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Preparing For Labor - The Most Important Aspect Of Pregnancy

The day you give birth will likely be one of the most physically, mentally and emotionally challenging days you’ll ever experience.  The good news is that labor doesn't just sneak up on you – you have nine months of time to prepare.  Preparing for labor and delivery is one of – if not the – most important aspects of your pregnancy.

One important part of preparing for labor is choosing where and how you want to deliver.  That, in turn, will make a big difference in the type of care provider you’ll choose.  Obviously, the most common delivery location is the hospital your primary care physician is affiliated.  If you deliver in a hospital, you’ll have access to more advanced equipment and you’ll be nearby if something goes wrong and you need an emergency Caesarean section.  However, hospital births are often described as impersonal and tend to have higher rates of infection, leading many women to consider other options.

If you want a home birth, for example, you’ll probably choose a midwife, as few doctors will attend home births.  A few mothers choose unassisted birth at home with no care provider present, although it’s much safer to have a third party with medical training on site.  Midwives also attend births at birthing centers – either free standing or hospital associated – as do some physicians.  Most physicians deliver babies in hospital settings and some hospitals give privileges to midwives.

Or, if you want a water birth, you should be aware that not all hospitals permit them – you may need to choose a birthing center or home birth instead.  If you’re choosing an un-medicated childbirth, this can generally be accomplished in any setting.  If you want anesthesia – which usually takes the form of an epidural – then you’ll probably have to deliver in a hospital.  All of these considerations should be made early in pregnancy so that you have plenty of time to explore your options, research birth locations and care providers, and make a decision.

You also need to prepare for labor physically. Youíll need regular, moderate exercise to help build up your stamina and strengthening exercises that target the muscles used in giving birth. Most women learn about giving birth through a childbirth preparation class. There are a variety of different methods of childbirth preparation, including Bradley, Lamaze, Birthing from Within, and hospital based preparation classes. Again, you should research each of the various methods and determine which you think will work best for you. However, you do need time to do this, so begin early in your pregnancy. Many childbirth classes are limited in size and, ideally, you want a class that ends just a few weeks before you deliver. For the best scheduling options, make your decision and reservation early.

The task of giving birth is both challenging and incredibly rewarding Ė but itís nothing if not a natural process that many women go through. Take the time you need during your pregnancy to prepare for this task and youíll increase your chances that welcoming your child into the world will be exactly the experience you hoped for.

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