During pregnancy a woman must not only adjust to the differences in her changing body but she must also prepare herself for the upcoming labour and birth of the new baby. A pregnant woman may feel a whole range of emotions, about the pregnancy itself; the labour; and also about life after the birth. It is important to make a woman feel confident in her ability to labour effectively, birth the baby and become a great mother after it is all over. Many people forget that life for the pregnant woman (and her family) continues for many days, weeks and months after the birth of her baby.
Confidence comes from knowledge and knowledge can come from many sources – family, friends, the medical profession (doctors, consultants, midwives), doulas and from the woman’s own desire to learn. There are many resources available, including books, journals, support groups and local networks, and the amount these are used varies a great deal from person to person.
As well as prepare for the birth, a woman must cherish the time when the baby is growing inside and find ways to relax, meditate, exercise and communicate with the baby. Different women enjoy different activities including walking, swimming, reflexology and prenatal massage. Swimming and yoga are especially popular – swimming can release a lot of the tension and tiredness which comes from carrying the extra weight, especially in the third trimester. Yoga can help to stretch sore muscles and is used as a mechanism to learn breathing techniques which can help with the pain of labour
Most towns and cities will have numerous classes available for pregnant women. An extra bonus of these antenatal classes is the chance to meet other pregnant women who will be expecting their babies at around the same time. Women can start to create a new support network of ‘new mums’ before motherhood even arrives.