plan on delivering. Hospitals & birthing centers offer so many different classes to help you prepare. Not just for the labor and delivery but also for postpartum and caring for your newborn.
Some of the classes you can expect to find at your hospitals are:
- Prenatal classes
- Parenting Classes
- New Father
- New Brother/Sister
- Car Seat Safety
- Child Preparation
- Birth Center Tours
- Natural Childbirth
- Infant & Child CPR
- Breastfeeding & Lactation
Books can also be an awesome resource when preparing for a child. This is another option if you don’t want to spend money on classes. I personally didn’t read any books during my pregnancy but have heard from other moms that the following have been good to read:
- What to Expect when Your Expecting
- Guide to Child Birth
- Mindful Mom to Be
- Your Pregnancy Your Way
- The Birth Partner
- Birthing From Within
Podcasts are the main source of prep that I did. As with the other options, there are so many out there to pick from! These were most helpful, for me, because I was listening to actual birth stories. So, I was able to hear how these moms’s got through labor, what they experienced and how recovery was. That way, I was exposed to things that worked for these moms, things that didn’t, the options they chose in their labor/delivery, what was hard for them, what surprised them, etc. I also listened to one on c-sections, just the basics so that IF my experience were to come to that, I would at least know what to expect. The main podcast that I listened to was “Informed Pregnancy”. This podcast is led by a prenatal chiropractor who interviews moms (sometimes celebrities) who are either pregnant or just had their little one.
If they are pregnant, they talk about how their pregnancy is going & what they have in terms of a birth plan. For those moms who have already had their baby, they discuss their pregnancy, the birth (very helpful stories with this part) and then postpartum. There are also some podcasts that discuss the different types of birth (home birth, hospital birth, birthing center, natural birth, medicated birth, etc.) and the benefits and drawbacks to each of them. Overall, listening to the podcasts helped me prepare more than going to classes would have, in my opinion.
To put it simply, here are the two podcasts that I listened to:
Between listening to those podcasts & exploring what they had available on their websites, you get really good exposure to what to expect and the options that you have.
Every woman learns & prepares differently. Some moms might be more comfortable going to classes, other more comfortable going at their own pace online. That’s why we have so many different sources out there! In my experience, I would say there are a handful of things you should be looking to get out of whatever class you decided to take (whether an actual class, online, reading books, listening to podcasts, etc.):
- know your pain medication options
- also know the side effects of them
- know the different labor & delivery positions
- know the different stages of labor
- know your different options for giving birth
- natural birth
- hospital birth/birthing center
- home birth
- water birth
- medicated birth
- know your contractions (which stage of labor you are in, when to go in to the hospital, etc.)
- have a “birth plan” in place
- Breastfeeding/Lactation Basics
- know what to expect after delivery
- in terms of recovery for you (mom) and what they will be doing to your newborn
Whatever you plan on doing to prepare, there is one thing I absolutely recommend doing – take a tour of wherever you are giving birth. Most places will offer a tour of the birth center (which will include the labor & delivery room, recovery rooms and nursery). It may seem pointless, but it is very comforting knowing the layout of the land the day you come in to deliver. There are so many unknowns about that day, that knowing where everything is and what options you have available is one less thing to worry about on that day.
Leave a comment below with what you did to prepare for birth! And if you would do anything differently!
As always, ask any questions!
All the best,