By Sabah Chaudhry
Many couples begin their journey to parenthood having expectations, fears, hopes, and dreams for the new bundle of joy that is about to join them. Both mom and dad need to be prepared and know how to react when that long awaited moment arrives, the moment the mother’s water breaks or her contractions onset and labor begins. Both mom and dad will be excited yet nervous as they are about to meet this newest member of the family, the newest blessing in their lives.
Alhamdulillah being seven months pregnant and awaiting the arrival of our little one, I pray I can shed light and share my thoughts, fears, and hopes as I also plan to face labor and delivery in the next few months. I pray my words inshaAllah can benefit our sisters who are expecting and allow them to tread this journey to motherhood feeling a little less stressed and a little more prepared and excited about bringing in a beautiful new life into this world. A lot of the tips I will mention are advice given to me by mothers, midwives, doctors, and healthcare professionals. It may seem difficult to remain calm and patient when entering the final and possibly most painful stage of pregnancy, but with dua, trust in Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), and being ready and prepared, that fear and anxiety can be extinguished.
As you venture through pregnancy and before you enter the delivery room, it is important to go through this checklist and be prepared for what to expect:
- When visiting your doctor or midwife, be sure to ask lots of questions. It never hurts to ask and you have every right to receive answers about your health and the health of your baby.
- Read books and articles about pregnancy, labor, and delivery. You will not have much time afterwards. I have found Babycenter.com to be an excellent resource for expectant moms. You can track your pregnancy, see what your baby looks like, and know what to expect at each stage. Even for postpartum, new moms can find information on how to care for their newborns and growing babies, and they can track their development.
- Attend a childbirth class. It will help you, as an expectant mother, to understand the stages of labor and what your body will go through during labor. It will also teach you breathing techniques for relaxation, the positions to be in to ease the labor and delivery process, and the ways your spouse can help you.
- Make a birth plan. You can use a birth plan worksheet to share with your provider. Babycenter.com has a worksheet you can use: http://assets.babycenter.com/ims/Content/birthplan_pdf.pdf
- Ask experienced and trustworthy moms for advice and what to expect.
- Know the protocols to follow once you go into labor. Your doctor or midwife should give you clear guidelines on what to do, such as when to call and when to go to the hospital or birthing center and where to arrive from. Of these protocols is making sure you have emergency care arranged for your other children (if any).
- Have a bag packed and ready to go for the hospital; prepare weeks before your due date because you never know if you will deliver early. Make sure you have things packed for yourself, the new baby, and your husband. You can refer to this article for tips on what to pack: “Mom says: Top 12 things to pack for the hospital” at http://www.babycenter.com/0_moms-say-top-12-things-to-pack-for-the-hospital_10339938.bc
I hope you liked reading my article. Part 2 will contain more insight on how to prepare for a smooth delivery.