Preparation for childbirth

Preparation for childbirth. Prenatal course as psychophysical prenatal preparation

Childbirth is a powerful emotional experience, which means that it brings with it a substantial mental and physical burden. Although receiving various information about childbirth via the Internet or literary sources can be helpful during pregnancy, the best way to prepare for childbirth is to attend an antenatal course organized by maternity hospitals, maternity centers or private companies.

Published: 23.06.2023
Updated: 06.12.2023

You can read how psychophysical preparation for childbirth takes place, what this form of preparation consists of, but also at what stage of pregnancy you should start attending prenatal courses in the following paragraphs of our article.

What does prenatal preparation for childbirth consist of?

The basics of prenatal preparation consist in choosing a maternity hospital that meets your needs and then securing a place in the chosen institution. It is necessary to think about this aspect in advance. A very important part of prenatal preparation is packing a bag for the maternity ward. If you pack the necessary things well in advance, you will avoid unnecessary stress at the moment when your labor really starts.

In connection with the general preparation for childbirth, it is necessary to determine whether you will require epidural analgesia during childbirth is also one of the topics that must be discussed with your partner. This information can be offered not only by the websites of specific maternity hospitals, but also by courses dedicated to preparation for childbirth.

Prenatal courses are one of the possible ways to achieve a healthy and relaxed approach to childbirth. They are mostly organized by maternity centers, but also by maternity wards of clinics and hospitals or private companies with a focus on healthy pregnancy and preparation for motherhood. A very important factor working in favor of the exemplary handling of surges of emotions and pain, which are an integral part of the arrival of babies in the world, is psychological and physical preparation for childbirth.

Pregnant women are helped by the fact that they have the opportunity to meet other women who are going through what they are going through at such courses. However, the most important aspect of prenatal courses is their information content. Mothers-to-be and their partners learn a lot of important information during the prenatal preparation, which they can use when the time of birth comes.

In addition to the basic facts about childbirth, the course leader also outlines potential situations that may occur during childbirth, emphasizing the need to be aware of such possibilities. From this point of view, prenatal courses are especially important for first-time mothers.

What does prenatal preparation for childbirth consist of?

Physical preparation for childbirth

Physical preparation at prenatal courses covers all physical aspects that your body will definitely appreciate during pregnancy, but also during the individual stages of childbirth. In order to perfectly cope with labor pains, it is beneficial to take a lesson on breathing techniques. The correct way of breathing during contractions will guarantee a relative relief of pain, thereby creating a sufficient reserve of strength for the entire birth.

As part of the physical preparation for childbirth, lecturers are also dedicated to informing pregnant women about the positive and negative aspects of analgesics such as epidurals, highlighting potential situations and circumstances that can turn a natural birth into an acute caesarean section in an instant.

The physical part of prenatal courses also includes exercises that focus on important points in terms of the healthy course of pregnancy and the preparation of the woman's body for the birth process. The exercise takes place under the close supervision of a midwife. It mainly includes exercises that support blood circulation, proper posture, muscle flexibility, but also help in the fight against typical pregnancy pains in the lower back and leg cramps.

One of the most important factors during childbirth is a woman's pelvic floor, or the muscles in this area, which can weaken during pregnancy. It is therefore necessary to exercise this part of the body in order to properly prepare for childbirth. Massage and exercise of the perineum before childbirth is also an essential aspect from the point of view of simplifying the birthing process, but even such prevention cannot 100% guarantee that this area of the woman's body will not rupture during childbirth.

There are even cases where the dam has ruptured despite regular exercise and massages, and unprepared women have escaped unscathed. The resistance of the dam and the circumstances of childbirth that can cause it to rupture, or necessary cutting, are very individual, therefore you should not have high hopes in connection with this aspect of childbirth.

Physical preparation for childbirth

Psychological prenatal preparation

Although it is true that a woman's body goes through processes during childbirth that require many times superhuman physical resistance and strength, the psychological side is also very important. The fact is that the physical and mental aspects of human health are closely connected, which means that in the case of childbirth, it is necessary for a woman to be in the greatest possible mental and physical well-being.

In some aspects, mental preparation for childbirth is even more important than physical preparation. And this is mainly because the medical staff can help you with physiological problems during childbirth, but you have to deal with mental problems in the form of nervousness, fears, stress and feelings of insecurity yourself.

Mental health is often underestimated, but the truth is that mental block and exhaustion can significantly complicate the course of childbirth. Mental preparation for childbirth is mainly helped by sufficient information about the individual stages of childbirth, various situations that may arise during it and their solutions. If you have a comprehensive idea of what you are getting into and what can potentially happen, you will approach the entire process with inner peace and balance.

As far as mental preparation is concerned, the postpartum stage, i.e. the onset of various duties related to the care of the newborn, such as changing diapers, dressing or bathing, can also arouse inner insecurity in future parents. Practicing basic actions increases the self-confidence of both parents, but also facilitates gradual adaptation to a new life stage. Part of the preparation for childbirth are lectures on breast milk, its release, and the recovery period in which a woman finds herself immediately after childbirth.

Psychological prenatal preparation

When is the time for the antenatal course?

Signing up for a birth preparation course involves detailed time planning. Such courses and the individual lessons that make up the course are a matter of several months, and it is advisable if you complete it all before giving birth. It is therefore necessary to work with the version that childbirth can potentially occur at any time before the due date. From the point of view of the time horizon, it is advisable to start prenatal preparation around the 16th week of pregnancy. It is recommended to start early so that you have the opportunity to de-stress as much as possible.

Procedure of prenatal courses

In general, birth preparation courses include exercise, which is performed regularly once a week until the last stage of pregnancy. Limbs are exercised, but also important areas such as the spine and lower back, while regular physical exercise of the abdominal muscles and pelvic floor muscles is necessary in order to make the birth as easy as possible. These areas of a woman's body are the most stressed during childbirth.

Various breathing techniques are part of the exercises, which help the woman to reduce the impact of contractions in the individual stages of childbirth. In the interval between the 8th and 9th months of pregnancy, the so-called exercise is also included in the physical preparation. gynecological position, while during practice the lecturers focus on the actions necessary for the safe arrival of the child into the world. This includes not only pushing with all your might towards the anus, but also the required breathing technique to manage the combination of pain and pushing.

Procedure of prenatal courses

Nesting instinct as part of prenatal preparations

Apart from prenatal courses, prenatal preparation also takes place in the home environment. It manifests itself after approximately the 30th week of pregnancy, when a kind of maternal instinct called "nesting" begins. During this period, a woman feels responsible for the environment into which she will bring a baby from the maternity hospital, which leads to cleaning the house, painting rooms, but also buying and organizing children's clothes, diapers and other equipment for babies. A complete list of things that need to be in order before the arrival of the baby is also provided at the prenatal courses themselves.

Nesting is a completely normal and natural part of pregnancy and preparation for birth. In this way, parents try to provide the child with an environment in which he will feel comfortable and safe. The nesting syndrome and its results have a positive effect on the mental well-being of the mother, who, thanks to early preparation, has at her disposal a pleasant place created according to her own ideas, where she can breastfeed, sleep, bathe, change and dress the baby in peace.

Prenatal preparation - experience

Discussion forums offer an insight into experiences with prenatal preparation, while the most discussed "scarecrow" is definitely the rupture of the dam. While some practiced perineum massage for more than five weeks and used the so-called aniball, which is a balloon that reduces the risk of rupture of the diaphragm during childbirth, others drank various teas and ate flax seeds. All the women discussing agreed that regardless of this aspect of prenatal preparation, there is never a 100 percent certainty that a tear or eventual cut will not occur.

However, they clarified that this scary-sounding effect of childbirth and its subsequent stitching are not as terrible as they initially sound. Several also emphasized the importance of psychological well-being, for which the most important thing is the pre-natal attitude in the form of "I can handle it" and "everything will go as it should". As long as your mentality is not in top condition, your body may not cooperate according to your expectations during childbirth.

The most frequent questions - FAQ

Do you want to know more about prenatal preparation and psychophysical preparation courses for childbirth? You can ask us questions that interest you in the comments below the article. We will try to answer them as soon as possible.

Both maternity hospitals, private companies and regular maternity centers are adequate helpers in prenatal preparation. The most important thing is that you choose an institution that you can regularly commute to. An essential aspect is the expertise and certification of lecturers providing information and advice to future parents. Among the individual institutions, however, it is best to choose the clinic or hospital where you plan to give birth. While taking an antenatal course in a specific maternity hospital will help you psychologically in alleviating tension and fears thanks to gradual familiarization with the environment with the help of lecturer-led "excursions" around the premises of the maternity hospital, private centers offer a more individual approach due to the smaller number of course participants.

Assuming that a partner figures in the life of the future mother, it is appropriate if she participates in prenatal training in her own and her partner's interest. This way, your partner has the opportunity to understand what will happen in your life together after the arrival of the baby and what his role is at this stage of life. Prenatal courses should lead partners of pregnant women to help and support their partner during childbirth, but also from the point of view of further care for the child and its upbringing. Here, he can master individual actions, such as changing diapers and dressing, which can lead to a substantial facilitation of your life together.

Antenatal preparation classes at any institution should cover all the basic aspects of childbirth and postpartum adaptation listed in the article, but courses in maternity hospitals offer a wider focus on the possibilities of managing contractions, speeding up the birth process or positions in which the birth can potentially take place.

Since psychophysical preparation for childbirth includes both the physical and mental aspects of this powerful and exhausting experience, it is necessary that experts from both fields participate in your preparation. While expert lectures on childbirth, possible complications and their solutions are led by pediatricians or gynecologists with a focus on obstetrics, midwives and doulas are in charge of exercises and training in child care. All the mentioned experts can also contribute to the field of psychological preparation, but the most qualified persons to induce mental well-being and strength of the mother are primarily therapists and psychologists.

The bag, which you should theoretically pack already at 36 weeks, should contain your pregnancy book summarizing your complete medical history, basic documents, such as an ID card, insurance card, but also a marriage certificate, or proof of recognition of paternity (provided that you plan to name the child after your partner). In terms of mother's essentials, these are definitely basic toiletries, a nightgown, slippers to change into, regularly used medicines, nose drops and lip balm, while for the baby, small diapers for 3.5-kilogram babies, bottom cream, wet towels for babies, a blanket, a cap, or gloves. The newborn is building immunity to the "outside world" gradually, and therefore it is necessary to provide him with the most reliable protection against external factors, such as the cold.

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